Migrant support charter – the migrants’ pledge
Housing associations across the UK are being urged to sign a pledge to demonstrate their support to migrants at a major conference next month. Thirty associations have already agreed to the three-point promise, which is a platform to provide fair treatment for migrants. At the recent Cohesion event held at the Macron Stadium on 16th July 2018, John Delahunty reminded a packed room of delegates about the difference a supportive environment could provide to such a vulnerable group of people. The Pledge provide a framework of support that all housing organisations can sign up to, from a very basic level to a more complex level.
The pledge, backed by the National Housing Federation and BMENational, was initially launched at the Migrants’ Access to Housing Conference (MAHC), in London on June 20 2017.
The existing signatories house over 18,000 people, including people who are migrants or refugees, but the campaign aims to get as many housing associations as possible across the UK to sign.
They have all agreed to:
• Provide a safe and welcoming environment to migrants seeking someone they can trust.
• Train staff and board members so that they are able to be informed advocates for vulnerable migrants.
• Engage with staff, communities and partners to increase understanding of the issues facing migrants and to break down prejudice.
John Delahunty, Chief Executive of Innisfree HA, an Irish roots organisation based in London, has been leading the pledge’s development and Innisfree is co-organising the MAHC with Arhag and migrant support charity Praxis.
We believe the migrant and refugee communities in the UK are facing their toughest challenges for years and housing associations, who have a long tradition of providing housing and support to new communities, are needed now more than ever.
John Delahunty said: “The Pledge came about at the suggestion of a group of Chairs of BME Housing Associations in London. They wanted to make a positive statement about the values our organisations have – reaching back to the work that many of us were set up to do when we first formed.
“Many of the organisations interested in the Pledge are not large housing providers, but all are strong, financially sound community organisations. The Pledge doesn’t require the promise of a lot of resources; it does require the promise of our intent to do what we can to help. If we can trigger a response from housing associations around the country of all sizes, we will make a major difference to the lives of new communities.
“There are already amazing contributions being made by some organisations; we want to encourage more to do something similar.”
Cym D’Souza, Chair of BMENational, added: “BMENational fully supports the Pledge. In the complex pattern of world events today, it clearly expresses our vision of our members helping create successful, vibrant and integrated communities. Across the country we work alongside many other housing associations already having a huge positive impact and we would encourage them all to commit to the Pledge too.”