Cherwell District Council has identified 10 properties to house families fleeing Afghanistan.
Published: Tuesday, 7th September 2021
A meeting of the council’s Executive on Monday 6 September heard that the government will provide funding to help the new arrivals with accommodation and support as part of its Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy. The individuals are people who worked for the UK and risked their lives alongside British forces in Afghanistan over a number of years.
Councillor Barry Wood, Leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “The government has put this policy in place to help Afghan nationals who have proven over a number of years that they are true friends of the British people, risking their lives in service of the UK Armed Forces. I am pleased that Cherwell will be playing its part in helping secure their futures and giving them a warm welcome.
“As our plans develop, we will be drawing on our experience of resettling and supporting Syrian families in the private sector. We have a strong network of local partners to assist in the vital work of helping them rebuild their lives and integrating into their local communities.
“I want to be very clear that this is a distinct and separately funded area of work, which we are rightly proud to be undertaking. Our existing responsibility to help local people applying for social housing and helping anyone sleeping rough in the district will, of course, be continuing as it always has.
“It has to be remembered that these families will have been through a traumatic experience and we need to give them space and privacy over a prolonged period to adjust to their new lives and surroundings. As such we will not reveal any specific locations."
The council is working with local specialist agencies to develop a support package for the families, including education and health. Thanks to the council’s work on the Syrian and Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programmes, which have supported 14 families into accommodation in the private rented sector, strong relationships are already in place to make this a reality.
The local package of support that will be offered will include language skills, access to healthcare and education, voluntary sector support and advice, and support preparing to enter the job market.
The properties identified are not within social housing stock and the tenancies will last for a year. In advance of their expiry, the council will work to find the families more permanent homes in the private sector.