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“Help Syrian refugees” appeals St Albans council

A fresh appeal is being made to landlords who can provide accommodation for Syrian refugees in the St Albans District.

St Albans City and District Council hopes to settle ten refugees a year over the next five years.

This may be two or three families per year depending on family size.

Finding private accommodation in has been difficult, a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet was told at its meeting on Tuesday 22 December.

Councillor Brian Ellis, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: "We are appealing to private landlords in the District to help us with this extremely good cause.

"In the autumn, we wrote to local landlords with experience of housing tenants on housing benefit, asking them if they could offer accommodation.

"A small number came forward, but unfortunately the properties were not suitable and we are now trying again. We are hoping that we will hear from other landlords so we can prepare for the arrival of the first refugees next year.

"If you think you have got something suitable at market rent, then, please contact us."

The Council has already set aside £25,000 from one of its community funds to support resettlement.

The Home Office will also be involved in moving refugees to suitable locations.

Once the Council has accepted a family, their arrival into the UK will take approximately six weeks.

Councillor Julian Daly, Leader of St Albans City and District Council, said: "A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to pave the way for the arrival of Syrian refugees.

"The Council as a whole is committed to this humanitarian effort as are a number of community groups.

"We are now looking to form a partnership that can deal efficiently with all the issues involved.

"Next year, we are likely to see the first Syrian refugees arrive in the District and our preparations are well underway."

Interested landlords are asked to email housingoptionsgroup@stalbans.gov.uk or telephone 01727 819355.

Written by Isaac Ouro

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