The asylum system can be very difficult to navigate, and it can be tricky to know what support you are eligible for. We have put together this resource for LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, to signpost you to specialist organisations who may be able to help.


Housing

If you have sought asylum in the UK but have not yet been granted refugee status then you are entitled to specific levels of support.

Asylum seekers usually are not permitted to work in the UK, and many need to rely on support from the Home Office. Housing is provided under this support, but asylum seekers usually do not get to choose where this is, or where they want to live.

If you are an asylum seeker in need of housing, or the housing you have been provided is unsafe or otherwise unsuitable, you need to call Migrant Help on 0808 801 0503. It can take a long time to get through, so be patient. Migrant Help also provide interpreters during phone calls so don’t be afraid to ask.

Once refugee status is granted, you will no longer be able to stay in your asylum accommodation. You will either need to find your own accommodation, or if you have nowhere to go you can make a homeless application. See Centrepoint’s resource on how to do this here.

Unsure what to do when you’re first granted refugee status? Check out Rainbow Migration’s resource on this here.

Other housing providers and support:

Micro Rainbow offer safe housing for LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers. They have safe houses in London, the North West & the Midlands that provide temporary housing. Micro Rainbow also offer regular events, activities and meetups. You can check out their calendar here.

Refugees at Home is a UK charity which connects those with a spare room in their home to refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay.

Boaz Trust are a Manchester based charity providing shared accommodation and tailored 1:1 support for people who have become homeless after claiming asylum.

Greater Manchester Asylum Crisis Project supports individuals and families who are waiting for a decision on their asylum claim with assistance to access housing and financial support as well as those who have had their first asylum claim rejected but are unable to return to their home country.

Shelter from the Storm is a completely free emergency night shelter in London providing bed, dinner and breakfast for 36 people who have experienced homelessness every night of the year.

The Passage provide emergency and long-term support for people who are homeless in London, including people with no recourse to public funds.

The Destitute Asylum Seeker Service (DASS) is a service led by the Refugee Survival Trust in Scotland.  DASS provides casework support, legal advice, emergency shelter and temporary accommodation to assist asylum seekers facing destitution to work towards resolving their situation.

NACCOM is a UK-wide network of organisations seeking to prevent destitution amongst migrants with no recourse to public funds, and NACCOM members across the UK operate hosting schemes.

Depaul’s Nightstop project has volunteer hosts open their homes to young homeless people facing a night on the streets or sleeping in an unsafe place in over 30 locations across the UK, including to those with no recourse to public funds.


Mental Health & Wellbeing Support

Asylum Seekers can register for and access all NHS primary healthcare free of charge. For more information about NHS services for asylum seekers in the UK, see here. People who have been granted refugee status can access all NHS services. You can register with a GP and see what support they are able to offer you, including referring you to specialist mental health providers. You can request an interpreter to be present at GP appointments if necessary.

There are also some external specialist organisations who can provide mental health support to LGBTQ+ asylum seekers & refugees:

Freedom From Torture offer therapy & support to people to heal from torture including psychological therapies specifically for trauma.

The Helen Bamber Foundation work with Survivors of trafficking and torture and have a specialist team of therapists who can provide support.

Room to Heal is a community based in Islington, London that supports people who have survived torture and organised violence to rebuild their lives. It offers a holistic programme of short term therapy, weekly support groups, practical casework and a community garden & therapeutic gardening group.

Outcome is Islington Mind’s LGBTQI+ service that aims to provide somewhere safe to socialise free from discrimination, receive therapies to improve mental health, and enjoy learning new skills in a supportive atmosphere. The Outcome services offers both in person & online drop ins, and on Wednesdays their online & in person drops ins are specifically for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

Rainbow Migration provide practical and emotional support to improve self-esteem and confidence.

Switchboard is an LGBT+ helpline that offers a safe space for anyone to discuss anything, including sexuality, gender identity, sexual health and emotional well-being. You can contact them by webchat via their website, email at [email protected] or phone on 0300 330 0630 from 10am-10pm every day.

