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Help Wanted — T4K Jan Update

I hope that you all managed to have a peaceful and enjoyable time over Christmas and the New Year, so that you are able to face 2018 with joy and enthusiasm. T4K, thanks to your amazing support, is in a good place. It is also in a place of transition. There is about £1800 a month coming into the account. That comes from about 380 donors. There are also over 500 supporters of the project.

The reason that we are in a good place is that we are in place of transition. You are now housing, 3 families and 3 single men across 5 homes. There are also numerous others receiving advice and support as they try to navigate the shifting shallows of the UK immigration system. Some of those people are in need of housing. The original vision was to find housing for just 2 people who were in dire need two and a half years ago. It is an amazing journey.

We need to expand the organisation. We are creating and refining new working processes to deal with what is a huge caseload for a small charity. We also need more volunteers and more affordable accommodation.

To take those in reverse order, do you have, or do you know of anybody, who has rooms or houses that can be let at, or below, the housing benefit rate? Do you know of anybody who has a spare room that they would be happy for someone trapped in immigration limbo to use for free? If so, please do be in touch.

There is an awful lot to be done and we are all volunteers. As the project has expanded bits and pieces fall between the cracks. We have come up with a long list of tasks that we think should not take more than a few hours a month (on average), but that need some people to commit to so that those cracks are beautifully cemented. You can find the list here. They cover all areas from admin through publicity and fundraising to face-to-face support with individuals. If you are lucky enough to have a bit of spare time, please have a read and get in touch.

I am very aware that people have offered to help out in the past and have not always had their offer of support taken up. I’m very sorry about that. It should not happen this time. As you can see from the list, each activity has a named lead to make sure that the expansion goes smoothly. In addition to all of that, we always need more money. So if anybody wants to arrange a jumble sale, a party, cake bake or sponsored immersion in baked beans and brussel sprouts, go right ahead (other ideas are welcomed too).

Before I get onto the story, I want to share the details of our upcoming event. We are having a small fundraiser to celebrate love at the Rosehill, on 14 February. It’s called “Refugee Valentine”. You can find details about the event here. There will be shared music and shared food and a whole lot of love. Hopefully see you there.

heart-2004351

Now, If anyone is still reading, the long awaited good news. Abdul (not his real name) finally received his Biometric Residence Permit. He had his appeal allowed by the First Tier Tribunal at the end of August and the Home Office decided not to appeal. This was a good move by Amber Rudd as she did not have a leg to stand on. It is an extraordinary relief and, as I am about to explain, there is no way that Abdul could have made it without you. Thank you so much.

Despite the good news, my overwhelming emotion is anger. Abdul arrived in this country seven years ago, as a teenager. He had, as it turned out, a cut and dried case for asylum simply based on his ethnic origins. He also had an extremely strong claim to asylum because of his political activities. What Abdul didn’t have is knowledge that he was literally in a legal fight for his life (that is literally a one in a million literal use of the word “literally”). He claimed asylum without any legal representation. He had no idea that he would have to provide overwhelming evidence of his trauma, and so naturally glossed over his more painful experiences. He had no idea that he could claim asylum as a member of a persecuted minority and so did not put much effort into explaining what, to a complete outsider, is a complex ethnic identity.

Things weren’t helped by having an interpreter who spoke a completely different dialect from Abdul and who, either from incompetence or shame, glossed over key features of Abdul’s story. The Home Office, whose default position is that you are lying, claimed that Abdul not only wasn’t from a persecuted minority, but wasn’t even from the country in question. It thus stood to reason that he couldn’t possibly have had trouble with the authorities.

What followed was the usual and interminable saga of finding overworked legal aid providers, appeals and fresh submissions, whilst all the while trying to keep body and soul together as he was shuttled between substandard asylum seeker accommodation. Desperate, Abdul discovered that he could apply for a right to work, was granted it and excitedly moved to Brighton. What he hadn’t been told was that entitlement was in fact in a few very specialised professions, such as brain surgery. Abdul was, unsurprisingly, woefully under qualified for any work that he was allowed to do. In addition, having voluntarily given up the pittance he was receiving from the Home Office, Abdul was absolutely destitute. He ended up homeless.

