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Safe havens needed for refugees fleeing conflict

Lewisham Council is looking for landlords who can help us provide homes for refugees fleeing conflict and persecution.

The Council is committed to resettling families whose lives have been decimated by conflict and we need support from the community and our local landlords.

Lewisham has so far resettled 33 families who are victims of the conflict in Syria and the wider Middle East.

Under the new UK Resettlement Scheme, we want to continue to offer a safe and legal route for vulnerable refugees from Syria and around the world.

Lewisham is looking for landlords to provide 24 month tenancies at Local Housing Allowance rates or lower. The Council is looking to resettle families and are primarily seeking 2 and 3 bedroom properties, but all properties will be considered.

Landlords will receive a steady income plus the peace of mind knowing their property is being put to good use and a support network for their tenants with a dedicated support worker to ensure a successful tenancy.

Councillor Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Member for Democracy, Refugees and Accountability, said:

“The Syrian War created the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War and we all have a part to play in helping refugees who are victims of conflict. We are reaching out to landlords who can help us provide safety and protection for these very vulnerable people by supplying suitable accommodation.

“With support and the stability of a home these refugees are able turn their lives around and make an important contribution to our community.”

Lewisham has a proud history of supporting refugees and migrants, and was named a Council of Sanctuary by the national charity City of Sanctuary in May this year. This is the first time a council has been awarded this honour.

The Syrian conflict has been ongoing since 2011 with more than 380,000 civilians killed in the violence.

An estimated 10 million people have been forced to leave their homes to seek safety with four million leaving the country entirely, creating an international crisis.

The Council voted unanimously in favour of participating in the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, under which we agree to resettle refugees, in September 2016.

In 2021, the UK Government revised the UK Resettlement Scheme to resettle victims of conflict from across the world. We envisage the majority of those resettled will continue to be Syrian refugees.

Under the national programme, funded by the Home Office, resettled people will be granted a five year ‘Humanitarian Visa’ entitling them to housing benefits and the right to work.

If you think you might be able to help or would like to know more, email Gloria.Coker@lewisham.gov.uk

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