Project 17, together with the University of Wolverhampton, the Public Interest Law Centre, ASIRT and Migrants' Rights Network, conducted a rapid research project on local authority responses to people with NRPF during the pandemic. The research was funded by the Paul Hamyln Foundation.
The research highlights systemic issues with access to support for people with NRPF and shows how provision varied considerably across England (most notably in the case of single adults with NRPF who would not normally be eligible for support but were included in the COVID-19 homelessness response) and even within individual local authorities.
Key findings include:
- There was a lack of information available for people with NRPF: Only 5 of the 151 local authorities in England had publicly-available NRPF policies which were accurate, up to date and contained referral contact details. More than 40 per cent of local authority websites did not contain any information at all about NRPF. Only 7 per cent of local authority websites surveyed in April had information on COVID 19- related support for people with NRPF. When the survey was repeated a month later, this number had increased to 12 per cent. 6 out of 10 organisations who responded to the call for evidence had not received updated information from their local authority since the start of the pandemic.
- Numbers of service users with NRPF who had COVID-19 symptoms were relatively small, but those who did have symptoms were particularly likely to die or become seriously ill: More than half of organisations that responded to the call for evidence knew of service users who had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Although most knew of relatively small numbers who were experiencing symptoms, of those who did, more than half had become seriously ill or died.
- People with NRPF struggled to access food, shelter and subsistence support during the pandemic: The most reported impact of the pandemic was not having enough food. More than 8 out of 10 organisations identified this as a concern for their service users. The most reported difficulty across all user groups was being refused support from the local authority. For those already accessing support, the most commonly experienced difficulty amongst children and families was inadequate accommodation for self-isolation. For adults with care needs, it was being unable to get in contact with the local authority. For homeless adults, the most commonly reported problem was having no provision made for their food or subsistence needs.
Read the full report here.