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No Recourse to Public Funds
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No Recourse to Public Funds

No Recourse to Public Funds

Thread created on: Wednesday, July 1, 2020
By: Marcus Loney-Evans

Thread Comments


Good Afternoon and welcome to the first ever C-19 Frontline Worker Forum Event here at the Frontline Network! 

Today we have Bethan Lant (Coordinator of our Pan-London Frontline Network) here to answer questions you may have about accessing support for Migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds.

Bethan will be available from 2pm-4pm this afternoon to answers your queries. She will also be posting regular updates on the latest guidance related to supporting someone with No Recourse to Public Funds.

We will be responding to your comments and posts throughout the session, and will collate the key resources you share in your comments at the top of the thread (Key Resources).

Please remember that this Forum Event is an open conversation, and we need to hear from you!

If you have expertise in Migrant-Homelessness, please share your knowledge on this thread, either by posting a comment, or responding to a query someone may post.

If aren't able to post a comment, please do use the like button, so that other Frontline Workers can see which comments are most helpful.

We look forward to hearing from you all and hope you enjoy this session.

Many thanks,
Marcus

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First question that I think we need to clarify - what do we mean by No Recourse to Public Funds? No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) is used in a number of different ways. This can be confusing and often the first question you need to answer if you are dealing with someone who is defined as being NRPF is, “why does this person have NRPF?”.
To clarify NRPF can mean:
- A person has leave to remain in the UK but the leave is subject to a condition of NRPF. In this definition of NRPF there is a legal definition of what constitutes “public funds”.
- A person has no legal status in the UK and therefore cannot access a range of services including welfare benefits and housing because of that lack of status.
- A person is an EEA citizen but cannot pass the Right to Reside test to access welfare benefits to which the test applies or social housing.
Also, sometimes people who have immigration status may be unable to access public funds if they do not have the documents required to prove their status. This may be because they have lost them or because they were never given a legal document (as in the Windrush cases).
While asylum-seekers have NRPF in that they cannot claim mainstream welfare benefits or housing, there is a separate system of asylum support set up for asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute while their asylum claim is processed.

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Hi All
Hope its OK to let you know about the next London PLUS event for those working in London services - Monday 13th July 1 - 2.30 pm. We will look at Transition Planning with a specific focus on those with No Recourse to Public Funds. This will be a zoom event with a panel discussion and questions from attendees. We will hear from Gill Taylor, Strategic Commissioning, Haringey Council and Jennifer Wynter Hackney Council, the Magpie Project & Southwark Law Centre amongst others..
Please use link below to register.
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAlduitqTotHtZkct8XQtY0bk6njOTgs9sV
Or contact Vicky and Jane at London.Plus@homelesslink.org.uk

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Hello everyone. Citizens Advice has recently published a report on NRPF and Covid; this contains four asks:
1. The No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) restriction for those subject to immigration control should be temporarily suspended.
2. The Habitual Residence Test (HRT) should be temporarily suspended from the application process for benefits.
3. The minimum income requirement (of at least £18,600 per year) and the maintenance and accommodation requirements should be temporarily suspended for all those renewing family visas.
4. All those on a 5-year route to settlement whose income has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic should not be moved onto a 10-year route because they cannot show minimum income.

You can read the report here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/policy/policy-research-topics/welfare-policy-research-surveys-and-consultation-responses/welfare-policy-research/nowhere-to-turn-how-immigration-rules-are-preventing-people-from-getting-support-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

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If you have any questions you would like to ask as we go along, please type them into 'Add a new Comment' and submit. I'll do my best to answer everything.

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Hello good afternoon
can you advise what help is for those with nrpf especially those who are rough sleeping .
can you also advise what help is there for EU citizens and what they need to do in prep for leaving the EU

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Hi Rebecca,

Thank you for the comment and for the great questions!

For rough sleepers who have NRPF, the first question needs to be to understand why they have no recourse.

If it is because they have no immigration status, then immigration advice is essential.  Some providers of temporary accommodation are commissioning immigration advice.

