‘The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.’Psalm 9:9
West Yorkshire Destitute Asylum Network (WYDAN) aims to improve the support provided to destitute asylum seekers and ultimately, to see destitution end. We meet around four times a year, with a particular focus on improving access to essential services like legal support, healthcare, and accommodation. This year we are developing links with NACCOM (‘No Accommodation’), to look at accommodation and other associated provision for people with no recourse to public funds in West Yorkshire and Humberside. We are also involved in the Leeds Homeless Charter Migration and Homelessness Working Group (see tomorrow’s entry).
In October 2018, the WYDAN night shelter for destitute asylum seekers opened for the fourth year running and has operated at near capacity, with around ten men being accommodated each night. We now have host church congregations and groups available until May and realistic prospects of getting enough to keep the shelter going all year round.
One volunteer told us:
“I wanted to let you know what a wonderful experience it was for me to be a small part of the Night Shelter. I realized very quickly that what I THOUGHT I understood about the plight of these wonderful human beings was only a fraction of what their lives are really like!
I got to know the guests very well by the end of the week, to the point that I felt I was saying goodbye to special friends. You all do amazing work and I thank God every day for you.”
Please pray for:
· increased provision of the legal support necessary for asylum seekers to make effective claims and appeals
· changes to law and policy that mean that no-one is left destitute
· the financial resources and hosts needed to keep the Night Shelter running all year round.
We are thankful:
· that we are in a more stable financial position this year, enabling us to plan ahead more effectively
· for all of the amazing asylum, refugee and migrant organisations in Leeds, who work so hard to support and stand for those who are marginalised.