Appeal for houses to help Afghans who supported British Army
Gloucestershire landlords are being asked to help support Afghans who have worked for the British Army.
Gloucestershire Strategic Housing Partnership, which is made up of the local authorities in Gloucestershire, have pledged to resettle 35 households under the Home Office Locally Employed Staff Resettlement Scheme in a project partnered by GARAS (Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers).
The partnership has already supported the Syrian Families Resettlement scheme and is now set to support Afghans who have assisted the British Army.
As well as providing much needed homes, the scheme also has a number of benefits for landlords, including:
- rent in advance payments paid directly to the landlord,
- set up costs for furnishings
The families will be helped to build a new life by working closely with them in areas of health, education and social care. To help them integrate into society they’ll receive help with issues such as medical needs, arranging English lessons as needed, finding jobs and getting children into education.
The county partnership is particularly looking for properties with two or three bedrooms.
Ruth Saunders, chair of the Gloucestershire Strategic Housing Partnership, said: “If you own a property for rent please do consider signing up to this scheme and help vulnerable families who in many cases risked their safety to support our armed forces. If you have any questions, our friendly, award-winning resettlement team is on hand to answer any questions you may have.”
Adele Owen, Director of GARAS, said: “GARAS is delighted to be working with Gloucestershire Local Authorities to provide support to Afghan nationals. It feels a privilege to have the opportunity to work with those who have provided their services to our troops and are now at risk.”
A landlord who has supported a similar scheme with GARAS, said: “For some time I had wanted to help a refugee family settle in the UK. GARAS came and took the details and things moved very swiftly from then on. I did all the usual landlord things, such as gas and electricity safety checks, but GARAS did the things I could not do. They liaised with the Home Office, carried out all the legal paperwork and when the family had been found, GARAS met them at the airport, brought them to the house and settled them in and have provided ongoing support. It went very smoothly and efficiently. I have now become friends with a lovely Syrian family, who do all the things that a landlord requires: rent payment on time, care of the house and regular communication when issues arise. For me, it is a win-win situation.”
Through the resettlement scheme, refugee families are supported for one year, during which time they will have undertaken their habitual residence test with the Department of Work and Pensions, the main applicant will have leave to enter or stay in the UK.
For more information contact stuart.dean@Gloucester.gov.uk or telephone 01452 396917.