Rising cost of living in the UK
Micro Rainbow opened the first safehouse in the United Kingdom dedicated solely to LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees in 2017. Since then, we have opened 16 more, located in London, the northwest, and the west midlands. These safehouses provide almost 25,000 bed-nights of temporary accommodation for LGBTQI people awaiting the outcome of asylum claims. LGBTQI refugees face huge challenges with mental health and social isolation because they often suffer from severe abuse in asylum accommodation and discrimination from their ethnic communities. Micro Rainbow’s Housing, Moving On and Social Inclusion programmes help to counteract these challenges, support LGBTQI refugees to integrate fully and more quickly into society.
However, five years since we opened our first safehouse, the cost of living is spiralling. Energy and heating bills are so high that many people are afraid of turning on the lights or using the heating. For Micro Rainbow it’s no different. The cost of council tax and essential utilities for Micro Rainbow’s safehouses is sky rocketing.
Predicted costs for 2023
Last year it cost £50 to cover all bills and utilities for a resident of Micro Rainbow housing. In 2023 these same costs are predicted to increase by 144% to £122 per month. For just five of our houses, council tax and utilities are predicted to increase by 75%, leaving us needing to find £13,560 more than in 2021.
Tough choices for our beneficiaries
The refugees and asylum seekers Micro Rainbow works with are constantly forced to make extremely tough choices when budgeting. Too often, they have to make a choice between attending medical appointments or eating. In 2023, these choices look set to get even harder.
Rising inflation also means that the asylum seekers are struggling more than ever. They are given an allowance of just £40.85 per week to live on. This allowance must cover everything. Food, clothes, transport, sanitary products, and any other items you might need. Skyrocketing inflation means that the price of the very cheapest value items on the shelves are up by 42%.
Maria, an LGBTQI asylum seeker from El Salvador says:
“As an asylum seeker, I find it quite challenging to survive on £40.85 a week, the cost of food is increasing and apart from groceries, I need to buy other basic items. This situation makes me feel helpless and a bit frustrated sometimes.”
Sam, a gay man from the Caribbean is also struggling:
“The current cost of living crisis is especially hard on asylum seekers like myself who have to live on £5.84 a day or £40 a week.
When it comes to the basic essentials such as food and toiletries I have to be very mindful of what I spend as prices have risen dramatically. Persons like myself who are already living in hardship will struggle with the crisis even more.”
How to help with the cost of living
Help Micro Rainbow continue its work with LGBTQI people fleeing persecution. Become an ally today and help us cover the rising costs of bills for 2023!
Become an ally:
If 100 people become Micro Rainbow allies over the winter, committing £10 a month, we would cover £12,000 of the £13,560 shortfall.