Our services have changed drastically over the last few weeks, our drop-in has closed, and ongoing casework is on hold.
We prioritised homeless work last week, and were busy after the news that the council were assisting all people, including those with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).
We managed to get two women offered accommodation with 'Spring Housing'. We have supported a pregnant woman who had NRPF, but now has acquired EU settled status, to get temporary Council accommodation. We also managed a delivery of food to our partner project - the CMWH, and referred them a destitute woman who they housed.
We have achieved 17 essential deliveries to women or families last week consisting mainly of nappies, milk, pasta, rice, oil, tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. We were unable to supply the many requests for hand wash and flour but did manage to get some hygiene and cleaning materials out. The number of requests for help is rising, and we delivered 10 parcels today.
We also delivered two baby packs with the support of Birmingham KARIS Neighbour Scheme Baby Bank, consisting of Baby baths, Moses baskets, maternity pads, nappies, clothes and other useful things. We also had help from St Chads who gave us nappies/wipes for a mum and a food pack for another woman.
We have linked into the Junk Food Storehouse at Winston Green, who gave us essentials to distribute to people, coupled with a donation from the Meena Centre that allowed us to buy other essential items.
We have three deliverers, along with six of us calling around to people finding out just what they need. Advocates are doing a fantastic job contacting our woman and even when they do not need essentials the woman really appreciate the check in making sure they are ok.
We are trying to keep up with the policy and operational COVID-19 groups, and there's been a lot of useful policies we are now able to use. For example the stopping of evictions in asylum support: one woman last week faced eviction today, with the support of DPG Law in London, and a quick section 4 application to transfer from section 95, we now have the news her eviction is suspended until future notice.
We have delivered some emergency grants to women who have NRPF who are being accommodated by friends. Happily Hope Projects has increased our grant claimable by £100, so we can claim this money back.
We need to fundraise more, but are happy to have been approached by the Lichfield Quakers, and Help Refugees who will keep our emergency essentials up and running. Funding is vital as we received today a new referral from a Health Visitor to help a family with a premature baby, who are in section 4 asylum support, struggling to pay to visit the hospital due to section 4 vouchers, they have no equipment for the baby.