New toolkit helps frontline services support destitute migrants

Thursday, 10 November 2016 - 5:44pm

Partnerships between homelessness and migrant services are vital in order to meet the range of needs destitute migrants face, but how can we promote such collaboration? Homeless Link, as hosts of the Strategic Alliance on Migrant Destitution (SAMD), has been working to find out and provide frontline services with the tools to address this problem.

Since 2014, the Strategic Alliance on Migrant Destitution has been working across England, bringing together hundreds of homelessness and migrant support organisations to ask how the two sectors can work better in partnership.

Based on this work we are launching an important new resource, in the form of the Migrant Destitution Toolkit - How to facilitate local partnership working and develop pathways out of destitution. Alongside the guidance and resources, the SAMD has collated good practice examples of a range of effective, collaborative work between the homelessness and migrant sectors, based on meeting and reviewing services delivering critical support to vulnerable migrants. 

This innovative toolkit builds on the existing resources from Strategic Alliance partners, which offer a range of information on housing models, immigration advice and legal opinions. It will be expanded as the SAMD project continues, and more work is developed.

Why is the toolkit needed?

Without access to mainstream benefits, migrants with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) find it extremely difficult to navigate and gain access to traditional housing support services. In trying to support those with NRPF, both the homelessness and migrant sector have experienced challenges, some rooted in systemic problems, others exacerbated by the political environment combined with misunderstandings and sometimes inconsistent practice.

Several services, such as Street Legal, have piloted joint working in this area, and you can read more about them in our new feature here. This toolkit builds on good practice examples such as this, and aims to support more services to operate in similar cross sector partnerships.

Using the toolkit

This toolkit provides practical guidance on what your frontline homelessness service can do to develop a more holistic working approach to providing support to destitute migrants that may access your service.

How can my service offer support in partnership with other services as part of a coordinated response to the complex needs that destitute migrants face? How can I support staff to talk about destitute migrants in my service? How do I locate and build a partnership with a local migrant support organisation through a practice focused event?

Whether you are a hostel, night shelter, housing association, outreach team or day centre, this toolkit will have a range of options that can help answer these questions, and therefore ensure no destitute migrant is left without support or appropriate signposting.

The importance of providing good quality immigration advice cannot be understated; it plays an integral role in helping destitute migrants make positive steps forward. Ensuring your service understands this, and builds relationships with accredited immigration services is one way to ensure that you can offer appropriate support.

If you are using the toolkit, or have any feedback about what works well, please do get in touch and contribute to the Strategic Alliance’s ongoing work in this area.


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Patrick Duce

Innovation and good practice project manager

Patrick is an Innovation and Good Practice Project Manager, working on a range of innovation projects across the homelessness sector. Previously coordinated the Strategic Alliance on Migrant Destitution (SAMD) project on behalf of Homeless Link.

Telephone: 0207 840 4468
Twitter: @PatrickDuce