Hope Projects spends quite a lot of money sending people to Liverpool. I resent this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great city. The Beatles, Kevin Keegan, the 3 Graces. The Liver Birds (not the vintage TV programme), The Liver Birds (OK, the vintage TV programme), A fantastic cafe called Kimo’s where they do you a salad with a fried egg on top. For breakfast. I mean, it’s got the lot. I’d be happy to spend money sending people who have had a rough time for a day out in one of the the Great Cities of Northern England. So why the resentment?
Hope, as you may have picked up by now, supports people made destitute by flawed refusals of asylum. And the asylum system has a provision for trying to address just this situation. If you have new evidence proving that something that was doubted at the initial hearing is fact true, or evidence that circumstances have changed since that decision (not uncommon occurrences) then you can make ‘further submissions’. If the Home Office accepts that this is serious evidence then it may be accepted as a fresh claim, which they will have to consider, and while they are considering it they will provide you with a house and in the region of £36 per week. That’s not great, but it beats street homelessness and it is the path to refugee status. If you’re interested in this process can I point you too Right to Remain’s excellent toolkit?
So why Liverpool? Well a couple of years ago the Home Office came up with a great whizz. Anyone who wished to make further representations, had to do so in person. Now that’s a bit of a pain, but as there are Home Office offices all round the country, it’s a low level one. So to raise the bar, they decided that everyone has to make further submissions in person in Liverpool. You can’t use your local office, or video link technology, or email, or that new fangled thing they call the’fax’ (do you think that will ever catch on?). And, of course, travel expenses are most definitely not paid. I always think it’s a bit like expecting everyone who needs a driving license to pop down to Swansea. Does that seem a good idea? Really?
Now think this one through. We’re talking about people who are destitute. That means they have no money. For food, never mind bus or rail fares. So how do they get to Liverpool? It’s almost as if it were designed to stop people exercising their legal right to seek protection. Imagine.
So every month Hope spends money sending between half a dozen and a dozen people to Liverpool without which they couldn’t exercise their basic legal rights. And I resent it.