Fortunately, Voices in Exile and Doctors of the World were able to support him. They asked us to find him somewhere to stay and we were able to house him; first with an incredibly generous host family and then in a home your support makes possible. He was in a position to pursue an appeal.

It was particularly fortunate that you were supporting him as, in the very last leg, it transpired that he could claim asylum based on his ethnicity but his solicitors dropped all of their legal aid clients. Legal Aid is just too underfunded to be worthwhile for commercial firms. His wonderful barrister, Ubah Dirie, agreed to take on the case pro bono, if Abdul could gather the additional evidence he needed. We needed a solicitor to take witness statements and formally instruct Ubah. His original advocate agreed to do that work pro bono (I am still grateful). Abdul also needed an expert witness to refute the absurd claim that Abdul was lying about his identity. Following Ubah’s lead we approached the star cheese. It took the cheese about 5 minutes to establish what is obvious to anyone who meets Abdul, namely that, although, by his own estimation, he is no angel, he is extremely truthful. The expert was so outraged by the Home Office’s behaviour that he took on the case for free and even put back a hospital appointment to show up in court.

The stability and money that you provided meant that Abdul could gather witnesses, pay transport costs and undertake all the other activities needed to win his case. It should never have come to this. Abdul comes from a country with regime so violent that simply by being born he faced serious risks. He should have been welcomed and supported to start life again here. Instead, because he didn’t know how to twist himself through elaborate and tiny loops, a tortuous logic was used to ‘prove’ that he was a liar. How has it come to this?

As an addendum, I was speaking to Abdul last night. He takes a different view. He says, “7 years is too much, but, let’s be honest, Jac, when I think about my case, it’s a blessing. Let’s be honest, I wasn’t invited here. I came here illegally. They didn’t have to give me it [Leave to Remain]”. Make of that what you will.

Claude Monet - Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare - Google Art Project

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Room at the Inn — T4K Christmas Update

I hope that you all had a lovely time this Christmas, whichever way you choose to spend it. Personally, I saw my parents on Christmas Eve and spent Christmas Day eating and watching films with some Muslim friends from various parts of West Africa. It was a cross continental, Jewish-Muslim Christmas. Much more excitingly, the family that you have all been so generous in supporting finally moved into their own flat on the 23rd. It was in the nick of time because they spent a large portion of their Christmas Day in hospital… On the Maternity Ward! A child was born on Christmas Day.

Enormous thanks have to go to you and to all of the incredible hard work from all the T4K volunteers (apart from me. I was sick in bed during the most stressful period.) Without the phenomenal support and kindness of so many people, the child would most likely have been born in Home Office emergency accommodation. It would have been a single room in a hostel somewhere in London. These places are not pleasant. They house newly arrived Asylum Seekers. As you can imagine, that is mostly young men many of whom are extremely traumatised and all of whom are under enormous strain. There is very little chance that the father of the family would have been with them. It would have been the 21st century equivalent of a manger in a stable. Instead, mother and baby were able to have a well-planned birth in a safe environment and to return to their very own home. I want to claim that it is a Christmas miracle, but it is not. It is nothing more than the result of people coming together to bring people in, rather than cast them out. It’s nothing less than that either. Truly, it’s a wonderful life. Thank you.

Screen Shot of It's a Wonderful Life
By National Telefilm Associates (Screenshot of the movie) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
If it is not enough that you have kept a family safe, you have also managed to bring one more refugee to safety. A man that has been here for 7 years, who had to make 3 claims for asylum, finally received his residence card. I will save the megilliah (long and convoluted story) for the new year, because it isn’t actually a happy tale. I will say this, along with a very sharp barrister, the thing that made the difference was your support. Because he had a home, he could focus on his case. He could find the witnesses he needed and prepare an irrefutable case. Your support has really been the difference between life and death. That’s no exaggeration.

