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Immigration: Ashford Council urges landlords to help as borough continues to support Syrian refugees

Contributed by editor on Sep 14, 2016 - 12:50 PM

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Ashford as a borough has come together to welcome, resettle and help integrate the most vulnerable refugees from the camps around the Syrian border.
 

 

Ashford has taken more refugees than any other district local authority area in the south east


At this month’s meeting, Cabinet members reviewed the first year of Ashford Borough Council’s strong involvement in the national government’s Syrian vulnerable person resettlement programme. It was agreed that the work has been rewarding and that the council’s firm commitment should continue.

 

Pledge

Members heard how the council has been delivering on its pledge, made last October, to accept up to 50 refugees for each of the five years of the government’s scheme – equating to around ten families per year. To date, seven families, comprising 33 refugees, have arrived and begun living in the borough. The borough’s work was recently praised by the Home Affairs Select Committee, which recently published a report stating that Ashford had taken more refugees than any other district local authority area in the south east.

The families in the borough are all settling in well; the children are in school and many of the parents have been learning English through courses run by Kent Adult Education. One of the refugees, who arrived with a good level of English, is already in employment and others have expressed their desire to get into work at the earliest opportunity.

 

Volunteers

Through the generosity and warmth of volunteers, local organisations, private landlords and groups, each family has been made to feel at home. And members reiterated a key point of the success of the project. The council is not housing the refugee families in social housing, so as not to put any strain on its social housing stock or those on its waiting list.

The majority of properties that have come forward to date have either been put forward by organisations or private landlords keen to support the borough’s stance and play their own part. The council has also been able to make use of its own innovations to house families in its ABC Lettings and ABC Property Ltd homes so as not to impact on applicants on the council waiting list.

 

Keen to encourage private sector landlords

The council is keen to encourage more private sector landlords to come forward with properties so that there are additional options for the council to house future refugee families. If any landlords are keen to explore this possibility with council officers they are kindly asked to email abclettings@ashford.gov.uk [4]  or phone 01233 330378.

Cllr Paul Clokie, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for housing and home ownership, said: “We are pleased with how our first year supporting the government’s resettlement programme has worked out. Of course, it is rewarding to note that the families are all grateful for the support of the communities in which they are now part. It is something we felt strongly that we should support and the borough has helped us to do so.

“We would like additional private sector landlords to come forward with offers of accommodation. This will help to give us, and in turn the families, with further rural and urban accommodation options. This is important, as placing these families in surroundings to which they are best suited is key to them settling in during the early days of their arrival. We look forward to continuing to play our small but significant role in the humanitarian programme.”
 

 

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  1. https://hawkingegazette.co.uk/https://hawkingegazette.co.uk/index.php/view/Main/Immigration/
  2. https://hawkingegazette.co.uk/https://hawkingegazette.co.uk/index.php/view/Topic/NEWS/
  3. https://hawkingegazette.co.uk/https://hawkingegazette.co.uk/index.php/view//NEWS/
  4. https://hawkingegazette.co.uk/mailto:abclettings@ashford.gov.uk
  5. https://hawkingegazette.co.uk/https://hawkingegazette.co.uk/index.php/Printer/2016/9/14/ashford-council-continue-to-support-syrian-refugees/