Everyone In represented the first time that England had attempted a local authority-led universal homelessness response. The results for non-UK national homelessness were remarkable, but the measures were temporary. Now, as winter provision continues and local authorities plan RSI 2022-25, we must galvanise good practice and advocate clearly and consistently for the changes needed.
For too long, homelessness staff have been desperate for solutions for clients facing immigration-based restrictions. They have been caught between a rock and a hard place, wanting to deliver inclusive and welcoming services, but constrained and exasperated by funding requirements, confusing entitlements and counter-productive legal exclusions.
Today Homeless Link launches a briefing, Facing up to homelessness among non-UK nationals: the challenge and opportunity since ‘Everyone In’, to make the case for the inclusion of people with immigration-based eligibility restrictions in mainstream homelessness systems, for good. It provides an overview of what is known and what has changed for non-UK national homelessness and highlights priority action areas for local government and homelessness organisations.
Non-UK nationals with restricted eligibility for public funds made up a significant proportion of people accommodated under ‘Everyone In’. This isn’t surprising given that they faced some of the worst consequences of the pandemic and non-UK nationals have been disproportionately represented in rough sleeping figures for years.
Despite its limitations, Everyone In prompted new ways of doing things. Homelessness organisations reported impressive progress in helping previously excluded people to regularise their status, unlock their entitlements, and move on from homelessness. Now local authorities must learn from this and, alongside the sector, show leadership by integrating provision for non-UK nationals into their strategies and Rough Sleeping Initiative plans for 2022-25.
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