For EU rough sleepers, if they have not yet registered on the EU Settlement Scheme it is important that they do so.  If they can evidence 5 years residence in the UK (no necessity to be working or doing anything) then they should be able to get Settled Status and so get recourse.

What ever someones situation, if you are not an immigration adviser, the most useful thing can be to help someone to gather documents showing both current financial situation and evidencing residence in the UK.  However, they will still need an immigration adviser to progress things.

 

Hi Rebecca
An important addition - on 30 June the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has stated that it is providing local authorities with temporary powers to help ineligible EEA rough sleepers - it essentially gives them powers to accommodate EEA rough sleepers or those in non-statutory emergency accommodation for up to 3 months to either help them to return to their country of origin or to find work. The powers can also be used if they person has Covid-19 or is required to shield. The temporary powers will be in place till the end of December 2020.
For more information see here on the Shelter website (scroll down to 'Ineligible EEA nationals'): https://england.shelter.org.uk/legal/housing_options/covid-19_emergency_measures/homelessness

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Hello

Thanks for hosting this forum! Will it be available to view after the Q&A session is finished, so we can share with colleagues?

Many thanks
Katy

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Hi Katy,

Thanks so much for the comment and for taking part!

The thread will remain open after this event has finished, including all of the key resources shared.

You can also check out the latest threads on the C-19 Frontline Worker Forum.

If you have an issue you would like to raise, which isn’t currently covered as a topic on the Forum, please create a thread!

Thanks,

Marcus

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Some great comments and questions so far!

Please remember to like any posts you see if it offers helpful guidance to support people with no recourse to public funds.

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I currently work in an adults team within social care. I have found that as a team we struggle to support and advise when we have people approach who are no recourse to public funds. They often seem to be bounced back and forth from housing, social services and various other organisations and charities. This ultimately often leads to nothing. As a student I also find understanding on what grounds the no recourse is and then trying to see what can be offered is confusing. I wish to advocate as much as possible but find my knowledge is lacking. Other then directing to local Citizens Advice for guidance is there anything I can do.

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Hi Sarah,
Thanks for the great questions!
The No Recourse to Public Funds Network hosted by LB of Islington is an excellent resource for local authorities who may be struggling to understand their duties and wanting to improve practice in working with those who have NRPF. 
NRPF Network hold regular regional forum meetings for local authorities, run trainings and have excellent online resources. 

Also, Social Worker Action Network, who I follow on FaceBook are an interesting organisation who often discuss social work ethics in relation to key issues like NRPF.

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Good afternoon
Thank you for hosting. I understand it is possible to apply for a change of condition for NRPF but how difficult is this to get and how long does it take, do you know?

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Hi Helen,

Thanks for the question!

Yes, if someone has leave subject to a condition of no recourse to public funds it can be possible to apply for a ‘Change of Conditions’ to remove the No Recourse condition.  As this is counted as an immigration application (because it can have an impact on someone’s immigration situation) it shouldn’t be done by someone who is not qualified to do immigration work (OISC or solicitor) though an individual can do an application for themselves through the online form on the gov.uk website.  The key to getting a change of conditions is to give good evidence of the financial situation for the last six months – eg six months of bank statements, payslips, letters from friends/charities supporting – and evidence of expenditure if possible – eg. Utility bills, tenancy agreement etc, plus evidence of individual circs such as medical conditions. 

The question ‘how long it takes’ is trickier.  In theory, the Home Office has committed to try to expedite these applications when someone is destitute during the current pandemic, however we are still finding that they are taking several months to process most applications (average 2-3 months).  It can be very unpredictable and changeable though.

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Why when some EU clients claim UC they are being told that they have failed HRT, but need to apply for EU settlement

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Hi Ros,

Thanks for the question!

For EEA clients, at present, until at least the end of this year, the UK government is continuing to recognise the pre-Brexit rights of EEA citizens while also working to get people through the EU Settlement Scheme, which EEA citizens need to register with before the end of the transition period.  No EEA resident should be refused UC because they have not registered with the EU Settlement Scheme, although as usual they may fail the HRT in the usual way.  If you think they have been wrongly refused please challenge and get expert benefits advice.

