EU homeless rights lab (2021-2023)

PILC has secured funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust to to monitor the rights of EU citizens at risk of destitution after Brexit through a new EU homeless rights lab.

The rights lab will:

  • monitor, promote and defend the human and social rights of EU citizens at risk of destitution
  • advance a critical, rights-based approach to support for this group within the homelessness and migration sectors, local government and beyond
  • amplify the voices of both EU citizens at risk of destitution and the community and grassroots groups and organisations campaigning for their rights

This work builds upon PILC’s EU homeless rights project (2018-21), set up with a grant from the Oak Foundation in 2018. The aim of this project was to monitor and defend the rights of homeless European Economic Area (EEA) nationals in the context of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (EU) and policies aimed at deporting EU rough sleepers.

The project initially focused on developing strategic legal challenges to law, policies and practices infringing the rights of vulnerable EU citizens and supporting the homelessness sector to adopt a rights- and social justice-based approach to work with this group. Between 2018 and 2020 we ran a telephone advice line for homeless EU citizens and those supporting them. We also offered second-tier advice to frontline organisations and ran regular outreach sessions. In 2019-2020 PILC employed a dedicated worker supporting homeless EU citizens to navigate the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

As the project developed, we undertook an increasing amount of research and advocacy around the rights of homeless EU citizens. We have led efforts to secure equal treatment for destitute migrants during Covid-19, coordinating advocacy to local and central government. In August 2020, we co-authored a research report into local-authority support for non-UK nationals during the pandemic.

An advocacy report, based on advice, casework and research undertaken through the project, was published in summer 2021.