Charity helped deport asylum seekers

Homeless man and helper

Leading homelessness charity under fire for assisting Home Office 

6th March 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

An English homelessness charity worked with the Home Office to target rough sleeping asylum seekers and deport them.

St Mungo’s, one of the largest providers of homelessness outreach services in the UK, admitted it cooperated with the Home Office immigration compliance and enforcement (Ice) teams looking for rough sleepers who are in the UK illegally.

Asked about its work with the Home Office, St Mungo’s said some of its contracts with local authorities specified that it should work with Ice teams. “I get why that can be seen as strange and unpopular for some people,” said Petra Salva, the charity’s director of rough sleeping services. “It’s a difficult climate we’re operating in.”

While St Mungo’s says it no longer goes out with Ice teams, it continues to cooperate with the Home Office.

The revelation drew criticism from other homelessness charities.

Crisis, one of the UK’s leading homelessness charities, previously stated: “If it is true that people are avoiding help from outreach teams for fear of encountering the Home Office, then these people will become more vulnerable, not less.”

And the North East London Migrant Action group said: “The role of homelessness charities should be to uphold the rights of vulnerable people.

“St Mungo’s have forfeited the trust of asylum seekers and other migrants who sleep rough by working with the Home Office who have people deported from the UK.

“Our advice to the rough sleepers we support will be to think twice about engaging with commissioned outreach services and, where possible, to seek help instead from independent charities.”

The Home Office uses various methods to remove people considered to have no right to be in the UK.

These include encouraging migrants to return home voluntarily, sometimes with a package of support, and enforced removal for those who will not leave willingly.