Right-To-Buy Incentives Central Housing Group

Afghan resettlement scheme: More help is needed – post originally by NRLA

Hundreds of councils have pledged to house Afghan refugees, but more help is needed. In this blog the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities explains how landlords can get involved.

Hundreds of councils have pledged support to house Afghan refugees, but more help is needed.

As you will be aware, the UK committed to welcome thousands of Afghans fleeing from the Taliban to safety in the UK.

With government support, more than 300 councils have so far pledged their support as part of Operation Warm Welcome.

Moving into their own accommodation is an important part of building a life in the UK and we often hear from the families that have done so, what a difference it makes to them.

Recently, a family in Oxford told us how special it was to move into their ‘lovely and furnished house’ during the Eid celebrations, and they commented on how warm the welcome was from the council and voluntary groups.

But with many Afghans still in temporary bridging accommodation, and the Ukraine crisis putting extra pressure on resources, further support is needed.

We are calling on landlords and owners of suitable properties to work with us by making offers of accommodation and becoming part of a UK-wide effort to provide settled homes for Afghan individuals and families.

We make this call, alongside our continued work to engage with stakeholders across the Private Rented Sector to seek support for the Afghan and other refugee cohorts in accessing housing in this space.

How you can help:

Many landlords have already offered properties, either directly to councils, or via a central Government housing portal and we are extremely grateful for all these offers.

As the situation in Afghanistan has developed and the number of people coming to the UK has increased, we continue to need homes of all sizes.

We are especially looking for properties with four bedrooms or more and for properties for single people to suit the needs of those arriving.

What a suitable offer of accommodation looks like:

If you have a property or multiple properties that meet the requirements below, then please consider making an offer:

  • self-contained with no shared facilities
  • available for a period of at least 12 months
  • meets national legal standards
  • not be a hotel or student halls of residence

How to submit an offer of housing:

The government has set up an online portal to allow people to submit offers of housing support. Please note arrangements differ for Northern Ireland. If your property is based in Northern Ireland, please contact the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) about your offer.

The form will ask you a series of questions about yourself as the provider, and the property or properties you are offering. The questions are designed to provide councils with the information they need to consider a property offer.

You can use the portal to submit single or multiple property offers, including offers across different councils. At this stage, information provided is only intended to assess viability of potential offers and does not need to be definitive or final.

This portal can be accessed via gov.uk at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-housing-portal-offers-of-support

If you have any technical issues or queries relating to the status of your property offer, please contact housingportal@communities.gov.uk

What happens next:

Offers received through the online portal will be reviewed and passed on to the relevant council.

Councils will then make an initial assessment of the property offer based on the information provided.

If the property offer is deemed to be suitable, the council will get back to you as soon as possible to arrange a discussion and ask for further information ahead of the matching process.

Discussions on terms of tenancy will take place between the landlord and council.

Due to significant time pressures, some councils will only contact you if your property is assessed to be appropriate for the scheme.

An alternative pathway:

We recently established the Find Your Own Accommodation scheme. This enables Afghans to find their own accommodation whilst retaining the financial and non-financial support they would normally get from a council.

We would welcome any advice that could be provided to them on overcoming barriers to renting in the UK. One of the blockers we would welcome your view on is Afghans finding it difficult to find a guarantor.

Wider support available for recent arrivals from Afghanistan:

There are two schemes to support people from Afghanistan to resettle in the UK:

  • The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) offers priority relocation to the UK to any current or former locally employed staff who are assessed to be under serious threat to life.
  • The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) provides vulnerable refugees from Afghanistan and those put at risk by recent events in Afghanistan with a route to safety.

Those being resettled will have the right to rent in the UK and will receive a generous resettlement and integration offer that will support individuals to acclimatise to the UK, learn English and find work.

The integration package provided covers the vital health, education, support into employment and accommodation needed to reach rapid self-sufficiency and fully integrate into society.

We would like to thank all those who have provided offers of housing so far. Settled accommodation is a crucial and urgent step in supporting individuals and their families in rebuilding their lives in the UK.

Blog Post from NRLA

See details of our Guaranteed Rent Scheme here

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