Women fleeing domestic violence desperately need emergency accommodation, support and protection. Those subject to the ‘no recourse to public funds’, because of their insecure immigration status (i.e. they are not UK residents) cannot access any form of emergency accommodation, including refuges, as they are not able to claim housing benefit, income support and other state benefit. They’re also prohibited from accessing any form of social housing through the local authority. The result is that they’re faced with stark choices: leave and face destitution, or stay and risk their lives.
In recognition of the plight of hundreds of women and children in this situation, Southall Black Sisters have with funds provided by London Councils and the charity Oxfam set up a small ‘last resort fund’ called the ‘SBS No Recourse Fund’ (SBS NRF). The fund will help accommodate and provide subsistence costs for a limited period. This will be for women who have experienced domestic violence, and have insecure immigration status. Funds will also help women who are victims of trafficking and prostitution.
Please note that the SBS No Recourse Fund is a last resort fund. The funds will only be open to non-governmental organisations. The overall funds available are limited and will only be released where the organisation makes a commitment to assist women to pursue other avenues of financial help. This includes legal proceedings against local authorities. The No Recourse Funds will not be released if organisations fail, during the period of NRF funding from SBS, to assist women to get alternative funding.
The No Recourse Fund will cover the costs of emergency accommodation and other basic living expenses to enable women and children to access places of safety, such as a refuge, pending more long-term arrangements for housing and living expenses. SBS can assist you through this process.
The fund will pay accommodation and subsistence costs of up to £30 per week for an adult and £10 per week for a child.
Please request an application pack, which sets out the criteria and conditions of eligibility in more detail. You can download the Application Packs from our website.
Please also feel free to contact SBS if you need advice and assistance in pursuing other sources of funding for women.
SBS will also be running training courses on domestic violence, immigration and no recourse in 2019. Details will be posted on our website and sent via email in the New Year.