I will sign off with a new years message from one of the residents…

Hello everyone out there, happy new year to you all. I hope that you all have a quality time with your families. I wish you all the best. I hope to meet you all in the new year.m New year, new vibes. Make sure that you come back safe from New Years Eve (I need your continuing support!). Thank you for all your support. Save some Turkey for me and have a great 2018. Keep praying for me. Here’s hoping 2018 brings you joy and me leave to remain. Thanks, KS.

Christmas Appeal

It is that time of year when families and friends come together to share a holiday together. Many of us send cards and gifts to our loved ones. More than any other time of year it’s a season of kindness, generosity and home.

This year there is a family in Brighton and Hove in crisis. They moved to Brighton from the other side of the world, seeking sanctuary. The government of the UK has not seen fit to grant it to them, but in the face of a hostile environment, they have stuck together and done what they can to flourish. They are expecting a new baby in January. The mother and the 2 children, who are both under 5, are living temporarily with a generous host family. They need a place of their own. That is only going to happen if the whole community helps.

This Christmas, we are selling these beautiful Christmas Cards to raise money for the family and others like them who are homeless in our city. Each card costs a pound, but you might also consider adding a years subscription to T4K to the price of the card and give that as a gift to your loved ones. You could also use the card to ask people to take out a subscription rather than give you a gift. If enough of us do that, then we can find a home for this family and make sure that their child is not born in a manger.

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To order some cards, please fill in this form. We will be in touch about delivery and payment:



Proof Reader Needed

One of our members, Luqman Onikosi, whilst struggling against the Home Office for his Right to Remain, is also writing a serious academic text on international education. The deadline for his publishers, Cambridge Scholar, is February. The person who was proofreading it for Luqman, isn’t going to be able to complete the task in time. He needs somebody who can check the spelling and grammar on 74,000 words of radical scholarship. It will probably take about 3 hours a week of your time. Can you help? He can pay a very small amount of money, but major reward would be a deep insight into postcolonial understandings of the University.

Be in touch if you can help.

Straddling the Border, T4k October Update

I have been gallivanting in Asturias in Spain. I am now back and, although I should be pleased because we seem to have a monthly income that nearly equals our monthly commitments (thank you, thank you), I am actually very angry.

I am very angry because I have come straight back into the mess that is trying to assist people who are trapped on the wrong side of the border find housing. I came back from a country where, although the border is visible to those who know how to look for it, I don’t know how to look for it. I returned here where all I can see is the iniquity of the system. 2 similar cases appeared on our doorstep. They both highlight the narrowness and the meanness of the law. In both cases a woman and children fled their accommodation in the North because they were suffering from abuse to come to be with people they knew down here. I will tell you about one of them but much the same applies to the other.

The woman in question has 2 children and is 7 months pregnant. She comes from a country where, although there isn’t much in the way of state infrastructure, the state isn’t actively persecuting people. She been forced to leave because her family wanted to force her into marriage with a much older polygamist. When she refused, they beat her up. She came here and claimed asylum. The case is ongoing, but of course she’s had an initial refusal.

The understanding of who needs protection is tortuously tight. You can only claim asylum if you’re being persecuted because of some aspect of your identity. You also have to be being persecuted by a state actor or unable to avail yourself of the protection of the state. Now, you might be able to claim (with a good lawyer) that you are being persecuted precisely because you are a woman. Our woman and her family won’t be safe back home. The Home Office argue that, despite the prevalence of FGM, woman are not persecuted where she origininates and that there is a legal system which functions, so she is protected. Anyway, they say, she can move to a different part of the country away from her abusers; away from any support she might have. She doesn’t come from a rich country. Without a community to support her she won’t have any safe way of looking after herself and her children. None of that matters to the Home Office. As far as they’re concerned, she’s not being persecuted or neglected by any political authorities and “we” don’t have any requirement to offer her sanctuary.

