Unprecedented political instability and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa has led to the biggest movement of people across the globe since World War 2.
The distressing plight of refugees fleeing conflict and persecution from around the globe feels closer to home than ever, and the horrors faced by those desperate enough to brave whatever dangerous route they have chosen out of their home countries are sometimes unimaginable.
However, this hardship does not end once the perilous journey to the UK finishes, and even after being granted the right to stay, the spectre of homelessness is the reality for many who have been granted asylum. Of circa 17,000 people offered protection a year in the U.K, who have been granted refugee status, approximately 50% had slept rough, in a hostel or night shelter in the period after they were granted refugee status. This is an highly vulnerable position for anyone, let alone one already destitute, in a foreign country, with limited language ability and often having experienced substantial trauma before arriving.
The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, who monitors and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Home Office’s immigration, asylum, nationality and customs functions, reported in 2018 that on inspection of properties provided for asylum seekers, 43% overall were assessed as “not fit for purpose” or “urgent”.
Evidence submitted included poor property standards and frequent references to defects, damp, dirt and vermin.
Providing a roof over the head of a refugee is a vital step in their journey away from conflict and into independent living in the United Kingdom. The aim of the 2020 Initiative is to provide refugees., many of them vulnerable adults, with accommodation combined with support which enables mostly newly-arrived refugees with the ability to overcome their difficulties, learn new skills and prepare for independent living.
Support given is often based on live experience and deep cultural understanding; this cultural competence enables the 2020 Initiative to provide support for resettlement and integration by helping to develop key skills and build the social bridges that enable them to sustain tenancies and move on with their lives, including assistance in procuring finance and benefits, health issues, education, training and employment, cultural integration and social inclusion and access to independent permanent housing.