— Build relationships with staff in UK consulates and services in home countries to increase options for reconnection.
— Make links to accommodation and support services in the client’s home country, so that this is already in place when they return.
There is a perception that services for vulnerable people in EU countries don’t exist and/or that it’s not possible to access them from outside the country. However, it is possible to contact and refer to a range of services, including: temporary accommodation, social services, detox and rehab. You can find more information on services in individual EU countries here.
Many organisations have websites containing details of their services. Therefore, a good place to contact is via an internet search. Bear in mind that making a referral using this route may require communicating with staff in the national language.
Relevant consulates may also be able to assist. Staff are often responsive to requests for help in relation to their own vulnerable citizens. It’s worth approaching consulates for information on government departments and services for vulnerable people. They may also provide support with translating official documents.
When seeking to make referrals to services in EU countries ensure you are clear about local connection and other eligibility criteria as systems and procedures differ significantly. For example, in Estonia all referrals to emergency accommodation are channelled via city authorities. It’s also worth being aware that services in EU countries are often offered on a shorter-term basis than is usual in the UK and that staff will often seek to mediate with a client’s family with a view to them providing accommodation in the longer-term.