CDC offers to rehome Syrian refugee families
Release date: 19 November 2015
Cotswold District Council has responded to the Government’s request to all local authorities to assist in resettling vulnerable Syrian refugees.
Meeting on 19 November, the CDC Cabinet pledged to support and accommodate five security-cleared refugee families in the Cirencester and/or Moreton-in-Marsh areas (subject to availability of housing).
The Council’s preferred option is to provide privately-rented long-term self-contained accommodation. The housing team is in the process of sourcing suitable options, ensuring that they would be adequately furnished and that families would be provided with essentials such as bedding, towels and crockery. The team is also putting together a package of support to ensure a smooth transition and on-going support from the Council.
Cllr Sue Coakley, the CDC Cabinet Member for Health, Environment and Communities looks forward to welcoming refugee families to the District:
“I am very pleased that we are responding positively to what is a major international crisis, as I think it is morally right that we should. We have undertaken a lot of preparatory work and believe that we can rehome five refugee families over a phased period. This offer is subject to receiving full government support and funding.”
Cllr Sue Jepson, the CDC Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing, adds:
“I can reassure residents that we will keep this arrangement under review, including any impact upon public services in Cotswold District. We are taking all possible steps to ensure that any impact on communities and on our housing waiting list will be kept to an absolute minimum. With this in mind, our preference is to use private sector accommodation or, if required, hard-to-let social housing.”
A Councillor and Officer task group, set up at the beginning of September, has been investigating the issues arising from the refugee crisis and how CDC can support the Government’s general policy whilst considering the impacts upon its residents, infrastructure and services. The Council has also been liaising with other Gloucestershire-based local authorities as part of a countywide response group.
Information about how residents can support the resettlement of Syrian refugees, including details of how to donate to agencies such as the Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS), is available at www.cotswold.gov.uk/residents/communities/support-for-refugees.
For more details about GARAS see www.garas.org.uk
The Government has committed to receive 20,000 Syrian refugees over the period of the current Parliament (including 1,000 by the end of December 2015). Refugees will be given leave to remain in the UK for five years, with full recourse to public funds. Rehoming and resettlement costs will be met from the international aid budget.
The Home Office’s latest advice is that the need should focus on families. There is currently a limited requirement to rehome Syrian orphans and unaccompanied children, as the UN believes that there is a much better chance of locating their parents or closest relatives if they are accommodated and cared for near the camps where they first presented themselves.