top of page

We believe in...

DIGNITY

CHOICE

JUSTICE

We give direct cash payments to people who have been forced into destitution because of their immigration status. Direct payments allow people the dignity to choose and live more equally.

 

The Migrant Destitution Fund shouldn't have to exist, but until everyone in Greater Manchester is able to earn an income or receive state support, we have to.

WHAT IS THE MIGRANT DESTITUTION FUND GM?

The Migrant Destitution Fund supports people who are made destitute as a result of their immigration status. This policy, which is a central part of the hostile environment, bans people from working or accessing mainstream benefits and housing assistance. The policy affects people whose asylum claims have been refused and whose support has been stopped, as well as others without leave to remain in the UK, such as people who came on a spousal visa whose relationships have ended. 

"I was able to call my family. The first time! It made me cry"

Ruvimbo, asylum seeker, destitute for 7 years

Painting of Ruvimbo from Afrocats.org

Many of those accessing the fund will eventually win the right to remain, to work and to access public funds, but it is a long process and in the meantime it traps people in destitution. Others are granted leave to remain but are still denied access to public funds, leaving them without any safety net. A significant proportion of those accessing the fund over the last year have become destitute when they lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fund aims to restore dignity and empower people forced into these degrading situations by Home Office policy. are some of the most marginalised people in our society. The cost-of-living crisis is significantly exacerbating the challenges faced by those living in destitution.

The Fund provides grants of £80 once a month. These grants are typically spent on food, winter clothing, phone credit, travel costs (e.g. to crucial legal or medical appointments), dental treatment. We recognise that £80 does not solve all of the problems that recipients experience. Ultimately, we can’t achieve justice while the hostile environment persists. But the fund does provide a lifeline when people need it most.

For updates on our work and upcoming events go to our news page and follow us on Twitter.

male asylum seeker

"it meant I could submit my application for appeal just in time. I couldn't have done that without this. [The Fund] stops people having to put themselves in unsafe situations to get money."

WHY DO WE GIVE CASH?

We give people cash payments instead of 'gifts in kind'. First, cash allows the person to buy what they really need and what meets their requirements. Food bank parcels by contrast often don't meet cultural or religious needs. If an individual has an emergency or unexpected expense, they have access to cash to to use for this. Or if contacting their family is their most pressing need then they can choose to spend their money on phone credit. Ultimately it is their choice, the same as others have choice in how they live. Secondly, providing someone with cash reduces some of the stigma associated with other handouts. See our stories page to see how our cash grants have helped people.

WHO OVERSEES THE FUND?

The fund is run in partnership between Macc and volunteers the Migration and Destitution Action Group, which initially formed as part of the Manchester Homeless Partnership in 2017.

In November 2023 we appointed our first paid post, the MDF Partnership Lead, devoted to driving forward the fund's strategic work. This post sits within Macc's Collaboration Team. 

Applications are checked for duplication by an administrator provided by Macc and shared with a panel twice a week for approval. The panel is made up of two people with lived experience of destitution, and two people who work with groups supporting people who are destitute, including the new Partnership Lead. Decisions are made according to whether people match our simple eligibility criteria - if people are eligible, they receive the grant, and there is no limit on the number of times they can apply.

All donations or grant funds made to the Migrant Destitution Fund are held by Macc as restricted funding. Partners will be asked by Macc to complete straightforward checks prior to registering and making their first application.

WHO DO WE SUPPORT?

The fund supports people made destitute by their immigration status across Greater Manchester.

In 2020 Citizens Advice reported:

  • Nearly 1.4 million people in the UK have no recourse to public funds (NRPF)

  • Burden of restrictions falls on Black or Asian people, or people from other minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME)

  • Number of people seeking advice on no recourse to public funds has doubled during pandemic

True figures of those with NRPF in Greater Manchester are unknown as many go unrecorded. What we do know:

  • 105 individuals with NRPF were recorded as staying in night shelters during the first phase of the GM ‘A Bed Every Night’ initiative between 1 Nov 2018 and 31 March 2019. 

  • 18% of rough sleeping in Manchester according to these figures were for people with NRPF, which suggests there could be 20-50 destitute migrants rough sleeping every night.

  • Over 200 people are on the waiting list for Manchester based charity Boaz Trust's accommodation for those with NRPF.

OUR IMPACT

We support hundreds of people across Greater Manchester. For the period between April 2020 until Jan 2021 when we last reviewed statistics:

Total grants made
606
Total individuals
249
Funds distributed
£47,405

Go to our stories page to read more about the experiences of those we support and the impact the fund has on their lives

LISTEN

This podcast was created with The Elephant Trail Project. Listen to hear more about the people we support, their ambitions to work, their struggles with the impact of NRPF on their mental health, and the need to make the Migrant Destitution Fund available to more people.

bottom of page