Action Housing started in February 2006 when one Iranian man was destitute and in desperate need of accommodation. Our response to his situation grew into a project which houses the most vulnerable asylum seekers in Newcastle.
Action Housing provides accommodation for destitute asylum seekers with no recourse to public funds, (sometimes known as failed asylum seekers). Men and women who came to the UK seeking safety from persecution in their home country but who have since been refused protection by our government. Despite this, many cannot return home leaving people in limbo with no support and no-where to live.
Through Action Housing we are currently supporting 13 destitute asylum seekers across 4 properties in Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland. Since 2006 we have provided safe and secure accommodation to 56 vulnerable beneficiaries.
Our residents’ home countries have profound human rights abuses, restrictions on basic freedoms, unjust detentions without trial and regimes that use violence as a form of control.
Once our government refuses to protect these people, they are not allowed to work or claim benefits and have no access to homeless accommodation. Many individuals are forced to sleep rough or depend on already overstretched friends. Many women are forced into prostitution. Research by Julian Prior (Action Foundation CEO) in 2005/6 estimated the number of destitute asylum seekers to be 300+ people in Newcastle alone.
Many other organisations (including Amnesty International, British Red Cross, Oxfam and the Salvation Army to name a few) have raised grave concerns about the treatment of asylum seekers in the UK.
In 2008/9 Julian Prior chaired a working group on this issue on behalf of the political think tank called The Centre for Social Justice, started by Iain Duncan Smith MP. You can read this report ’Asylum Matters – Restoring trust in the UK Asylum System’ here.
Our hope is that through raising awareness and campaigning we will see an end to destitution amongst asylum seekers. However, until that happens we will continue to accommodate as many people as we can.
"Your service is very good. I feel comfortable because I know that if something happens, I have somewhere to go. For the past few years I have been running around from place to place. Now, I feel safe and comfortable in your house. Many of the other places I have lived before have been very dirty and badly looked after but this house is very clean and nice."
"We value highly the co-operative working arrangement with Action Housing in supporting destitute asylum seekers. When a client is given accommodation with Action Housing, WERS sees an immediate and significant improvement."