Nottingham Arimathea Trust provides housing and support for people who have had their first claim for asylum refused.
There are hundreds of homeless people and families in this position in the East Midlands. In the five years leading up to 2008, 77,000 people were refused asylum from countries that were described by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as ‘major countries of concern’. They are not allowed to work or claim benefits. This group are not here, ‘to take our houses, jobs and benefits’ because they have little or no access to such things. They remain here simply to try to save their lives. These people have ‘chosen’ destitution because they fear that their lives will be in danger if they are forced to return to their homecountries. The Communities and Local Government Department publishes quarterly homelessness statistics. However, destitute asylum seekers do not appear in these figures even though there are many more of them than of UK homeless. The destitute asylum seeker population is usually invisible. Statistically it does not exist. We ensure that everyone we house has adequate legal representation so they can work toward submitting fresh claims for asylum and, from there, access temporary Asylum Support housing. We help people find medical support, volunteering opportunities and English classes so they can improve their day-to-day lives and develop skills whilst they are working on asylum claims. Everyone moving into Nottingham Arimathea Trust accommodation has the opportunity to work with a volunteer befriender or mentor, someone they can meet with regularly to get to know Nottingham, practice shared interests and English language with or who can help make phone calls to solicitors, support groups, doctors etc