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Council Leader calls on faith groups to help rehouse Syrian refugees in Kingston

The Leader of Kingston Council has written to Kingston’s faith group Leaders and their communities asking for their help in finding suitable accommodation for 50 Syrian refugees.

The letter from Councillor Kevin Davis has been timed to coincide with Refugee Week (15-21 June 2015) and is co-signed by the Chair and Vice Chair of Kingston’s Interfaith Forum.  It explains that rents will be paid at competitive rates through housing benefit payments and that refugees housed through the scheme will be supported by a caseworker arranged by the Council and funded by the Home Office.

Councillor Kevin Davis, Leader of Kingston Council, said:

“The impacts of the Syrian conflict are difficult to comprehend.  200,000 Syrians have lost their lives and 11 million have been forced out of their homes. Millions are living in unsanitary tents and makeshift shelters and conditions are said to be deteriorating rapidly. Our Government has given significant money to the relief effort but I believe as an open-hearted community we can do more.

“Local councils can play a small but important part in solving this humanitarian crisis. If 50 council leaders commit with me to resettle 50 people, we transform the lives of many people. I’m delighted that Kingston is amongst a handful of councils to be taking a lead in this and sending a clear signal to other parts of the UK that they too can do more.

“There is already huge pressure on council housing in Kingston, with very long waiting lists. So we need to find another way of identifying homes where refugees could be housed. That’s why I’m starting with the borough’s faith communities by asking them for their support. I am confident that there are enough people in our borough with room in their hearts and their houses to make this work.”

In order to qualify for the funding, homes need to be self contained and available to rent for at least a 12 month period.  People interested in finding out more should contact (before 31 July 2015) David Hill, Kingston Council’s Accommodation Services Lead Officer, on Tel: 020 8547 5412 or email: [email protected]