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.
Please consider making a donation by clicking on the logo below
Ali Mahgoub, Leeds Refugee Forum
Read a full report of The Hardship Fund’s activities in 2019-20 here
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