Shropshire Council has joined more than 100 councils across the UK that have informed the government it will accept refugees from the current crisis and support them. Shropshire has a good track record in rehousing refugees.
This crisis, like so many others, has moved so many of us to tears. Even more so with yesterday’s events at the gates of Kabul International Airport.
The arrival of refugees is not a tomorrow crisis. It is a today crisis. The first refugees have arrived in the UK and thousands more will continue to arrive for days, perhaps for weeks. One of the first cohorts arrived in Hertfordshire and the local community reaction has been inspiring.
What we need now is housing. It is a good deal for landlords. The government covers costs and the refuges get state support. However, offers of single rooms and shared accommodation are ruled out. Given the pressure on social housing only private lets have been previously considered but this time the council is asking its arm’s length housing association STAR to look for housing.
When refugees fled from Syria in 2014, Shropshire took in 94 Syrians and Telford and Wrekin 56. That’s 150 people able to start new lives in safety, free from oppression and war. Our Syrians have settled well and have become part of our communities, learning, working and contributing.
We don’t have yet an indication of the number of Afghan refugees that Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin will be expected to receive. There is huge confusion as the chaos and threat in Kabul continues. Home Secretary Priti Patel has committed to just 5,000 refugees in the first year. That’s just seven for each parliamentary constituency. That does not address the scale of the emergency. We must take more refugees, more quickly.
The refugees coming to the UK will often have high education qualifications. Not all. But they won’t have trouble finding work. We have a significant labour shortage in sectors where jobs were for decades filled by workers from the European Union, harvesting and the hospitality industry among them.
But what we are short of is houses and apartments. These should come from private landlords. Shropshire Council has asked Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing (STAR Housing) who manage the council’s housing stock to look for housing. That won’t be popular with the thousands on the waiting list. The council should set up a dedicated team to hunt rental properties in the private sector.
There are many empty properties in Ludlow and I hope that some of these can be offered for refugees. Rental rates will range from around £400 a month for two bedrooms to £800 for four bedrooms. That’s a bit lower than the market rate here but the rental will be guaranteed. For more details and to offer properties contact email@example.com 07458 074329.
We have shown during the pandemic that Ludlow can organise huge support at short notice. I am sure our open hearted and tolerant town will support any refugees that arrive. We are a good town to home refugees and I hope we can play our small part in tackling the latest refugee crisis.
The Home Office has told the council that we currently cannot resettle Afghan families into people’s homes (as in renting rooms or sharing a house).
However, if you have space that you are willing to share with an asylum seeker, then the leaving care and foster care teams are always looking for rooms for young unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. Older ones can often manage in supported living accommodation, and younger ones will have to be rehomed into foster care.
If you want more details, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your phone number and the details of your offer.
If you can speak any Middle Eastern languages, particularly Pashto, Arabic, Kurdish Sourani, Farsi and Dari, please email email@example.com.
If you have any other offers of support including access to your service, your business service, offers to do with health or mental health of refugees, collaborations, or any other reason not stated, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.