Of course, while she makes the navigates the opaque asylum system and tries to get a head round the abstruse legal arguments she has to make, the state very kindly provided some substandard accommodation for her. It was a long way from Brighton where she has a community to support her and where, in fact, her partner and father of her children lives. Of course, he doesn’t have any status and is himself living from hand to mouth trying to establish his complex right to remain. Isolated and fearful in her Home Office provided accommodation, she experienced racist abuse and a serious levels of stress and anxiety. Before she had a breakdown, she, sensibly enough, returned to Brighton to be with her husband and community.

The community was able to pay for 3 weeks in a hostel while she tried to persuade the local authority that they should house her and her children. She was turned down because if you’re eligible for asylum support housing, the local authority is not allowed to provide housing under the Children’s Act (that’s the law that gives them the power to provide housing and, in some circumstances, a duty to do so) We are going to have one more go today, but the prospects look grim. We have been able to pay for a bit of extra time in the hostel, but it’s £40 per night in the week and £85 at the weekend. If we had that money, we could rent them a house. We are praying that the amazing Room for Refugees or Refugees at Home might come through, but who on earth has room in their house for a family of 4? If you do have a spare house going, please let us know.

It’s grim, but this family is not the only one. Like I said, we’ve got another similar case on our books but, it’s not quite our area, so we’ve roped in a different organisation to take it on. We know that there are homeless care leavers in Brighton who have had their appeal rights exhausted. Care leavers who similarly come from countries that are clearly unsafe for them to live in, but don’t fall within the narrow definition of the refugee conventions.

Back home in Brighton, I see the border everywhere. It’s an extraordinary sensation. I had spent the day scrabbling to make sense of this family’s situation and what might be done, and then went out for somebody’s birthday drinks. I’m sure that we spent upwards of £50 on entertaining ourselves. It’s not an outrageous thing to do, but it’s a princely sum to the people on the wrong side of the border. They seem to live on air. The day before the awesome Rebel Yarns had organised a community sewing of her beautiful welcome blanket at our Tuesday cafe at the Cowley Club. It was a wonderful, joyous, warm event. The women, and it was almost all women, who came to sew came from both sides of the border. We have no need to exclude people. The Church of Stop Shopping turned up to sing to us to thank us and even made me a saint. On Friday, I had given a talk to a full house at the Dome as part of the TEDx conference. It was an event dedicated to community projects which try to make our world a richer and more diverse place. Everybody loved the project. And although I find it heartwarming and inspiring that so many people reject the politics of division and exclusion, I can’t help but be angry that, with all this goodwill people, are still systematically excluded from our communities. The chinks in the fence get narrower and more and more people have their lives destroyed when so many are so willing to give them their support.

I know that the best thing to do about it is to keep expanding projects like this one. You can do that by signing up your friends, buying these beautiful cards and prints of the welcome blanket, and generally spreading the word. The more we expand projects like ours, the more people are brought in to the community and the more ridiculous having a hostile border becomes. That’s my hope anyway.

Hail Guest, T4K September Update

Greetings to you from the mountains of Asturias. I was feeling quite burnt out by constant firefighting that all of us at T4K have to do. The hostile environment exerts unending pressure on people on the wrong side of the border, breaking up families and destroying lives. Like all good wrecking machines, it also bears down on anyone, however marginal, who happens to be in its way. Fortunately, I (still) have the right colour passport and friends in a collective in the mountains of northern Spain. I have taken a belated summer holiday. This is not a possibility for the people you are supporting to the tune of £1400 or so per month.

We are nearly there. If you can, please help expand the project by spreading the word and signing up your friends. Personally, however down I get, the thought that so many people have come together in the face of a hostile and racist political environment to welcome strangers into our town always renews my faith in the possibility of making over our communities into ones of kindness and compassion, rather than ones based on mistrust and selfishness.

