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Floors caving in, living with damp and mould, being told to return to violent ex-partners. 

These are some of the stories we heard from people with lived experience of no recourse to public funds (NRPF) as they attempted to access support for accommodation in the United Kingdom during a joint evidence session of the APPG on No Recourse to Public Funds, (which Just Fair provides co-secretariat for) and the APPG on Temporary Accommodation last month.

People subject to NRPF are ineligible for mainstream benefits, homelessness support, interim accommodation, temporary housing, and the allocation of social housing, such as council and housing association properties. 

Victims of domestic abuse with NRPF often struggle to access refuge spaces as refuge beds are generally paid for by Universal Credit, which is a public fund. 

While some people with NRPF are entitled to accommodation and financial support from local authority social care services (including families with children who are ‘in need’ under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 and adults who require assistance under the Care Act 1), the provision of accommodation from social care services is not regulated by the same or similar statutory guidance as mainstream homelessness support. Consequently, the standard of the accommodation is unregulated and often of poor quality, resulting in health inequalities and poor outcomes for children and people with care needs. 

We heard from people with lived experience of NRPF about the reality of these poor conditions, with children having no safe places to play and sudden changes in accommodation resulting in a move of school and doctor, irrespective of the needs or preferences of the children. 

We heard from NGOs about their struggles to support people, not only in terms of accommodation, but also the trauma these systems have caused for the people that interact with them. We heard from a lawyer about the impact the Hostile Environment creating an environment of ‘routine and casual cruelty’.  

Finally, we also heard hopeful news from Manchester City Council where they are trying to do things differently, to give families more stability and dignity. There is a need now for more of these positive examples, the families with NRPF deserve better homes and better lives. 

The full session can be viewed here and notes can be read here.

Image by pch.vector