The Hassan Family

The Hassan Family

August 15th 2016

Dear Friends.

This letter is intended to be an update to Margaret’s letter of July 5th concerning the Kurdish refugee family which is here in Rushden.  It has been pointed out to me that it would be less impersonal if we knew the family name.  It is Hassan, the mother’s name is Roonak and the boys are Isa, Mohammad and Dhzwar.  So from now on I suggest that we speak about the Hassan family.

As was made clear in Margaret’s letter there was an immediate need for financial support for the rent of a house which was purchased for a Youth Supported Housing project but made available to the family in what was a crisis situation.  I am very pleased to report that during the last five weeks, we at Hope Methodist Church have raised a total of £969.05 which I have now passed on to the Full Gospel Church.  With Gift Aid the total will exceed £1000, a truly magnificent response.  Very many thanks to everyone who contributed.  The Full Gospel Church is very appreciative of our efforts and to be with them in this venture.  A receipt and short letter of thanks is on the noticeboard. 

The family has settled in well to being in Rushden, and whilst they have been nervous and tentative about going out and meeting people or going to places, they have been very happy to receive visitors and have begun to engage in a language study programme has been organised for them in Wellingborough every Friday.

On the official front they have had their asylum seekers paperwork all ratified and now have full ID and payments' cards for their subsidiary allowance (a bare minimum for them to buy food and personal items only).  It is less than £5 per day.  All other housing costs, bills and utilities etc. have to be covered from donations received. Mark Lees has been in communication with the local council as regards housing and council tax; they get no relief for being asylum seekers and cannot claim even discretionary support in any way.  In essence the state whilst recognising them as asylum seekers, does not provide any support above the minimum subsidiary allowance which is well below normal state benefits.  Mark has a form to apply to the council to minimise council tax payments and will be working on this.  But so far no bill for council tax has been received.

Nevertheless, recognition that they are asylum seekers is good news.  The next step is to actually apply for asylum.  They are given no help by the state in doing this but fortunately Mark has found a solicitor who will do the paperwork and represent them for free.  But it will still take several months. 

Recently the family received some official notification from the relocation section of the Visa and Immigration systems, saying they were going to forcibly relocate the family to one location and remove the oldest son only age 18 from his family and remove him to another location. This was challenged and appealed via the Home Office and they now acknowledge that this was an error and will not be carrying out this threat.  But as you can imagine it has been very disturbing for the family.

The priority at the moment therefore is to find a longer term solution to the accommodation problem so that the Home Office and their various agencies are not directly involved in this, with no options discussed, no consultation as to what is best for the family and to a location and type of hostel that may not be appropriate and with the threat of removing the eldest son at any stage in this process!

I hope that this update keeps everyone informed with developments and gives some guidance for future prayers.

Yours in Christ.


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