St Albans to welcome refugees after accommodation finalised

PUBLISHED: 12:43 16 March 2016 | UPDATED: 12:43 16 March 2016

A Syrian man plays with his one-year child (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

A Syrian man plays with his one-year child (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Accommodation for refugees has finally been secured by the district council as part of their commitment to welcome up to 10 a year.

There has been lots of fundraising locally to support refugees, including a fun day organised by Herts for RefugeesThere has been lots of fundraising locally to support refugees, including a fun day organised by Herts for Refugees

Two homes, which will provide accommodation for up to eight refugees, have been organised by St Albans district council and should be ready by the end of the month.

The council has committed to taking in about 10 refugees a year in the next five years, and refugee families could be arriving in the district from May.

The properties were offered by the Network Housing Group (NGH), a housing association that manages affordable homes.

The accommodation needed for the other refugees is still to be confirmed, but a spokesman for the district council said they had stopped actively looking for landlords as there was some other property in the pipeline.

Cllr Simon Grover introduced the idea of St Albans joining the Government’s resettlement scheme for refugees at a meeting in early 2015.

He said: “It’s fantastic news that two homes have finally been found in the district, and will be repaired to bring them up to standard. We’re committed to helping about 10 people a year for the next five years.

“It’s not much compared to the size of the problem in Syria, but if every council did what we’re doing, we’d make a significant difference. People on the housing list in St Albans won’t be adversely affected as we’re not using council houses for this project.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is responsible for identifying suitable Syrian families to come to the district.

Once here, the Refugee Council has appointed a manager to look after the interests of Syrian refugees in Herts while the county council will find school places.

An update on these issues is to be given to a meeting of the council’s cabinet today (Thursday).

Cllr Brian Ellis, portfolio holder for housing, said: “We are committed as a council to do our but to help with the refugee crisis.

“Securing suitable homes for refugees was an essential requirement and we have been working hard to achieve this.

“This is a very important humanitarian cause and we know that it receives widespread support across the district.”


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