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THE government’s immigration policies and Brexit are pushing more non-British citizens onto the streets, a charity for homeless people warned today as it prepares to launch a new campaign on the issue.
Speaking at a Labour conference fringe event hosted by left-wing think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research, Crisis stressed that homelessness cannot be tackled without ending rough sleeping among overseas citizens.
In areas such as London, people born outside Britain make up more than half of the homeless population.
Matt Downie from Crisis told delegates that there are formal and informal policies that act as barriers to migrants without legal status finding work and accessing housing, healthcare and rented property.
The charity’s new campaign, to be launched in November, will publicise the human impact of this issue, he said.
The institute’s Marley Morris spoke about research carried out by the think tank looking at a rise in homelessness among EU citizens in the past 18 months.
The study, whose results are due to be published next month, found that this group are more vulnerable to exploitative landlords and were more likely to lose their jobs during the Covid crisis.
Mr Morris said that homelessness is also driven by systematic issues and policies that prevent European Economic Area citizens who don’t have full settled status from accessing universal credit or local homelessness assistance.
“Because there are gaps in the our current social safety net, we found that people have ended up destitute and homeless because of these challenges,” he said.
On top of this, the government’s new immigration policies risk creating new forms of homelessness, Mr Morris warned.
Shadow immigration minister Bambos Charalambous said: “Be under no illusion, the cause of homelessness is a direct result of the hostile policies that [the government] introduced.”
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