Before I get onto the good news that I promised you last month, I want to let you know about a fantastic project that will give you an excuse to sign up more of your friends and family. If you have ever driven down the A23 into Brighton, you will probably have noticed two stone pillars flanking the carriageway. These are the Patcham Pylons and, what you might not know, is that they were erected to welcome people to Brighton. Inscribed on the pylons is the following poem:

West_Pylon,_A23_(London_Road),_Patcham_(NHLE_Code_1381679)
By The Voice of Hassocks (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Hale guest, we ask not what thou art.

If friend, we greet thee, hand & heart.

If stranger, such no longer be.

If foe, our love shall conquer thee.

 

(It is cheesy, but it always brings a lump to my throat).

Local artist, Rebel Yarns, has crocheted the poem into a blanket which she will give to one of the families you are supporting. Before the grand handover on November 14 at the Friends Meeting House, Rebel Yarns is inviting people to sponsor a square in a beautiful echo of the original subscription to put up the pylons. Anyone who sets up a subscription or donates more than £10 can have their name crocheted onto the blanket. You could have viewed the blanket at the World Transformed Conference this weekend. You can also join a public sewing of the names onto the blanket at the Cowley Club on October 24. There are also cards and prints available with the proceeds going to us.

The good news: the count of people who have received papers as a result of your support is now 2. Abdul, not his real name, had his appeal allowed by the First Tier Tribunal at the end of August and the Home Office decided not to appeal. This was a good move by Amber Rudd as she did not have a leg to stand on. It is an extraordinary relief and, as I will explain next month, there is no way that Abdul could have made it without you. Thank you so much. Abdul doesn’t want me to share details until he has his card in his hands. He’s terrified that it could still go wrong, though if it does Rudd will find herself facing another contempt of court charge.

Because I cannot yet tell you the story, I will leave you with a little reflection on the legal system. It seems to me that the way that you win your immigration case is to prove that you are the exception. You can be granted a right to remain here because you have a family life here or because you are in need of humanitarian protection. The actual process requires you to make an application to the Home Office, have that rejected, and then argue your case before a judge. Such a system has to be underpinned by the presumption that the vast majority of applicants do not need to be in the UK and can live equally well elsewhere. A successful appeal in the immigration tribunals generally seems to require showing that you (sotto voce, unlike other applicants) have a pressing and unusual need to live here.

Michael Dummett September 2004Now, as Michael Dummett pointed out in his book on immigration and refugees, “On Immigration and Refugees” (that is honestly a hilarious philosophy of language joke), everybody has a right to live somewhere, but it does not automatically follow that everyone has somewhere to live. If we want it to follow, then we have to build an international legal framework that allows for international migration. The system here, with its presumption that only the exception requires protection, must assume that for the vast majority of people there is somewhere (else) that they can live. However, the idea that everyone has a place where they belong is simply false. This is why we see the horror of semi-permanent refugee camps all round the world.

Our current legal system presumes that people belong where they were born, but there are all sorts of reasons why you might need to build a life for yourself elsewhere. You might face massive persecution because of your ethnicity, sexuality, your gender or your political beliefs. You might find yourself in the midst of a civil war or an economic crisis. You might, indeed, feel the urge to recreate yourself in a new country. Here in Asturias, for example, the abundance of cheap, fertile land has attracted plenty of disgruntled neo-rural anti-capitalists from across the Spanish state, the European Union and even further afield. But because the law assumes that you have no need to be here, it grants you no right to be here, and, because that assumption is false, there are probably over half a million people living here under the radar (618,000 people was the median figure given by the LSE in 2009). Being under the radar leaves you very vulnerable. It is therefore no surprise that over 250,000 immigrants are destitute. Thousand 4 1000 will not be able to solve the whole problem. It will, however, if we can expand a little bit, ensure that nobody is homeless in Brighton because of their immigration status. It also gives the people you support a chance to prove that they are the exception. So for that, a thousand thanks.

