Host Derby Launch
Tuesday saw the launch of our new hosting scheme for destitute asylum seekers, Host Derby, at the Bosnia and Herzegovina Centre on Curzon Street. It was a great chance to hear about the need for the project, current provision in the city and examples of similar schemes.
Our CEO, Karina Martin, introduced the evening, which included representatives from our Host Derby partners: the British Red Cross, Derby Refugee Advice Centre, Metropolitan Housing, Derby City Mission and Derby City of Sanctuary. All these organisations are putting in amazing work to get the scheme off the ground, and we are immensely grateful for their time and expertise.
We heard from Sharon Walia of Arimathea: a Nottingham-based charity that provides housing and support for people who have had their first claim for asylum refused. It was fascinating to listen to Jane Henson and Shingai Mushayabasa from Host Nottingham: the scheme which is providing the blueprint for Host Derby.
Nottingham is a great example of a city offering effective ways to support destitute asylum seekers, and it was excellent to have these voices at the launch. Host Nottingham has been running for over five years and has had a profound impact on not only people who have been housed but the hosts themselves.
"Opening your doors to a stranger and saying, welcome! That's huge."
Jane Henson, Host Nottingham
The most powerful moment in the evening was hearing the testimony of someone who was made destitute and, for half a year, slept in parks and bus shelters around Derby as he reapplied for asylum. His story is, sadly, one of many. Fortunately, he is back in government housing now, but so many people spend terrifying days, weeks and months homeless as they struggle to get back into the UK asylum system.
Phil Tomlinson, who is co-ordinating Host Derby, drew the evening to a close with a sense of what the scheme will look like in reality. He also shared the timeline, with the first destitute asylum seekers provisionally being housed by the end of the year.
If you want to find out more about destitution, the Red Cross have produced this helpful guide: http://bit.ly/2wbdWgg.
If you want to find out more about Host Derby, or have already decided that hosting is for you, then visit www.upbeatcommunities.org/hostderby or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sam - Communications Officer