Safe in Scotland has been preventing homelessness among asylum seekers since 2011.
Frederick Douglass 1846 (aka “The Freddies”) is a newly formed team in the Lothian & Edinburgh Amateur Football League. The Freddie's are proud to challenge discrimination, champion diversity and support charities that make a difference.
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Why Safe in Scotland exists
Glasgow is the UK's biggest asylum dispersal area which means that people are sent there by the Home Office, while their claim is being considered. They get a room in a flat and £37 per week – this is called Asylum Support. They’re not allowed to work or claim any benefits. If their asylum claim is refused (as many initially are) they lose their entitlement to their accommodation and financial support 21 days later, with the expectation that they will make prompt arrangements to leave the UK. Remember the Go Home vans?
Of course, there are lots of reasons why people don’t return immediately return to their countries of origin. For many, they may believe the decision made on their asylum claim is incorrect and they will be in danger if they return home. And we know that about 40% of people initially refused asylum are eventually granted some form of protection (highlighting the deficiencies in Home Office decision making procedures!) so…
And with this in mind, it seems particularly barbaric to us that folk are quickly forced into rough sleeping and other survival decisions. We see the perversity and injustice, and we respond with proper places to live.
What we do
We're the main provider of emergency and temporary accommodation for our community in Scotland. Our approach is to combine a safe, private and dignified place to stay with trauma-informed support and immigration advice, so that people can make informed decisions and access their rights.
Our vision is to design-out homelessness from the refugee experience in Scotland - we believe that no one should face homelessness when they seek sanctuary in Scotland. We don't actually want to exist.
But in the meantime, we do this through frontline work and we’ve been at it for over a decade initially only able to offer an overnight shelter and a hot meal (we used to be called Glasgow Night Shelter for Destitute Asylum Seekers). But since August 2020 we’ve been able to offer 24/7 holistic, trauma-informed accommodation, for up to 17 people at any one time. About 100 people stay with us each year, moving back into Home Office accommodation and often eventually getting refugee status. Of course, not everyone is successful, but we believe that a safe place to stay is a human right, and by also ensuring this for folk who have difficult decisions to make, we reduce the likelihood of (re)trafficking and exploitation.
What we can do with your support
Asylum-related destitution affects up to 200 people, at any one time, in Scotland. So we’re tiny in relation to the scale of the issue. We have a continual waiting list for our accommodation and a lot of fundraising to do to make it sustainable and eventually grow it. Your support will allow us to continue to provide this vital service and ensure that people have the dignity of shelter, safety and support.
No one who seeks sanctuary in Scotland should face homelessness.