Samira* fled to the UK from Somalia. She claimed asylum but was refused after six months. While waiting for the initial decision she received asylum support and lived in supported accommodation. However, after her refusal, her support was cut off and she was forced onto the street.
Destitute and starting to despair, she went to appeal. She received another negative decision. Fortunately for her at this precarious time, she found a homeless shelter where she could stay. The shelter provided warmth and food, but Samira had no money.
Terrified of what life in Somalia would hold for her, Samira begun a fresh appeal. She relied on charities such as The Red Cross for cash and clothes. From one day to the next, she didn’t know whether she would be deported.
"she didn’t know whether she would be deported"
One year after her denial, Samira’s solicitor applied on her behalf for cashless Section 4 Support. She waited for four weeks before she was accepted. Samira now had a £5 daily allowance for food from the government, in addition to asylum-support accommodation.
Two years into her Section 4 Support, Samira gave birth to a child. Because of complex medical needs, her pregnancy was high risk. During this time any additional support was inconsistent, making her even more vulnerable. And because of her ‘refused’ status, she was unable to easily access medical care. She regularly went long periods without healthcare.
Further legal action by her solicitor meant that, after four years of cashless support, Samira was accepted for Section 95 cash support. However, this threw up yet another problem, because the support she was receiving stopped. For two months, Samira and her young child were completely unsupported as they waited for the first payment to come through.
Samira has been in and out of destitution for years. This is unforgivable.
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*Name changed. Adapted from Case Study L.
Sam – Communications Officer