Serco announced this week that it is preparing to evict up to 300 people from asylum accommodation in Glasgow, locking them out of their homes and forcing them into street homelessness. Unity condemns this awful action and calls on friends and supporters to resist it in whatever ways they can.
Here are six things you can do:
1. Get in touch if you or someone you know is effected by this, have been served an eviction notice, or are living in Serco accommodation and are worried about what might happen. We can try and put you in touch with groups that are looking at challenging the legality of the evictions, look at options for direct support if you want that, or just have a chat. Call us on 0141 427 7992 or email email@example.com
2. Join the new evictions resistance network to take direct action where needed. People from groups like Living Rent and Unity are coordinating a network of people to be available to show up and offer support and do direct action where eviction or lock-change notices are in place. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Donate to the new night shelter projects in Glasgow. Glasgow’s only night shelter for destitute asylum seekers is currently at full capacity, and closing at the end of August. This shelter is also only for destitute men, and there is no shelter at all for destitute women in Glasgow. Two new groups : Ubuntu Women Shelter and FOIS Shelter are trying to organise to prepare for this and offer space to sleep and eat for people who would be otherwise homeless. They need money and support to get these initiatives going.
4. Get educated about Serco. They are a huge multinational outsourcing company with around £3 billion in annual revenue, running housing, prisons, military bases and detention centres, including Yarl’s Wood detention centre for women, all of which have been the site of multiple scandals, misery and even death. We at Unity have dealt with countless examples of horrific housing problems in Serco properties – rats, lice, mould, damp, breakages, electricity turned off, boilers unfixed for weeks during the winter, intimidation by housing managers – and it is clear to us that they are unfit to provide housing to people. Their contract to provide housing is up for review in August 2019 and it is clear they should not have it renewed: evict Serco!
5. Get educated about the Hostile Environment. This government has undertaken an overt, racist and far reaching policy of exclusion and violence against people in the asylum system and other migrants, tapping into far deeper historical forms of racialized exclusion, colonialism and war. These evictions are taking place in this context. There is no such thing as a ‘failed asylum seeker’: multiple whistle-blowers and actions by the Home Office have proven it is working on a quota / lottery system with asylum applications, with an emphasis on ‘restricting numbers’ rather than hearing peoples cases. People are refused or ‘lost’ in the system for long periods at various times. We should be arguing for freedom of movement for all, and good adequate housing for all, rather than falling into the Home Office and Serco’s traps of talking about people as ‘failed’ or ‘deserving’.
6. Get involved with Unity Centre. We always need new volunteers and support. Get in touch if you’d like to be trained to come be part of the office work – 9-5, Monday to Friday – or contribute in other ways / donate.