Council asks landlords to offer homes to help 50 Syrian refugees

We are appealing to landlords in the community to come forward and offer self-contained properties for Syrian refugees, identified by the United Nations as vulnerable.

Competitive rents will be offered within Local Housing Allowance Rates. Refugees housed through the scheme will be supported by a caseworker, arranged by the Council and funded by the Home Office.

The government is asking every area to do what they can to help on humanitarian grounds and recognises that many areas like Kingston will also have their own urgent housing pressures. With this in mind, the help available will be targeted on supporting a limited number of refugees that are referred through the national government scheme.

Syrian refugees who are eligible to be rehoused in this scheme are all currently living in the Middle East. They will be screened for security issues. These vulnerable people could have endured torture or violence, they may have physical or medical needs or be women and girls at risk. Some will speak English but mostly will be fluent in Arabic, with good levels of education and be from from various religious backgrounds. 

Councillor Kevin Davis, Leader of Kingston Council, said: 

“The Syrian refugee crisis is as urgent as ever. Millions continue to live in unsanitary tents and makeshift shelters. The harsh winter conditions makes their lives very difficult indeed. While our government has given significant money to the relief effort, I firmly believe our community can also contribute in its own way.

“We could transform the lives of 50 people by finding suitable, self-contained homes in our borough. 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 more needs to be done.

“We appreciate there are long waiting lists for our existing stock of council housing. That is why we are appealing to landlords in the area, for their support to help us find around 15 properties to house the families and individuals who make up this group of 50 Syrian refugees.” 

In order to qualify for the funding, homes need to be self-contained and available to rent for at least a 12 month period.  

The funding for the relocations is being provided through the Home Office’s Vulnerable Person's Relocation Scheme.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees identifies Syrian refugees to be put forward for the relocation scheme. They are screened for security and assessed to meet the criteria including being victims of torture or violence, women and girls at risk, and having physical or medical needs.

More information for potential landlords: see housing Syrian refugees.