Will the homeless refugees spend Christmas on the streets? That is the question everyone would love to have an answer to after the Big Issue revealed earlier this year that the number of refugees without a shelter had increased threefold.

According to their data, Britain is currently seeing an uptick in the number of homeless refugees, reaching as high as 1,500 in the period from August to October 2023—three times higher than the same time last year.

Local authorities at the moment are also finding it ‘impossible’ to find them a place to live.

Cause behind spike in homeless refugees

The culprit behind the grim statistic was pinpointed to be the changes in the practices of the home office. According to the charities, the drastic changes in August meant that the refugees were only given a grace period of 7 days instead of 28 days to vacate their accommodations.

Director Bridget Young of NACCOM, an organization that aims to help refugees, didn’t shy away from giving her opinion and said that while it is critical for them to transition from hotel accommodations into community-based housing, “evicting them into homelessness” was not the solution. According to her, the step can only be accomplished with  “time, consideration, and the right support.”

She also urged the government to collaborate with the volunteer sector and local governments to ensure that homeless refugees receive enough and timely assistance.

Refugee Council’s senior policy analyst, Kama Petruczenko, was equally alarmed by the spike, claiming that the asylum system is forcing the refugees into poverty.

Petruczenko also stated that the council, along with other charities and organizations, has asked for the grace period to be extended to at least 56 days in order to provide local authorities with ample time to intervene and provide the necessary support for the refugees.

Home office refutes allegations

A spokesperson from the home office, however, thwarted the notion that only a week is being given to the refugees before they are released from their accommodations and that the ‘28-day’ grace period is still active.

The spokesperson also said that Migrant Help and their partners give them support and help on how to access Universal Credit, the labour market, and directives on where to get assistance with housing. 

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