“I became homeless, my mental health suffered not only because of the things I suffered in Iran but also because of the way I was being treated in this country, I became a bad person and tried to kill myself.”
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The number of destitute asylum seekers in Leeds is not known but estimates range from 1,500 to 3,000, and numbers are increasing.
Many destitute asylum seekers do not know where they will be sleeping from one night to the next: in parks and bus stations, public toilets and phone boxes, abandoned buildings, or the floors of friends. For survival, many rely on food parcels and the charity of others.
The people the hardship fund helps are people whose asylum application has been refused. In many cases people cannot return home because it is unsafe or because they cannot get the necessary travel documents. They cannot claim state benefits and are banned from working to support themselves – they have no income at all
Each winter a group of voluntary organizations in Leeds operates a Hardship Fund to provide limited financial support to those in greatest need. The fund provides small subsistence donations to destitute asylum seekers who have no income at all (for a single person, £25 per week, usually for 4 weeks). This provides a vital lifeline to people in desperate situations and can mean the difference between a meal and nothing to eat.
In 2017/18 the Leeds Hardship Fund helped 287 people, making 266 weekly payments totalling £6510
The Hardship Fund is an essential service to ease the situation of people experiencing homelessness and destitution and is a partnership of:
- Leeds Refugee Forum
- LASSN (Leeds Asylum Seekers’ Support Network)
- Leeds City of Sanctuary
- Meeting Point
- PAFRAS (Positive Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers)
- British Red Cross
- RETAS (Refugee Education Training Advice Service)
- York Street Health Practice
Please consider making a donation by clicking here, or on the logo at the top of the page
Ali Mahgoub, Leeds Refugee Forum
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