 

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Will you (or other like organisations) be taking on more casework to support current NR guests in hotels? Finding free representations/solicitors is one of our biggest struggles.

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Hi Sam,

Thanks for joing today's Forum Q&A!

Praxis are working with several accommodation providers (including St Mungo’s the GLA and LB of Newham) to assess those who are currently in the emergency hotel accommodation and work out who may have a pathway into recourse.  Our problem is that due to the large numbers of people who have immigration issues in the hotels, and the fact that our current work and caseload doesn’t stop in the interim, all we can do right now is assess and not take on the ongoing casework.  However, we are looking at using this as an opportunity to map the need so that we can then say what resource is needed to do the casework for those who should have a way to get their immigration sorted out and put the case to funders for that funding to be made available so that we can take on the casework.

In the meanwhile, it’s good to remember that there is legal aid available for asylum, trafficking and for immigration cases involving domestic violence.  Any cases which might be eligible for legal aid should be referred to a legal aid solicitor.

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Hello,
I work with an EU national client who has applied for EU settled status however has been unable to provide photo ID for his application to progress. He has been referred to an immigration solicitor however I have a couple of general questions:

He was accepted for Universal Credit with the reason "you are entitled to benefits due to the current pandemic and this will be reviewed in 6 months time". Is everyone with NRPF entitled to benefits at this time or is this only for those that can prove they have settled or pre settled status? After COVID19, will those with NRPF that are currently receiving benefits have to prove they have EU settled status?

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Hi Jennifer,

People with NRPF are not being given access to benefits due to Covid 19.  If your EU client has been given benefits it may be either that he has been able to pass the HRT test due to previous exercise of treaty rights.  If he is granted Settled Status then that will give him recourse as he will no longer have to exercise treaty rights to pass the HRT.

Jennifer
A recent development, announced on 30 June gives local authorities temporary powers (up to end of Dec 2020) to provide accommodation to otherwise ineligible EEA nationals to either help them to return to country of origin or to find employment, or if they need to shield or isolate due to Covid-19. See full details on the Shelter website here (scroll down to 'Ineligibe EEA nationals'): https://england.shelter.org.uk/legal/housing_options/covid-19_emergency_measures/homelessness

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I'm curious to know if you (or like organisations) will be taking on more casework to support current guests in hotels? One of our biggest struggles is finding free representation for guests

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EU Settled Status
Hi Bethan, we spoke the other day about the 57 agencies who were funded to provide extra help for applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme, there was a press release saying another release of funding would be launched in May, but did you say this didn't go ahead? So are the 57 agencies rolled over until the deadline of 30th June 2021, or are we expecting agencies to have to bid again?

I found this helpful page which can find your nearest extra support agency by postcode:
https://www.gov.uk/help-eu-settlement-scheme

And this had some useful links too:
https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/05/26/eu-settlement-scheme-impact-of-coronavirus/

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HI Zoe – the funding for assistance with EUSS applications was extended until the end of September this year.  However, the Home Office funding available to continue the scheme afterwards was reduced considerably and was only available for a further six months.  As a result, Praxis and a number of other organisations who were previously funded to do this work decided not to apply again.  We do not know if other organisations have applied for the funding but I assume that an announcement would be made by the Home Office in due course.

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Hello,
Thank you for organising this, it is very useful.
I wanted to ask, am I right in thinking that a EU citizen with pre-settled status, not exercising their Treaty rights, has no recourse? Or are there any exceptions to that?

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HI Niki

Unfortunately you are right - if they only have pre-settled status and are not exercising treaty rights then they will not pass the HRT (unless they are a relevant family member of an EEA citizen exercising treaty rights).

I do not think that the issue of those with NRPF who are at increased risk of Covid-19 due to an underlying health condition has been looked at in terms of whether there may be any entitlement to support under the Community Care Act from a local authority.  It might be an interesting one for a housing solicitor to look at.

