Afghan refugee Housing Task Force makes progress in securing homes
Media release issued on behalf of members of the Essex Housing Task Force
Councils across Essex are making progress in securing homes for Afghan refugee families now resident in the county, a new Afghan Refugee Housing Task Force has heard.
The Task Force was set up last month to ensure that suitable, sustainable housing is found for Afghan refugees across the county which may include those who are currently in Home Office ‘bridging’ accommodation and to begin preparing the Essex, Southend and Thurrock response to the Government Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme.
At its first meeting the Task Force, Chaired by Essex County Council Leader Kevin Bentley, heard how bringing forward the right sort of housing options was a challenge given the nature of housing in Essex and the size of Afghan families, meaning that larger homes are required from across the housing sector which are in short supply.
However, the task force also heard that 18 homes had so far been identified across the Essex County Council area, and a further 5 in Thurrock. One suitable property has been identified in Southend-on-Sea. This is currently being matched to a family, with more homes being looked at.
With an announcements expected from the Home Office imminently on additional support to enable local housing authorities to secure homes, Cllr Bentley was optimistic that the ‘Team Essex’ approach, which also links with government departments including the Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions would pay off.
He said: “Councils in Essex are committed to making sure we provide all the help and support we can to the Afghan families who risked so much to help British forces and other vulnerable Afghans who had to flee their home country.
“Our mission is to secure the right sort of housing to ensure they get the best possible start to life in the UK.
“Some private landlords have already contacted the councils who lead on the property identification across Essex, and prior to the mass evacuation from Afghanistan the ‘Team Essex’ approach enabled some families to move into their new homes, so we now need to build on that start, and that is what the Task Force will help us do.”
If you wish to consider making an offer of a property please contact your local council responsible for housing or alternatively access the Government Afghanistan Housing portal.