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Asylum seeker lock change evictions blocked by court

Asylum seekers in Glasgow have been given a temporary reprieve over evictions.

Asylum seekers: Lock change evictions blocked by court.
Asylum seekers: Lock change evictions blocked by court. STV

A court has temporarily blocked a move to evict asylum seekers in Glasgow.

Around 130 court actions concerning proposed lock-changes by Serco have been put on hold or continued meaning clients in all those cases have been protected.

Another handful of cases were dismissed, as asylum support had been reinstated for those clients.

The news that Scottish law will protect "a highly vulnerable and traumatised community" has been welcomed by a refugee and migrant homeless charity.

Positive Action in Housing say around 60 or 70 asylum seekers have been staying in the homes of "generous" Glaswegians with spare rooms to offer at no cost to the state.

Director Robina Qureshi, said: "This is a welcome decision for now.

"Our caseworkers worked tirelessly round the clock in collaboration with Glasgow lawyers to block Serco from embarking on its lock-change programme since it was recommenced in June 2019.

"Since June 2019, we have directly assisted 102 men and women from 26 different countries of origin.

'We welcome the fact that around 130 people are protected by Scotland law from rogue actions by Serco trying to turn a highly vulnerable and traumatised community onto the streets of Glasgow, with no recourse.'
Robina Qureshi.

"We worked to make fast track referrals to solicitors to secure interim interdicts. We also provided advice, casework challenges to Serco, community hosting and crisis grants to those left without support.

"Some people did decide to give up their accommodation under pressure and either went to stay with friends or went down South.

"But this is a temporary reprieve , as we still await a Court of Session appeal decision against summary evictions by lock changes.

"That decision defines what happens next in Glasgow, and it provides hope for those campaigning for refugee housing rights across the UK.

"In the meantime, we welcome the fact that around 130 people are protected by Scotland law from rogue actions by Serco trying to turn a highly vulnerable and traumatised community onto the streets of Glasgow, with no recourse.

"Asylum seekers are vulnerable because they are unlikely to have access to homelessness accommodation that the rest of us can expect as a basic right.

"When your street homeless, without support of any kind, you are trying to survive each day, not think about legal paperwork.

The suffering and stress caused by the threat of destitution is immense and often results in serious mental and physical health problems.

"It hurts our society too, because when society makes refugees destitute, it is delaying their path to resettlement and contributing as taxpayers of the future."

Anyone facing destitution can be referred to Room for Refugees for temporary free shelter by calling 0141 353 2220 or their caseworker can make a formal referral.

For more info visit roomforrefugees.com.

In 2017-18, Positive Action in Housing provided emergency crisis support and shelter to 1,400 asylum seeking families and individuals.

The charity are now appealing for more volunteers to come forward to offer a spare room in their home, or an empty property.

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