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Hi there,
I work for a housing advice charity in Northern Ireland. Just wondering about the experience in GB re helping NRPF migrants in the housing sector. As well as the larger policy asks such as those outlined about by Citizens Advice, we are exploring what steps could be taken on a local level to provide longer term to support people with no recourse to public funds who have been provided with temporary accommodation during the pandemic. It would be great to hear your thoughts on policy asks that we could be progressed at a local level without contravening immigration law? There seems to be very little scope for assistance outside the Care Act, the Children Order and the human rights assessment.

Kind Regards,

Sarah

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How often do you see cases that involve Modern Slavery, where someone is NRPF but could be entitled to support as a victim of slavery or trafficking? What signs should agencies look out for to identify this?
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Hi Zoë

The Passage have some great resources to support people working with people who have experienced modern slavery and trafficking. Bethan previously ran an event to discuss this issue and migrant related homelessness.

The Passage has this really helpful booklet as a resource that you might find helpful: www.passage.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/The-Passage-Modern-Slavery-Handbook.pdf'>https://passage.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/The-Passage-Modern-Slavery-Handbook.pdf">www.passage.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/The-Passage-Modern-Slavery-Handbook.pdf

Please see here for further information on their work as well: www.passage.org.uk/2017/01/26/540927-2/'>http://www.passage.org.uk/2017/01/26/540927-2/">www.passage.org.uk/2017/01/26/540927-2/

Homeless Link also ran an interested Community of Practice in Kent on this issue last year, so that might also be good to contact for helpful resources.

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Hi,
Many thanks for hosting this Q&A!

I am a policy officer with Housing Rights - a housing advice charity in Northern Ireland. As well as the larger immigration policy asks such as those outlined about by Citizens Advice, we are exploring what steps could be taken on a local level to provide longer term to support people with no recourse to public funds who have been provided with temporary accommodation during the pandemic.

It would be great to hear your thoughts on policy asks that could be progressed at a local level without contravening immigration law?

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Thanks Kerry, that’s a really interesting question. 
There has been a lot of lobbying and attempts to influence policy in response to the pandemic with regard to those with NRPF.  There are some great documents in places like the NRPF Network and JCWI websites, and Crisis have also been looking at policy asks around this.  I think at a local level, if you can work to influence local authorities and other funders to fund immigration casework for those with NRPF that’s a good first step to getting some relief for the problem.  The wider question of change to NRPF is going to be a longer term project I suspect but I think we are starting to see a dawning realisation in some areas (politically speaking) that this is a real issue and knee-jerk anti-migrant responses won’t do anything in reality to help.

Many thanks, that's really helpful!

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Do you know of anyone who would be interested in taking part in the conversation right now?

Please feel free to promote this open Forum via Twitter, using the hashtag : #C19FrontlineWorkerForum.

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Thank you to everyone who has asked a question or posted a key resource so far!

Have you checked out the latest ‘Key Resources’?

We are collating all resources from this Thread’s comments at the top of our Forum thread.

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Hi,
A bit specific but does anyone know if the £105m "interim accommodation" funding from MCHLG will also apply to people with NRPF as the "Everyone In" plan did?
Thanks!
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HomelessLink just brought this up at their webinar: letter from Luke Hall to LAs 24th June:
"...the Government is now taking unprecedented action in temporarily, nationally suspending an EU derogation (normally applied through Article 24(2) of the EU Free Movement Directive) to enable you to accommodate and support a specific
group of rough sleeping EEA nationals for up to 12 weeks."

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/896650/24-6-20_-_Letter_to_All_LAs_with_annexes.pdf
!

Yes, I heard that too! Only useful for people with the prospect of moving into employment though, it seems. And not for third country nationals. But still something.

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Thank you for the comments so far. Bethan is working her way through each one as quickly as possible.

We believe that through starting conversations with other frontline workers on this Forum, it is possible to break down the silos that we all too often find ourselves working in. So please do share your knowledge on this thread, either by posting a comment, or responding to any of the queries posted!

