Welfare Appeal: Elijah's Story

Elijah is a refugee from Southern Africa. He is one of hundreds of survivors of torture who, after finally receiving their refugee status, faced homelessness and destitution.

Elijah came to the UK over 10 years ago. But he has only recently been given his refugee status. After years of waiting, he was relieved.

But, like many other survivors, Elijah faced uncertainty. Survivors have 28 days to move out their asylum accommodation but they are often given just a matter of days to find new housing and the cash assistance they were receiving is taken away.

After receiving his refugee status, Elijah was given just 9 days to move out. "When I got the eviction letter, I was not myself. I was depressed."

Elijah's eviction letter was the start of week-long ordeal: "I got emergency accommodation for Wednesday and Thursday. Then on Friday night, another temporary accommodation. On the Monday morning, I received a call from the council saying, 'Now we have looked at your case and you're not eligible for temporary accommodation.'"


Due to the lack of housing, there is no guarantee where housing will become available so survivors can be sent between different towns and cities across the UK.

The impact of this left Elijah feeling judged and, like when he was tortured, left him feeling like he wasn't see as a person. "This is what I have always gone through, judgement for no reason."

For survivors of torture, this can lead to retraumatisation. Survivors work hard to recover from their trauma but their progress can be set back when they face threats of eviction and destitution. Like many survivors, Elijah experienced nightmares, flashbacks and the feeling of not being safe.

Thankfully, Elijah was supported by the Welfare Team at Freedom from Torture, who provided him with a letter in response to his eviction letter so he could access the support he needed to find housing and avoid destitution.  

"When I came to Freedom from Torture I felt like I was appreciated...for the first time I felt like I was talking to a caring person who wanted to help me."


Unfortunately, not all survivors have this support, meaning there is an increase in the number of refugees facing homelessness and destitution.

Our welfare team are working hard to provide survivors of torture, like Elijah, with the support they need. They provide support finding housing, help accessing income and provide emergency essentials including food and toiletries.  

We estimate that as many as 248 survivors of torture are granted asylum each week. Meaning each week, 248 survivors of torture face homelessness and destitution if they are unable to access vital support. 

That's why we need your help to support more survivors of torture with vital welfare support.

£20 could pay for the cost of translating a Home Office document.

£40 could pay to provide food and essentials for a destitute survivor of torture.

£70 could pay for a night's emergency accommodation for a homeless survivor of torture.