A crowdfunded housing scheme in Brighton is one of several community efforts to support Britain’s newest arrivals
Over a year since the launch of a crowdfunded housing scheme to support migrants in Brighton, more than 200 people have set up standing orders of at least £1 a month. Brighton Migrant Solidarity (BMS) launched Thousand 4 £1000 in August 2015 to help house migrants unable to access other support. Organisers also held local fundraising events. The donations currently pledged cover rent and a £25 weekly income for three people. Once the £1,000 a month target is reached, the project will expand.
Ahmed, originally from east Africa, is among the many migrants in housing limbo. After legally working at various times during the 16 years he has been in the UK, his visa has again expired. With no promise of a renewal, he is unable to work and ineligible for government housing support. He spent two years homeless in Brighton, but thanks to the ‘micro donations’ from Brighton residents, he has now moved into safe accommodation. “I laugh now, I didn’t laugh before,” he said. “I was starting to feel like everyone was bad.”
Jacob Berkson from BMS said the refugee crisis, which escalated in mid 2015, created a tipping point. “Suddenly there was money and people willing to put the effort in.”