Co-sign our letter to Housing Minister Robert Jenrick MP

The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP,
Secretary of State for
Housing, Communities and Local Government
House of Commons

12th June 2020

Dear Mr Jenrick,
We applaud the UK Government’s decision as part of the coronavirus national response to offer emergency temporary accommodation to those who are street homeless, including those with No Recourse to Public Funds. Many people who would have been on the streets will have benefitted massively as a result of this intervention, and we are also hearing positive stories from homeless people and hotels which hosted them.

We are encouraged by the objective stated by Dame Louise Casey on 26th May of addressing the cooperation of local authorities, faith groups and charities ‘to build on the success of everyone in and try to make sure they don’t go back on the street’. You reinforced this aim in your address (published on 31st May) by adding to the statement, regarding the £3.8 billion given to councils, that ‘some people will need help to return to the private rental sector but others will need accommodation to be provided as it is a housing issue’.

However, we are dismayed that extended housing support will only be available to those who qualify for welfare benefits. In some areas this will result in a large number of people, up to 50% of those currently housed, returning to the streets at a time when homelessness services, such as day centres and night shelters, remain closed. This is a national catastrophe in the making, which we feel could inadvertently undo all the good work the Government has done on this important issue.

Citizens UK is a broad-based community organising network that draws together schools, universities, hospitals, mosques, churches, synagogues, charities and other community groups to work for justice, with over 250,000 people in the membership.

We are working on a number of fronts when it comes to issues of housing and homelessness but are writing today to share our concern about the imminent crisis facing those with No Recourse to Public Funds or with insecure immigration status. Many of our members are directly involved in supporting people experiencing homelessness, and we have a national team of leaders who are shaping local post-lockdown strategies. We are also campaigning for affordable and community-led housing that would ensure that all people have a safe and affordable place they can call home.

We would like to request a meeting with you by 30th June, to discuss how we can work together to develop better solutions and prevent the return of thousands of people to the streets, whom the Government are succeeding in supporting right now. In particular, we want to focus on the immediate extension of housing support for all people regardless of their immigration status.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Amanda Dubarry, CEO Caritas Anchor House
Citizens UK National Action Team members
Cpt John Clifton, Ilford Salvation Army
Fr Dominic Robinson, Chair of the Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Westminster
Rev Angus Ritchie, Centre for Theology and Community, Shadwell
Rev Richard Springer, St George’s in the East church, Shadwell
Bernadette Harris, St Thomas of Canterbury Church, Woodford Green
Shermara Fletcher, Open Table, Tower Hamlets
Andy Pakula, New Unity, Hackney
Revd Dr Simon Woodman, Bloomsbury Cantral Baptist Church, London
Daniel Holland, Salvation Army, Assistant Regional Manager for Homelessness Services (London Region)
Fr Gerard Mitchell, St Anselm’s RC Parish, Southall
John Murphy, Hope for Southall Street Homeless
Salma Ravat, One Roof Leicester, Leicester
Paul Samuels, St Peter’s and Paul’s RC Parish, Ilford
Harry McKeown, YMCA St Paul’s Group, Merton
Denis Tully, CEO Emmanuel House, Nottingham
Martin Wall, West Somerset Quakers
Nora Ponton, Latin American Citizens
Rebecca Stockman, YMCA, Merton
Fr Martin Poole, St Luke’s Church, Brighton
Luljeta Nuzi, Shpresa Programme, Newham
Fiona Carrick-Davies, Surrey Square Primary School, Southwark
Averil Watan, St Barnabas Church, Walthamstow
Marta Tildesley, School Home Support Practitioner, St Mary's Primary School Lewisham
Bilqis Salam, parent leader, St Mary's Primary Lewisham
Nirushan Sudarsan, Butetown, Citizens Cymru Wales
Adela Belecova, English For Action
Fr Dominic Howarth Caritas Diocese of Brentwood
Fr Quentin Jackson St Thomas of Canterbury Woodford Green
Marzena Cichon Centre for Theology and Community
Jazmine Sandison Caritas Anchor House
Kim Fitzwarine-Smith Broseley Methodist Church
Annette Wicks Wimbledon Salvation Army
Simon Jones Spurgeon's College
Rev Rosemary Shaw Southwark Diocese
Rev Jude Padfield St James in the City, Liverpool
Angie Allgood Bonny Downs community association
Major Nick Coke The Salvation Army Raynes Park
Pete Rogers St Nics
Shirin Ward Merton Priory Parish, Merton Citizens
Nathaniel Martin Ascension Trust
Jonathan Evens St Martin-in-the-Fields
Claire Moses St Mark's Church Mitcham
Alison Tsang Refugees Welcome Hounslow
Rachel Griffiths Herne Hill Welcomes Refugees
Joyce Fletcher COGOP UK
Sarah Mowat St Andrew's Church
Mary Schnorrenberg Lewisham Irish Centre
Simon Robinson Watnall Road Baptist church
Jacqueline Somerville Bloomsbury Baptist Church
Bernice DeLord Promas Caring for People CIC
Meriel Woodward Caritas Westminster
Angela Grant COGOP
Malcolm Green Justice and Peace
Pastor Ashley Taylor The House of Consecration
Leondre Douglas DIOKO
Hakan Erkan Caritas Anchor House
Heather Atkinson St Peter's Bethnal Green
Tim Norwood Milton Keynes Deanery
Peter Laing Newham Community Renewal Programme
Thomas Underwood Raynes Park Community Church
Daniel Stone University of Birmingham
Nicola Spurr Bayswater Covid-19 Mutual Aid
Rebecca Hopkins Medergy
Peter Ratcliffe Church in Wales
Michael Baker Leicester Central SDA Church
Helen Hayes One Roof Leicester
Clare Scott One Roof Leicester
Pauline Hall St Agnes RC Ghurch
Kathryn Brooks Trustee. Sandwell Homelessness & Resettlement Project
Winnie Obese-Bempong, All Saints Church Peckham
Alessandra Sciarra, Salvation Army
Abieyuwa Ehondor, Mumspace and Camberwell Salvation Army
Kees Maxey Brentwood United Reformed Church
Jessica Lanham Hot water bottle network Leicester
Gillie Howarth New unity. Hackney
Ralph Williamson St Peter's Eaton Square CofE Church
Simon Grigg St Paul''s Church, Covent Garden
Yasmin Alam Citizens Advice East End
Naomi Diamond Leicester Jewish Progressive Community
Ashleigh May, Mums on a Mission
Rhiannon Winstanely, Salvation Army, Ilford
Philip Hogan, St George's in the East
Norman Coe, Christian Kitchen
Jessica Allan Bournville Village Trust
Dr Carl Stevenson University or Birmingham
Rev'd Jeremy Fletcher Hampstead Parish Church
Debbie Brown Amy's Space
Rev Mike Barter St Matthew's Church, Ealing Common
Fran Hicks Quakers
Sonal Sher Founder, Knaphill St.Johns Brookwood Covid-19 Volunteer group
Graham Bowpitt Emmanuel House Support Centre, Nottingham
Vanessa Conant St Mary's Walthamstow
John Coleby Caritas Westminster
Pauline McCalla Christ the Saviour Church
Sheila Newbold Woodside Baptist Church
Bishop Melvin A Brooks New Jerusalem Apostolic Church
Mark Wainwright Brighton YMCA
Maria Ona Caritas
Colette Joyce Co-ordinator, Justice & Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Westminster
Marta Kukurowska Sadaka, Reading

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