NEWway Project, based in Newham, were funded to work with Caritas Anchor House and The Renewal Project to provide immigration advice to rough sleepers, linking up homelessness and immigration services in the borough.
How the Project Worked
As the lead partner, NEWway was funded to co-ordinate referrals from their NEWday centre to The Renewal Projects immigration advice service. Caritas Anchor House were also funded to make referrals from people accessing their No Recourse to Public Funds bed spaces. The funding enabled these local charities to refer rough sleepers to high quality advice that was appropriate for their needs, whilst also addressing the funding gap for immigration advice in the homelessness sector.
The project also meant that the Renewal Project Level 3 advisor was able to attend their day centre and meet people face to face to carry out assessments and casework. This was an important aspect of the project that meant people who were rough sleeping had support to access the service and could more easily remain engaged with their advisor.
Bridging the funding gap between homelessness organisations and immigration organisations meant that while people were receiving much needed immigration advice, NEWway were also able to provide holistic support for people attending their centre. This kind of cross-sector collaboration was a big part of this, and the other projects funded through the IARSF.
Impact of the Fund
The funding from the IARSF meant that NEWway Project could make formal referrals for people who would otherwise not have access to the level of immigration advice that they needed. Accessing this advice was an opportunity to regularise their status. It also allowed NEWway to formalise its partnership with the Renewal Project, whom they had informally worked with previously. This new partnership meant that people who were rough sleeping and had an insecure immigration status could access the holistic services they needed to address their issues and work towards gaining sustainable accommodation.
One of the biggest learnings to come out of this project was around the need for longer term funding and the need to provide accommodation for people to stay in while they receive advice. There is often a disparity between the length of time someone can stay in temporary accommodation and the length of time it takes to have an immigration decision returned. Providing longer term accommodation also means that people can stay better connected with their advisors.
Giving these organisations the capacity to maintain strong partnerships meant better outcomes for service users. The learning report for the IARSF was launched earlier this month and reflects the need for funding to allow capacity for cross-sector partnership building and for the positive impact this can have on the lives of some of the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness.
The Immigration Advice for Rough Sleepers Fund was funded by the Greater London Authority and managed by Homeless Link. This is the last in a series of blogs surrounding the launch of the IARSF learning report, looking at three grant holders from the fund. The full learning report is now live and can be accessed here.