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If someone has leave to remain but subject to a condition of No Recourse to Public Funds it can be useful to review what is meant by public funds in that context and assess whether there is anything that they may be entitled to.
Public funds are defined by s115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. They are:
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Council Tax Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction
- Disability Living Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Income-based Employment Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income Support
- Personal Independence Payment
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Social Fund Payments
- State Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Any discretionary welfare payment made by a local authority
- An allocation of housing under the Housing Act 1996
Public funds do not include contributory benefits, legal aid, social services support or health services (though access to health services is governed by other legislation). In addition, it does not include pay received under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (ie furlough pay) or the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

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One question I am often asked by both those approaching local authorities for help and also by local authorities who are unsure themselves, is whether they will/should be reporting those without status to the Home Office.
Paragraph 14 of Schedule 3 of the Nationality Immigration Asylum Act 2002 requires a local authority to inform the Home Office when a person requesting support from social services is, or may be, excluded from receiving care and support on the basis that they are:
- suspected or known to be unlawfully present in the UK,
- a refused asylum seeker who has not complied with removal directions, or
- a refused asylum seeker with dependent children who have been certified by the Secretary of State as having failed to take steps to leave the UK voluntarily.
This duty should be explained to a person when they present to the local authority and by any agencies referring people to social services.
There are no equivalent duties for any other local authority services and they should therefore have regard to their duties of confidentiality and data protection in relation to any other contact with those with insecure immigration status.

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Thanks so much to everyone who has responded so far!

We have received feedback that certain people were not able to reply to comments already posted.

We are very sorry that this was the case and have escalated this with our IT team, who have now resolved the issue.

Thanks,

Marcus

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Hi Bethan and all,

During the pandemic we've seen an increase in need from migrants with NRPF who are from outside the EU and aren't seeking asylum, and therefore aren't entitled to any form of support (benefits, asylum support, etc). These include international students who have become destitute due to losing their jobs during the lockdown. We've found it tricky to refer people in this category to other refugee charities in London, given that many are funded to focus on either refugees/asylum seekers, or those with recourse to public funds and the right to work.

I wondered if Bethan or anyone else could recommend any charities or resources who could help people in this categories in the areas of:
a) employment (these students on Tier 4 visas can work for 20 hours per week, but are finding it incredibly hard to find employment support from charities or help from their own universities), and
b) women facing homelessness.

(By the way, we already collaborate with Migrants Organise, who do tons to support migrants in these precarious positions - we're just wondering if there are other organisations out there also doing so for people in these positions).

Many thanks,
Leyla
West London Welcome Centre for Refugees and Migrants

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Hi Bethan and all,

This isn't NRPF-specific, but I wondered what different charities' plans were for running casework sessions now that the lockdown is lifting - are workers at Praxis and other orgs going to start running face to face sessions soon? Are there strategies organisations are putting in place (PPE, screens, other things) to make sessions safe for workers and service users?

Best wishes,
Leyla
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From the Praxis perspective, we will not be opening drop-in services in the foreseeable future though we are looking at re-starting some face to face appointments with clients when it is impractical to do things remotely. We have done risk assessments and written guidance for staff about when they can see clients, how to see clients, using PPE, what spaces in the building are best to see clients safely. We have installed hand sanitiser, bought disposible masks for staff and are looking at installing a screen in reception and at least one screen in an advice room. Risk assessing regularly as situations change is also key.

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That’s all folks!

Thank you very much for taking part in today’s conversation. Your input was crucial in making sure today’s conversation was a valuable one for frontline workers, to understand how we can best support people with NRPF.

Thank you also to Bethan Lant for providing her expert knowledge on this subject, and for answering many of the great questions raised during this event.

Please note that you can continue this conversation by adding to this thread (though Bethan will not be available to provide a response). You can also check out the latest threads on the C-19 Frontline Worker Forum.

If you have an issue you would like to raise, which isn’t currently covered as a topic on the Forum, please create a thread!

Please note we will be running C-19 Q&A Forum events on a weekly basis. You can keep updated on the upcoming events by checking our What’s On.

As this is the first time facilitating an event of this nature, we would welcome any feedback you have on the formatting of this event, by emailing us at frontline@stmartinscharity.org.uk.

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Thank you so much for organising this event and thank you Bethan for sharing your time and expertise. I found everyone's input extremely informative and will share the links with our network members. I look forward to the next forum event. Thanks Everyone :) Donna

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