Sustainable solutions to poverty and inequality

EU citizens make up a third of London’s rough-sleeping population. Migrants who are homeless are particularly vulnerable and it is important for them to receive advice and support as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, cuts to legal aid and the closure of many legal advice providers for migrants and asylum seekers in the UK, has left tens of thousands without access to adequate legal advice and representation.

Limited accommodation options and complicated regulations governing EU migrants’ rights to social assistance and welfare benefits means that this complex process is made even more difficult.

If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness, or are looking for advice on behalf of someone who is, call us on our advice line. Our advice line is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10:30am and 6pm on 020 7831 4276 or email us at i[email protected]

Our Approach

First, we work to make it easier for homeless EU migrants in London to access benefits and housing. Where we have noticed systemic violations of rights, we have identified key test cases and undertaken strategic litigation in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. These cases will have a significant impact beyond the individuals involved in the cases and may clarify the rights of hundreds of homeless migrants to access state support.

Second, through publications, trainings and engaging with the media we want to raise awareness of the legal rights of EU migrants in London who are facing poverty.

The interest in our training sessions has also been tremendous. Our ongoing capacity building work with professionals and frontline staff working with homeless EU migrants has meant that approximately 200 individuals to date have increased their knowledge in this area of law and become better equipped to advocate on behalf of this particularly vulnerable group of migrants.

Finally, we work to decrease the number of systemic practices and policies that prevent homeless EU migrants in London from accessing the support that they are actually entitled to.

Our unique expertise in this area of law enables us to provide legal advice and casework, and engage on the policy level, to achieve sustainable solutions to the problems of poverty and inequality which often underpin homelessness.

'I think this training was excellent! It was very informative, trainers capable of answering additional questions and case studies/group work helped us apply the knowledge in real life.'

'I provide advice on homelessness cases. I now have more material and knowledge to refer to when helping with these.'

Participants at training sessions.

Projects

Trust for London Project (details)

Our work in action

Mariana’s Story

Mariana is a Brazilian national who had a long-term British national partner, Rich. Mariana and Rich first lived in Portugal, where Rich was working. Rich then found work in the UK and they moved together to Britain, where their son was born.

Sadly, in 2011 Rich died. Mariana applied for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. But the local authority denied her this support. The local authority claimed that she and her young son, who was enrolled in a local school, did not have a right to reside in the UK.

The young family was also facing eviction and Mariana was terrified of losing their home and having nowhere to live. So she got in touch with us.

We represented Mariana and her son in a successful appeal at the First-tier Tribunal and the local authority accepted this decision. We showed that …(Adriana Harvey - C.1860 - in the Social Security tribunals folder.)

Mariana and her son were able to access Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and were no longer threatened with poverty and homelessness.

Key Cases

In HC and Others v Secretary of State / Sanneh and Ors v Secretary of State, we intervened to give expert evidence on whether non-EEA nationals can claim certain benefits when they have a right to reside based on the fact that they have a dependent EU family member who is exercising EU free movement rights in the UK (so-called Zambrano parents).

Header Picture: Homeless women (Monica Kelly via Flickr)