Rainbow Home supports LGBT+ people in the North East of England who are seeking asylum. They offer a range of wellbeing services, offering 1-2-1 sessions, safe spaces to meet other LGBT+ asylum seekers, sexual health support, and mental health support.

Black Minds Matter UK connect Black individuals and families with free mental health services by professional Black therapists to support their mental health.

African and Caribbean Mental Health Services is a community-based organisation providing free and confidential culturally appropriate services predominantly to African and African Caribbean communities as well as other minority groups with mental health needs aged 18 and over living in Manchester and surrounding areas.

Refugee Council offer various mental health services for refugees & asylum seekers.

London Friend offer up to 12 weeks counselling for LGBTQI+ people & have a specialist domestic violence counselling service.

Akt have also created a resource of Mental Health support for trans young people. Check it out here.


Practical Support, Casework & Community Groups

Refugee Action give expert advice and guidance to those struggling to navigate the failing and unfair asylum system. They help refugees settle into their new homes & communities, and support people who suffer violent attacks or other hate crimes, to ensure they know their rights and get the help they need.

British Red Cross Refugee Services offer a wealth of support across the UK, including emergency help & casework to refugees and asylum seekers. They can offer food parcels & small amounts of cash to destitute refuges and asylum seekers and can help refer you to housing support services.

Rainbows Across Borders is a community group based in Croydon for LGBT people who are applying for asylum on the grounds that they have faced or fear persecution and harm in their countries of origin because they are LGBT. It provides a secure and safe space for members to share experiences as LGBT asylum seekers and to mutually build confidence and knowledge about the asylum process as it affects the individual applicant.

Notre Dame Refugee Centre are based in London and they assist refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented migrants and other human rights applicants who are in the UK either seeking protection or with precarious immigration status. They also offer ESOL classes.

Reading Refugee Support Group can help refugees and people seeking asylum with legal advice, practical help, education, social activities and more in Reading.

C.A.S.T Sanctuary assist asylum-seekers and refugees, offering advice and support and signposting them to appropriate services in Southend.

Revive are based in Manchester & through their drop ins provide free practical casework & support to refugees and asylum seekers in a number of areas including destitution support, benefits, family support, ESOL services, & community activities.

Rainbow Haven provides community drop-in sessions that offers support and activities for refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants in South Manchester. 

Manchester Refugee Support Network provide services that are designed to help refugees and asylum seekers have the tools they need to resettle in the UK and flourish in their lives.

PAFRAS offers casework support to asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers who live in the Leeds area every Wednesday from 10am to 11.30am at St Aidans Community Hall in Harehills.

You can also check out our resource on lgbtq+ groups and networks that you can contact for support. 


Legal Support

For information on how to claim asylum, check out Rainbow Migration’s resource on this here.

Rainbow Migration work with LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and can provide legal advice on all aspects of the asylum process, confidentially & free of charge. They can also help you find a solicitor and have created a handy list of lawyers here.

Immigration Advice Service are a team of experienced immigration lawyers who can support with asylum claims, appeals, fresh claims & family reunion and have office in 20 different locations across the UK.

Revive are based in Manchester & provide OISC accredited legal advice & support, mostly aimed at refugees & asylum seekers with no access to legal aid.

Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit provide expert legal advice and representation on all issues of immigration, nationality, asylum, and human rights. They also provide outreach services to people in detention who are facing deportation, and dedicated services for people who are particularly vulnerable (victims of torture, trafficking, rape and domestic violence, and children).

Rainbow Home are based in the North East of England & can help you navigate the asylum system & alongside your solicitor can support you through the asylum process and help you present your case to the Home Office.

Reading Refugee Support Group have OISC accredited Solicitor and Caseworkers who offer free, confidential advice and practical help with everything from Immigration Status, Benefits, Housing, Healthcare, Mental Health, and more.


Outside the UK & need help getting somewhere safe?

If you are LGBTQ+ & need help getting to safety from outside of the UK you can contact Rainbow Railroad. Rainbow Railroad is a global not-for-profit organization that helps LGTBQI+ people facing persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.