Refugee Council urges government to extend move-on period to 56 days, as refugee homelessness soars

‘We know what the solutions to the refugee homelessness crisis are – it’s high time political leaders started implementing them.’


The number of newly acknowledged refugees being evicted from Home Office accommodation and left homeless in England soared by 239% in just two years, according to new data released by the Refugee Council.

The report shows that in the two years to the end of September 2023, 12,630 households in England faced homelessness after eviction from accommodation provided by local authorities.

The Keys to the City 2024: ending refugee homelessness in London report lays bare the harsh realities of the government’s refugee policy. Having just 28 days to secure housing before facing eviction after being granted refugee protection by the Home Office, has been deemed “insufficient” and puts refugees at high risk of homelessness and destitution.

The report also found that 97 percent of refugees which approached the Refugee Council’s own Private Rented Scheme in London during the 2022 – 2023 period became homeless. In 2023, two in five of these refugees became street homeless, a rise of 75 percent from the previous year.   

The report sets out a number of recommendations for the government and the next mayor of London, to solve the rising homelessness crisis among newly-recognised refugees. The recommendations include extending the move-on period to at least 56 days, in-line with Universal Credit application and Homelessness Reduction Act timelines.

The charity is also urging the government to list the Home Office as a body with a legal duty to refer individuals and families at risk of becoming homeless to local authorities. The Refugee Council also wants to see a nine-month grace period introduced on the benefit cap for new refugees, and for all documentation to be issued on the same day.

The report calls for the next London mayor to create a refugee tenancy deposit fund, and for tenancy training and support to be provided for new refugees.

Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, described the current 28-day move-on period as ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘completely unrealistic.’

“The process refugees go through when granted status is setting them up to fail from the very start. A mere 28 days to get on their feet and find a private tenancy with no income and no savings is completely unrealistic. This dysfunctional system is causing an entirely avoidable crisis of homelessness and destitution. 

“People who have fled unimaginable horrors deserve to be given a fair chance to properly rebuild their lives with dignity when granted refugee status, instead of being left to become homeless.  

“We know what the solutions to the refugee homelessness crisis are – it’s high time political leaders started implementing them,” Solomon added.

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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