Help Ali Come Home

The fees for an immigration application are eye-watering. Often, however strong your case, there’s no way for you to claim your Right to Remain. We’ve started a chuffed page to raise money so that Ali can finally escape the nets of the immigration system. He’s written you this short letter explaining his situation:

Hi,
My name is Ali. I am 44. I have been in the UK since 2007. During this time, I did my best to be a helpful person for my family and people around me. Also, I tried to adopt the culture by learning English. I married and did what I could to improve my life by education and being qualified as a gas engineer.
I had to apply for a visa couple of times in order to work, but my current visa will run out this October. I have to send an application which costs £2,297, excluding solicitor costs, to the Home office in a very short period of time.
For the first four years I was here I didn’t have the right to work and have never been able to get support from the government, but once I was granted my visa, I have worked in order to support my family. I have no complaints about that, I have always managed to get by. I am recently qualified and started to work, but with all the life expenses supporting a family with three boys, I can’t afford this fee for the application at all. Without making this application I won’t be able to be with my family, work or stay in the country.
I am embarrassed to have to ask for your help, but I don’t have any other option. I have to find the money so that I can be there for my boys and so that I can continue to live in this wonderful town.

Thank you,
Ali

Some Successes — T4K August Update

August is here and hopefully all of you are able to find the time and the money to have a little holiday. It’s summer (despite the rain), so I sincerely hope you are all fortunate enough to have some time that is wholly yours. Now the good news. We are doing okay. Thanks to the wonderful ceilidh, a silent disco organised by some Sussex University students and other bits and pieces of fundraising, there is enough money to keep everybody housed until March. We are still about £300 a month short of having a regular income sufficient to meet our ongoing commitments, but hopefully there is time to catch up with ourselves. (Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Imagine not chasing your own tail).

Even more excitingly, one of the people you have been supporting received his status. To protect his anonymity I’m going to call him, Peter. Peter was referred to us by Voices in Exile because he needed some support with his Family Life appeal and, indeed, support with his family life. Although Peter is a refugee from Zimbabwe, the Home Office, in their infinite wisdom, decided that he did not need protection from Mugabe. He spent the usual years in immigration limbo, but being a really personable individual, he had managed to start a serious relationship with a British woman. They married and he received a limited leave to remain. By the time that leave expired, the relationship had broken down and a child had been born. He was homeless and desperate. Peter fought hard to maintain his relationship with his son. It is pretty difficult when you are camping, but, he managed it, until the powers that be moved him on and shuttled him through a series of homelessness charities. None of the charities were able to help because of his lack of status. He ended up in Brighton, where thanks to Voices and our destitution fund, we were able to get him some legal advice and pay for the transport to see his son. We are also able, thanks to Positive Action in Housing’s Room for Refugees scheme, to find him somewhere to live. With that stability and support, Peter was able to win his case. As he likes to put it, he is no longer trapped between the ink.

Hopefully, by next month, one of the three men we are housing will have won his asylum case. I can’t go into details just yet, but, I am pretty confident, that I will be able tell you the story in the next newsletter. It centres on an extraordinary refusal to believe even the most basic and obvious things this man said about himself. It meant another trip to an immigration tribunal at the backend of Heathrow airport. It looks like a generic office block, but inside, as well as x-ray machines and airport style security, there are corridors-cum-waiting rooms and small offices converted into courts by the presence of large quantities of wood. The judge sits on a raised dais, backed by the coat of arms. If you’re anything like me, you probably never had reason to pay attention to this archaic heraldry. However, if you sit as a spectator in the bizarre ritual which is an immigration tribunal, you might notice that the scroll reads, “Dieu et mon doit”, “God and my right”, and around the bit in the middle, which apparently is the motto of the Order of the Garter, you have, “honi soit qui mal y pense”, “shame be to him who thinks evil of it”.

