SHP has joined a coalition of local councils, civic groups and charities who are calling on the Government to scrap plans to remove rough sleeping migrants from the UK simply because they are homeless.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and more than 25 organisations are supporting the campaign. Under the proposed legislation, migrant rough sleepers could have their leave to remain cancelled or refused, resulting in deportation. 

Many non-UK nationals have limited or no access to mainstream homeless support due to immigration-based exclusions from public funds. Without a safety net, they can easily fail into homelessness and destitution with little prospect of rebuilding their lives. In London, estimates suggest that nearly 60 per cent of the people sleeping rough may be in this situation.

As well as scrapping plans for deportation, the full letter sets out key proposals to support this particularly vulnerable group including the suspension of immigration-based exclusions from the benefit system during the pandemic and an introduction of measures to stop refugees and asylum seekers being pushed into homelessness.

Liz Rutherfoord, SHP’s CEO, said: “The Government has supported the Everyone In policy which provided rough sleepers with safe and secure accommodation, regardless of their nationality and welfare status.

“These proposed plans will reverse much of that good work undertaken by organisations across London, deterring hundreds of vulnerable people from seeking help in fear of deportation, putting them at greater risk of exploitation, destitution and infection from Covid-19.”

“The Government has a unique opportunity to ensure that hundreds of rough sleepers do not have to return to the streets.”

The letter also calls on the Government to fund self-contained, COVID-secure accommodation this winter in order to protect rough sleepers, after it was announced that night shelters would be re-opening over the next few weeks.