Rose’s story

The issue of homelessness is one of the most critical facing our clients. Around half of the refugees and asylum seekers that we see each year face a substantial risk of homelessness. Clients also face numerous other challenges including the need for food and funding, and mental health support. We provide early assessments for people facing homelessness, 1:1 advice on immigration and housing rights, and support with housing applications. In doing so, we help many people like Rose.

Rose first came to Asylum Welcome in 2017, when she was 65 years old. She didn’t have secure accommodation. Instead, she was staying with friends. Rose had been refused asylum and told that she had to relocate hundreds of miles away, under the terms of the Home Office’s ‘dispersal programme’.

Rose had close links to support from people from her community and also with organisations like Asylum Welcome. So, she stayed in Oxford, ‘sofa surfing’ for many months. She dreamed of a permanent home:

“I kept imagining whether one day I would have a place for myself.”

Rose felt abandoned and let down by officials. As a result, she was becoming increasingly isolated and depressed. We helped Rose to find a solicitor, gather vital evidence, and win her appeal. We also helped her to access psychological support.

When the COVID-19 lockdown started, Rose had to leave her temporary accommodation and she became homeless. Asylum Welcome supported Rose with weekly hardship payments and helped her to access temporary housing. After a period of more uncertainty, Rose was finally offered a proper room to call her own.

Rose was in tears as she opened the door and saw her very own room. She could now sleep in a bed with a pillow for the first time in two years. Rose’s ‘imagined’ room had finally become a reality.

Rose now has a wonderful home of her own and her life has changed for the better. In 2020, Asylum Welcome was delighted to welcome Rose as a volunteer on the charity’s welcome desk.

“I decided a long time ago that I needed to help refugees the way that Asylum Welcome helped me. I understand what it feels like to be a refugee and I have a big passion to help other people. Asylum Welcome is like a home to me! It is where I started my journey to rebuild my life in the UK. The staff and volunteers are friendly, have never let me down, and have helped make me who I am today” Rose