COVID-19 has had wide-reaching effects on those who have fled persecution or conflict and sought sanctuary here in the UK. Many have been separated from loved ones and become isolated, without
access to a support network of family and people they can trust. They can face barriers to accessing housing, employment and public services due to language difficulties and a lack of information and
understanding about their basic rights. Many of the people The British Red Cross supports in this situation are struggling to meet their basic needs, living in destitution and at risk of homelessness, exploitation and abuse.
In these unprecedented times, relationships with individuals relying on community members or friends can become strained and break down. And at a time when Government advice is to stay at home, many are facing homelessness and some have complex health conditions that require them to remain in quarantine.
The Red Cross Refugee Service works to relieve the effects of destitution, giving people information about their rights and helping them access support. This service is usually deliver this face-to-face, through dropins or appointments, with practical support helping to meet basic needs, including food parcels, clothing and small amounts of emergency cash.
At the onset of the crisis all offices had to be closed and all face-to-face appointments cancelled. The outbreak intensified existing difficulties - those vulnerable became more at risk of serious complications should they catch the virus, and existing problems such as social isolation or destitution becoming all the more stark.