Asim* fled from Sudan to escape torture and persecution. He arrived in the UK hoping to claim refuge. Sadly, bureaucracy in the British asylum system meant that he was about to be thrust into another tide of unpredictability and danger.
Asim was originally declined refugee status, but went to appeal. During the waiting period, his government support was stopped and he was made destitute. He was forced into sleeping on the street, exposed to cold weather and the threat of physical abuse. Because of his experiences of torture, Asim struggles to sleep, so he had many restless nights out in the open.
"Asim struggles to sleep, so he had many restless nights"
Eventually, he managed to put together an application for Section 4 Support: cashless food vouchers and asylum-support accommodation. He lived off this as he waited to hear from the court.
It took time, but the Home Office decision was positive. Whilst gaining refugee status ought to be cause for celebration, for many it throws up yet more unpredictability. This was Asim's experience: he lost access to food vouchers or any form of cash, and had to rely on friends and charities as he waited for job seeker's allowance (JSA).
Because of Asim's health needs he was advised to obtain a letter from his GP, as he also had the right to apply for employment and support allowance (ESA). However, this application terminated his JSA. Once again, Asim was made destitute.
He was homeless, starving and haunted by his past. For weeks, he was totally unsupported in the country that had just granted him refugee status. He felt isolated and depressed. Finally, he managed to find accommodation, but health problems and dependence on others meant that his situation continued to be precarious.
Asim's is one of many stories of destitution. Host Derby will support people just like him.
By matching vulnerable individuals with host households, destitute asylum seekers will be supported to access the right help and re-engage with the asylum system. Asim was granted refugee status but still became destitute, showing how people can fall through the net at all stages of the process.
YOU can help people like Asim by donating to Host Derby.
*Name changed. Adapted from Case Study K.
Sam – Communications Officer