Non UK people sleeping rough – how St Mungo’s works with them and other agencies

14 May 2018

It has been reported today in the Guardian that a complaint has been made about St Mungo’s to the Charities Commission and the Information Commissioners Office.

The article also states that St Mungo’s works with Home Office ICE teams, citing information from a recent FOI request and an unofficial internal document from St Mungo’s.

Our response to the Guardian was:

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “We question the accuracy of the FOI response from Brent. We haven’t heard from the Information Commissioner or the Charity Commission but will respond if they contact us. We take all complaints very seriously.

“Our policy is that we do not share information about individuals with the Home Office, except when an individual has given their consent, or in situations where people are at significant risk to themselves or someone else. We think leaving a vulnerable person to die on the streets is unacceptable, which is why we work with various agencies to support people away from the streets and on with their lives.”

A summary of how St Mungo’s works with non-UK nationals sleeping rough

People who aren’t from the UK may not be entitled to benefits, resulting in complex situations with no access to housing or support services. This, in turn, can result in long term rough sleeping.

Our first response for people in this situation is always an offer of help and support. This means ensuring people are signposted to legal advice to understand their rights and entitlements, and helping them, where possible, to realise their aspirations by taking up options in the UK like work and housing.

Where this is not possible, St Mungo’s has a range of other services including a supported reconnection to access treatment and housing options in the person’s home country.

Judicial Review

On 14 December 2017 the High Court ruled that Home Office policy on removal of EEA nationals for sleeping rough was unlawful.

Since 14 December 2017 St Mungo’s outreach teams have not been present during any Home Office Immigration Compliance and Enforcement (ICE) operations.

Before this ruling, we were asked by some of those commissioning our services to be present during some ICE operations as part of a multi-agency response, which we did not simply to meet the needs of commissioners but also very much to provide support to vulnerable people.

Sharing information with the Home Office and resolving immigration issues

Our policy is that we do not share information about individuals with the Home Office, except when an individual has given their consent, or in situations where people are at significant risk to themselves or someone else.

We run a number of services that help people resolve their immigration status. That means working with the Home Office – with the person’s consent – when people haven’t got documentation.

We actively support people who are non UK nationals, for example, through the Routes Home service that we run on behalf of the Mayor of London.

St Mungo’s is currently providing a safe place to stay for around 50 people who have no access to benefits or statutory services in the UK. We hope to expand our capacity to help more in that situation, who would otherwise be sleeping rough while a decision on their immigration status and entitlements is resolved.

We think leaving a vulnerable person to die on the streets is unacceptable.