6. Annex B: Actions
6.1 Essential Needs
1. We are piloting a Hardship Fund to support people with NRPF across Scotland who are facing crisis situations. Crisis funds will be accessed via a cash distribution network of local organisations, providing people subject to NRPF with wider advice and support and offering critical help for people facing destitution. The project also involves bringing together a community of practice, with a view to improving coordination of support and developing a model of case work provision alongside hardship grants, to help support people out of destitution in the longer term. The pilot is being delivered by the British Red Cross as part of the winter package of support responding to COVID-19, receiving £180,000 until 31 March 2021 and anticipated to reach 400 people across Scotland. Discussions on how we can build on learning from the pilot and extend the project into 2021-22 are underway. Importantly, the project will capture data to inform the potential development of a longer term model of provision.
2. We will improve dignified access to culturally appropriate food, in line with the dignity principles outlined in Dignity: Ending Hunger Together. We will work to increase access to cash as the most dignified response to food insecurity, as well as to improve the quality, coordination and awareness of food provision for people impacted by NRPF. Through this, we will be taking forward recommendations from Govan Community Project’s Food Insecurity Participatory Action Research project, including their call for improved links between community food projects and specialist retailers.
3. We will contribute to the ambition of ending homelessness and specifically support actions relating to people with NRPF and destitute asylum seekers, as set out in the Ending Homelessness Together action plan. This includes work to support the development of a five year delivery plan by the Everyone Home Collective on the ‘route-map’ to end destitution. This work, which is led by a partnership of third sector and academic organisations across Scotland, will seek to scale-up community-based accommodation provision and holistic support to meet the needs of an estimated 300-500 people with NRPF who are not entitled to local authority housing or homelessness services.
4. We will strengthen provision of financial assistance and wider local authority support to destitute families with children and vulnerable adults. There are two parts to this action: a. COSLA will convene a working group and establish an evidence base on NRPF support needs and the costs to local authorities of providing assistance under their statutory safeguarding duties; and
b. The Scottish Government will work with COSLA to develop and agree future funding and delivery models in line with the vision and principles of this strategy.
5. We will update guidance and training to support local authority provision of services to people with NRPF. We will deliver further training to officers working in local authorities and launch a new online learning module. We will also provide training to third sector organisations to support understanding of local authority duties and responsibilities and encourage partnership working.
6. We will improve access to primary health services, including by working with Public Health Scotland and other partners to address health inequalities experienced by people subject to NRPF, translating Health Access Cards and promoting to NHS staff the right to access healthcare for migrants and people seeking asylum.
7. We will improve access to mental health services for adults and children with NRPF by working to better understand the barriers and to collectively agree the practical actions that can be taken by local authorities, the Scottish Government and the NHS. We will also work to inform forthcoming work on mental health service renewal.
6.2 Advice and Advocacy
8. We will invest in the provision of diagnostic legal advice delivered in partnership with advocacy support for people subject to NRPF, including expanding the geographical reach outside Glasgow.
9. We will increase access to specialist immigration advice to support local authorities assisting people with NRPF. This will help support especially vulnerable groups and complex cases, as well as building local capacity and strengthening local service design. It will also collect data to strengthen the national evidence base on immigration advice needs.
10. We will extend financial support to people subject to NRPF where that is possible to do so, on the same basis. We will explore opportunities to ensure people are included in any new benefits developed through the extended social security powers. While these powers are limited, any new benefits should be made equally available to everyone living in our communities where possible.
11. We will ensure that employability support is accessible for people subject to NRPF who have permission to work. We will improve understanding of the employability support needs of people with NRPF to strengthen the pathways and approach of No One Left Behind.
12. We will contribute to development of the next Race Equality Action Plan to ensure that it takes into account the challenges faced by people with NRPF and explore what further action can be taken to ensure no one faces destitution.
13. We will work with people with lived experience of destitution and NRPF to continue to inform and shape the strategy during implementation. This will include supporting opportunities for people to participate meaningfully in policy development and service design at national and local level.
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