Northampton Windrush migrant left homeless for seven years by the Home Office is in a flat following Chron appeal

A Windrush migrant from Northampton who was left homeless for seven years because of a Home Office blunder is back on the housing list after the Chron teamed up with his local MP.

Tuesday, 12th June 2018, 4:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 4:42 pm
Andrew Lewer, Joe Robinson and Nadine Robinson outside the Guildhall this week. Windrush migrant Joe is back on the emergency housing list thanks to a Chron appeal.

Joe Robinson came to England from Jamaica when he was just six years old and has lived almost all of his life as a British citizen in Northampton.

But when the grandfather-of-three and his family went to Jamaica for his 50th birthday in 2009 - Joe was stopped before boarding the return flight by border officials.

It is now known that Joe had become one of hundreds of Caribbean migrants whose landing cards were mysteriously lost or shredded by the Home Office - in what has lately become known as the Windrush Scandal.

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Joe Robinson was forced to stay in Jamaica for two years because of the Home Office error.

The blunder meant Joe was forced to stay in a series of Kingston bedsits for two years while he sought to restore his status. He lost his job, lost touch with his family and lost his council flat in the town centre as a result.

When he eventually returned to Northampton two years later he owed £4,000 in arrears on his flat, which he could not afford to pay.

Since 2009, Joe has effectively been homeless as a result of the mistake. His possessions were lost with the flat and the fact he was still in arrears has prevented him signing a tenancy agreement on a new place.

But after his story was publicised in the Chronicle & Echo and the national media, things are starting to look up for the youth worker.

Northampton South MP Andrew Lewer for has taken on the case and has negotiated getting Joe on the housing register for Northampton.

Joe has been set up in a town centre flat by the borough council in the meantime and has also enlisted the help of a specialist lawyer to fight his compensation case with the Home office.

"I just want to move on now," he said. "That's all I am waiting for.

"I'm definitely overdue - this has been a long fight."

Northampton South MP Andrew Lewer said: "He has been as a very high priority at the borough council, reflecting the experiences he has had.

"We have also put in a complaint to the Home Office - which is sending out the signals that people like Joe will be compensated.

"I can't think of anyone in a better position to gain compensation than Joe.

"After years of things being difficult and unpleasant for Joe - things are starting to look a little better."

Mr Lewer has also written to the new Home Secretary Sajid Javid, requesting a meeting to discuss Joe's case.

Seven years after the Jamaican border officials prevented him from returning home, Joe is still sleeping at family member's homes.

"Not having a roof over your head when you are nearly 60 is not right," added Mr Lewer.

"He didn't lose his property intentionally and he wasn't in a position to pay arrears."

His sister Nadine, 54, who runs a company helping unaccompanied asylum seekers, said the last seven years have been an ordeal for the family.

As there were still doubts about Joe's ability to remain in the UK, he lived in constant fear of being arrested and taken to Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedford.

"It has been hard for him, he has always felt he hasn't been able to go anywhere," said Nadine.

"We kept hearing all these rumours about people being rounded up in vans and sent back to Jamaica. Anytime he saw anyone official he worried they would be coming for him."

A Northampton Borough Council spokeswoman said: “The borough council is always happy to look into individual enquiries and work to find a resolution where possible.”