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HOUSING CHARITY DEMANDS ASSURANCE THAT ASYLUM CHANGES WILL NOT CAUSE HOMELESSNESS

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People seeking asylum could be left destitute and homeless under new...
People seeking asylum could be left destitute and homeless under new

legislation that will deny support to many adults applying for asylum

inside the UK, rather than at their port of entry*. The Nationality,

Immigration and Asylum Bill is due to come into effect on 8 January. The

campaigning charity Shelter is urgently seeking assurances from

ministers that people applying for asylum in-country will not be left

without any support.

Shelter fears that denying people support will cause homelessness and

even force applicants onto the streets, undermining the government's

policies to tackle rough sleeping and reduce social exclusion. Others

may be forced to stay with friends and relatives in the refugee

community, causing overcrowding and undermining the government's

dispersal policy.

Ben Jackson, Shelter's director of external affairs, said: 'This

measure risks making large numbers of people homeless because no support

is available to them. Ministers must urgently issue clear guidance on

how the law will apply or give an assurance that the many people who

apply for asylum once they have arrrived in Britain will not be left

destitute.'

In a recent letter to home secretary David Blunkett, Shelter and other

organisations warned of the potential effects of Clauses 55 and 57 of

the Act. The letter was signed by Shelter, the Refugee Council, Oxfam,

Save the Children, the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of

Torture, Crisis, Homeless Link and St Mungos, the Law Society and the

Immigration Law Practitioners Association.

NOTES

1. For more information about Shelter visit www.shelter.org.uk

2. Shelter is a national campaigning charity that every year works with

over 100,000 homeless or badly housed people through its network of over

50 advice centres and innovative projects. It also runs Shelterline,

supported by Bradford & Bingley, the UK's free, 24 hour, national

housing advice line on 0808 800 4444, and Shelternet, supported by the

Halifax, a free, online, housing advice website at www.shelternet.org.uk

* See LATEST ASYLUM STATISTICS PUBLISHED - ROBUST NEW MEASURE TO TACKLE ASYLUM ABUSE ANNOUNCEDon LGCnet.

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