Currently KRAN is working with an increased number of young people who, once they are refused asylum, find themselves very swiftly discharged from social services care with the result that they have no means of supporting themselves and are facing destitution and homelessness.
In this situation young people have no recourse to public funds so they cannot access any benefits and are no longer looked after by the Local Authority so cease to have a social worker or be provided with housing. These young people are also forbidden from taking employment so cannot support themselves with any legitimate job. The young people have no option but to rely on food bank vouchers and charity.
Many of the young people fall through the gaps of statutory support between the point at which they are refused until they have gathered enough evidence to warrant submission of a fresh asylum claim. Once they have submitted a fresh claim or appealed the decision they can apply for support and accommodation from the Home Office, though this is often in the North of England in hard-to-let properties, meaning the life, support networks, religious community, and educational resources they have built up over their years in Kent are then prised away from them.
KRAN is therefore working with a number of charities to identify hosting arrangements across Kent for young people finding themselves without a place to stay and in addition has decided to set up a Destitution Fund to help young people with essential costs while they put together the evidence for a fresh claim.
This fund will help the young people most in need. Often these young people face numerous expenses beyond that of a regular destitute person as they must travel to London to sign at the immigration offices, attend GP appointments and continue going to college for as long as possible. (They will be charged higher rate overseas fees once they cease to be cared for by social services and subsequently will be forced to give up their college places.)
KRAN has agreed a strict set of policies, procedures and criteria to ensure that the destitution fund is used primarily for those most in need. An open register will be kept of all young people who need to access the funds, for what purpose and the amount, and most funds will be for short term emergency uses of under £25. Any regular payments agreed in the medium term will require additional evidence of need, and will not be paid in cash.
The current immigration process is extremely harsh and makes this group of young people even more vulnerable. For most we hope the situation will be temporary and KRAN wants to help the young people over this difficult period as best it can. The Destitution Fund will be a lifeline to these young people to ensure that they are offered support and a positive future.
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