When there’s nowhere else to turn
Imagine being homeless, chronically ill, with a dependent child and no entitlement to any help at all.
This was the case for a mother and her 16-year-old son referred to the Oasis community team through Oasis Academy South Bank in London.
Their immigration status was ‘No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)’ which means they had no entitlement to welfare benefits, home office support for asylum seekers or to public housing.
The mother has a serious chronic health condition and was unable to work.
‘We provided some emergency food through our Foodbank,’ explains Oasis Community Worker, Felicity Maries. ‘We then helped her to negotiate support through the Council’s NRPF Team, who were able to provide one small room between the mother and son, and a small amount of subsistence.
‘Later we got in touch with the local MP, who applied to have the NRFP decision lifted. This was granted by the Home Office.’
Later Oasis staff and volunteers helped her find more permanent accommodation in a two-bedroom flat and to apply for various benefits and bus passes for her and her son.
‘We were also able to source a fridge and other items for the flat,’ says Felicity.
The lady and her son have gone from despair to living in their own home with benefits they are entitled to. She has since completed English and Maths NVQ Level 2 courses and is currently undertaking a Teaching Assistant qualification. Her son excelled in his GCSEs.