Alleviating poverty, bringing hope

In January 2022, Abasi came to NOAH with another of our service users. He looked frozen and was wearing only a light jacket. He said he had been sleeping in a car for the past few days, but the car had been towed away and now he had nowhere to sleep. Abasi kept telling us that he would die in this cold.

Abasi showed Project Worker Shenaz, a letter from the Home Office which stated he had no right to work, claim benefits, or rent accommodation. She was concerned as she knew from this letter that she would not be able to use the normal options to source him any accommodation.

She decided to use NOAH emergency funds to pay for a hotel for the night and made an appointment for him to come back the next day.

When Abasi came for his appointment, he shared how he had fled Egypt at the age of 19 due to his father having conflict with some people. He said they had thrown acid onto his father’s face which caused him to go blind, they had also threatened Abasi.

From Egypt he had fled to Libya, then to Italy, and then onto France. From France he entered the UK irregularly.

She asked how he had been surviving and he said he worked and stayed with friends, as well as sofa surfed. He then met a girl who had helped him with his immigration application and she had been dealing with the Home Office. Unfortunately his girlfriend’s father got sick and she had to leave, and he found himself on the streets once again.

After a few months he made a friend and moved in with him for around a year. However, the friend eventually married and Abasi couldn’t live in the home and was homeless again.

During Abasi’s appointment, Shenaz asked to look through all the letters he had ever received from the Home Office. She read them all, then came to a recent letter which stated, “Positive Reasonable Grounds of Modern Day Slavery”.

Abasi was confused by this letter and thought he had been denied stay. Shenaz called our partners at The Kings Arms Project for guidance, we gave them Abasi’s details and the NRM reference number which was on the letter.

They advised that Abasi had a case worker at the Salvation Army who had been trying to get in touch with him for a very long time. We all joined a video call and they said they would be able to arrange the accommodation he had been entitled to for over a year!

Laura at The Kings Arms got back in contact to say Abasi was now safe in his new accommodation. They thanked us for signposting him to them and said it was a massive relief and a very good outcome.

If NOAH project worker Shenaz had not encouraged Abasi to show her more letters, the outcome could have been very different.

Names have been changed and a stock image has been used for confidentiality.