Essex, including Chelmsford, has taken in around 80 Afghan refugees. These are mostly former interpreters, who served with British Forces in Afghanistan, and their families.
These are people who put their own lives in danger to help British soldiers and we welcome them.
Essex County Council received an overwhelming amount of donations over the summer. There is currently no need for donations of clothing, toys, toiletries and other items.
At the moment, some of the families are living temporarily in hotels. We are working with Essex County Council and the Home Office to find suitable homes for these new residents. To do this, we need help from landlords and community groups.
We need properties which are:
- fully self-contained, with their own front door, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and living rooms
- available to rent for at least 12 months
- close to local amenities like shops, schools and public transport
- two, three or four bedrooms (there may be a small number of refugees needing one-bedroom homes)
In addition, your property must:
- meet legal accommodation standards and we will inspect it to check this
- have a rent cost at, or very close to, the Local Housing Allowance
There may be some financial assistance for landlords to help meet the cost of suitable homes being held empty. There may also be help to bridge some of the gap between the cost of rent and Local Housing Allowance.
If you have a suitable property, we will work with Essex County Council to make sure families can access doctors and schools in the area. We will also plan support to help families settle. Then we will pass on your details to the Home Office.
The Home Office will match your property with one of the families living in a hotel. This may be a family who are currently staying in a different county.
You may be able to help as part of a Community Sponsorship Scheme if you think your local community group can:
- identify a property that would be a suitable home for a family
- provide support to help them settle
This may take a while to plan and set up, but can help those who haven’t arrived in the UK yet. You can find out more on the GOV.UK website.