By SodacaniThe source code of this SVG is valid.This vector image was created with Inkscape. – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

As an expression of arbitrary power, it doesn’t get much better than that. It may as well say, “I’ll do what I like and you can shut your mouth”. It certainly feels that way when you come as an observer to these places. Small knots of anxious people whisper anxiously. If they are lucky enough they are in hushed conference with their barrister. If not, they wait nervously clutching their papers. The system is opaque, the setting anodyne and the petitioners powerless, but what happens in these places is, quite literally, a matter of life and death.

Our man was able to bring a whole gaggle of witnesses, again thanks to the destitution fund, and a number of his friend showed up just to support him. The hearing went about as well as anyone could have hoped. The scene afterwards, as we gathered in a car park located at the end of one of Heathrow’s runways, was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Here was a group of no longer so young men, who had been through the asylum ordeal, hugging and congratulating their friend and fellow traveller. They had all left night shifts early so they could be in Feltham at 10 o’clock to support their friend. It was a moving display of solidarity and friendship. Against the backdrop of the state in all its bureaucratic hostility, I couldn’t help but feel sad and angry that the state had treated these men with suspicion and real meanness. They were clearly who they claimed to be; men who found themselves washed up on the shores by horrific violence and who now wanted a bit of peace and quiet to build some sort of life for themselves in a foreign country that they hoped would become home. With a tiny bit of luck, the seven year odyssey of the man you have been housing will be over by this time next month. It will take a very mean judge to insist that the Home Office is right and our man a fabricator. Maybe, just maybe he has made like the proverbial camel and squeezed through the eye of a needle.

I want to leave you with one more story that will hopefully give you a sense of what the project means to people. It concerns M, a 60 year old woman from West Africa, who was married to a British man. She lived with him in Sussex for 7 years, having come to the UK on a spousal visa.  When the marriage became violent and abusive, with the support and encouragement of RISE, she courageously decided to leave him. They referred her to Thousand 4 1000 and we supported her move. Initially she was unable to claim housing benefit, due to her immigration status, and therefore her housing options were extremely limited.  Thanks to your support, we were able to fund her stay in a hotel for a few nights and subsequently in a room in a house, while helping her with her application for “Indefinite leave to remain”. This was granted within a few weeks, thanks to the legal services of Voices in Exile.  After a few weeks in a refuge in another county, she was finally rehoused in Council accommodation – but with no carpets or furniture. We were able to use the destitution fund to help her purchase enough basic items to help her, finally, to feel she has a home again.

Brick cottage on the High St, Hastings Old Town - geograph.org.uk - 1352502
Nigel Chadwick [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
This is the sort of difference that your £1 per month (or a little bit more) makes to the lives of individuals in Brighton. Thank you so much. Please do continue to support us, sign up for Gift Aid if you can, and persuade a couple of your friends to become involved as well. We would love to be able to put an end this whole nightmare, simply by being able to house everyone who has been made homeless because of their immigration status. Those sunny uplands are still a long way off, but the journey has begun. Thank you.

Guarantor Needed

A wonderful Egyptian Orthodox refugee couple urgently need a guarantor. They have been offered a flat for £625 a week. They have a regular monthly income of around £1250 and no children. They have an impeccable rental history. One half of the couple is a self-employed computer programmer. They receive around about £780 a month in various social security payments, including housing benefit. The tenancy agreement is a rolling monthly contract and the guarantor is expected to make up any shortfall in the rent. It would be extremely unlikely that it came to that, however, that is what you would be guaranteeing. The guarantor needs to be working and own a home, ideally with a mortgage bizarrely. It is particularly urgent because, apart from the usual difficulties of finding a flat on a low income when you have an unusual immigration status, the wife of the couple is disabled and they need a level access flat that is suitable for her wheelchair. If you can help, please be in touch.