The worldwide known Brexit is infamously known for all its impacts on important sectors such as international politics or economics. However, one circumstance is particularly controversial among European nationals: the new UK entering and settlement policies. Aside from being criticized for its impact on Erasmus exchange program and immigration, those new policies might also directly impact the homelessness in the United Kingdom.
In the UK, and especially in London, more than half of the rough sleepers’ population are EU nationals or foreigners. Until Brexit, many policies were taking place in the UK to ensure security and shelter to any homeless people needing help. However, the fresh settlement policies erased those past rights and imply now new administrative procedures which are not necessary thought for non-British homeless people.
First, it is to consider that the application is held online as it is realised through the “ID Document Check” app from the UK government, but in fact, more than 35% of the homeless people in the country have no access to any mobile device or Internet connection, and 60% have to use public infrastructures to access a computer. Furthermore, if any homeless people find the courage to reach a UK official to pursue their applications, there are still facing rough challenges in the documentation required to apply. Homeless people that want to obtain the precious status will have to prove information such as the date they arrived in the territory, a recent proof of residence or a National Insurance number. Then, the consequences are that it is uncertain about the future of those homeless people trying to find help in the UK, they may find themselves without any access to services and support that they are currently relying on, or in the worst case, be asked to return to their countries. The repercussions are not only on the rough sleepers but also on small business that were actively helping this community as for instance the different hostels that were working from House Benefiting which will not be able to welcome EU nationals homeless.
As an answer to all those harsh measures, many associations are making a step forward to change the situation and ensure security to all rough sleepers in the UK. Crisis, the UK national charity for homeless people is actively launching fundraisings aiming to assist immigrants’ people on their way to access pre-settled status. The philanthropy has announced as of 15 February 2021 a raise of £233,000 for frontline organisations to support people rough sleeping in London with accessing immigration advice. Those charities are all working to reduce the vulnerability of any foreign homeless in the UK, vulnerability which appeared alongside the Brexit policies.