specialist bame refuge
Zola is a specialist BAME refuge. This means there are specialist staff members who can support women’s language and cultural needs.
The team consists of refuge support workers who between them can speak Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and English.
Zola has nine self-contained flats, which can house nine families.
At Zola, the team support women with issues such as safety, housing, benefits, immigration, finances, children, and health. Women are also supported to apply for housing and offered support when leaving the refuge to move into their own home.
The team is available for face-to-face appointments and telephone support. There is also an emergency on-call worker available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What other support is available at Zola?
At the Zola refuge, we support women with no recourse to public funds.
To be eligible for stay at Zola, women without Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) will need the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC) applied for on their behalf before being accepted. We can help with the application. This entitles women to public funds for a limited period (initially three months) but usually until her leave application decision.
Once the woman has the DDVC in place, she can claim benefits including housing benefit and legal aid. The staff at Zola will support women to make an appointment with a solicitor and accompany her to begin the leave to remain process. We can also support her with her ILR application which must be submitted within three months of being given the DDVC. In the refuge, we give women emotional support around the abuse she has experienced and help her to prepare her personal statement that accompanies her leave to remain application.
Once submitted, we usually hear the decision after approximately three months, but it can take much longer.
Until the decision is received the woman claims benefits and is supported at the refuge. She is unable to apply for housing until her leave to remain is successful.
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