Thousands of private landlords will need to step forward to provide accommodation for refugees if the Government is to have any hope of resettling up to 20,000 refugees, campaigners have warned.
Citizens UK is calling for 10,000 private landlords to provide quality housing for refugees after a U-Turn by David Cameron expanded a Government scheme for resettling vulnerable refugees to take 20,000 in five years.
Under the existing Home Office scheme, more than a dozen councils have already made offers to resettle Syrian refugees or have already been doing so. However, Citizens UK is warning that local councils “desperately need landlords” to agree to help house new arrivals. George Gabriel, a campaigner with a coalition of faith groups and grassroots activists, said an “outpouring of support from the public” had encouraged local authorities to act, but that there was a critical shortage of suitable accommodation.
The pressure group is calling for landlords to offer family-sized rental properties on three-year tenancies to provide “stable” accommodation for refugees. Crucially, landlords would need to agree to rent being paid at the Local Housing Allowance Rate paid, which is often below the market rate in some areas.
The rent will be paid by local councils, who get Home Office funding for the first year, or under a EU scheme for placing vulnerable refugees.
So far, 464 landlords have signed up the scheme, including Ky Le Vuong, 36, a partner in a letting agency who owns several properties outside of Glasgow. She told The Independent: “My family were refugees from Vietnam and if they hadn’t been able to come here, I wouldn’t be in a position to be able to give back these opportunities.”