Angela: settled in her home before Christmas
Angela was forced to flee her home country and arrived in the UK in 2017 to claim asylum. She was provided with Asylum Support whilst the Home Office considered her case. She became homeless in April 2018 when she was granted Refugee Status and evicted from her asylum accommodation.
Angela had nowhere to go. She was pregnant, did not speak English and had no family in the UK. She travelled to Greater Manchester to be close to her only friend.With the help of her friend she went to the Council to ask for help with accommodation but was repeatedly and unlawfully turned away.
Her friend arranged for her to sleep on the sofa of a friend, but the accommodation and environment was both unsuitable and unsafe. Angela’s midwife was very concerned and she as well as a local voluntary agency both wrote letters to the Council asking for urgent assistance.
In August 2018 the Council eventually provided her with Bed and Breakfast accommodation. However, the accomodation was outside the Council area and far away from her friend and support network. Then, after just two weeks, she was evicted because the Council decided that she had no local connection to their area and asked Angela to return to the area where she had been granted Refugee Status.
Angela was not able to move, as she was very close to her due date and had been booked into a Manchester Hospital with a specialist midwife. A move at such late stages of her pregnancy would have been risky both for her and her baby and she did not want to give birth without the support of her friend.
A local voluntary agency contacted Greater Manchester Law Centre for urgent legal advice. We contacted the Council to challenge the local connection decision and to request that accommodation be provided pending the Council’s review decision. The Council still refused to provide accommodation.
Following an urgent application to the High Court, a Judge ordered the Council to accommodate Angela in their area, whilst they reconsidered her local connection decision.
As a result of this court order, Angela was able to give birth to her little girl with the support her specialist midwife and her friend. Following the birth and our further review submissions the Council subsequently overturned their local connection decision and have now accepted a duty to provide Angela and her baby with long term accommodation in the area.
Angela is now looking forward to being settled in her new home before Christmas.
Angela gave her permission to share this story. Her name and details have been changed.