New Task Force sets sights on securing homes for Afghan families
A new group led by Leaders of the County’s local authorities is committed to finding the right homes for refugees from Afghanistan.
Councils across Essex are uniting through a new Task Force to ensure that suitable, sustainable housing is found for Afghan refugees across the county.
As health, social care and education professionals from the NHS and the County Council work alongside families currently in ‘bridging’ accommodation before they move to permanent homes, district, borough and city councils are already working hard to bring forward the right sort of housing options.
The Task Force, which will be Chaired by the Leader of the County Council, Cllr Kevin Bentley, will seek to continue the ‘Team Essex’ approach which has characterised work to date, linked with government departments including the Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Cllr Bentley said: “Every one of us as Council Leaders has 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 in their home country.
“Providing that support is complicated but the Team Essex providing health, social care, education and housing are already working with families to ensure they get the best possible start to life in the UK.
“We know that housing will be a challenge, given the nature of the market here, but if each local authority area sourced just a handful of homes, we will have met the need. We already have the commitment of the Government to help meet the funding required in a part of the country where housing is not cheap.
“Private landlords have already contacted us, and the first families have already moved to their new homes, so we now need to build on that start, and that is what the Task Force will help us do.”
Cllr Neil Stock OBE, Tendring District Council Leader and Chair of the Essex Leaders and Chief Executives Group, added: “These refugees were supporting our troops and standing by them in Afghanistan, and now we need to stand by them and not shirk our responsibility.
“The Home Office Minister who joined our call was really pleased with what we are already doing across Essex and the positive stance we are taking. We are proud of what we are doing in Tendring and across Essex to make a difference in this difficult situation.”