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Landlord urges others to offer homes to refugee families

A landlord has set out why he helped a refugee family resettle through renting one of his properties.

The landlord - who has not been named - took in the Syrian family as part of a scheme run by Gloucestershire Strategic Housing Partnership, which is made up of all the councils in Gloucestershire.

The councils are now resettling 35 Afghan households under the Home Office Locally Employed Staff Resettlement Scheme in a project partnered by GARAS -  Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

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The landlord says: “For some time I had wanted to help a refugee family settle in the UK. GARAS came and took the details and things moved very swiftly from then on. 

“I did all the usual landlord things, such as gas and electricity safety checks, but GARAS did the things I could not do. They liaised with the Home Office, carried out all the legal paperwork and when the family had been found, GARAS met them at the airport, brought them to the house and settled them in and have provided ongoing support. 

“It went very smoothly and efficiently. 

“I have now become friends with a lovely Syrian family, who do all the things that a landlord requires: rent payment on time, care of the house and regular communication when issues arise. For me, it is a win-win situation.”

Through the Afghan resettlement scheme - which the Gloucestershire council say will operate in the same way as the Syrian example- refugee families are supported for one year, during which time they will have undertaken their habitual residence test with the Department of Work and Pensions, and the main applicant will then have leave to enter or stay in the UK.

As well as providing homes, the scheme also has a number of benefits for landlords, including rent in advance m paid directly to the landlord, plus set up costs for furnishings.

The Gloucestershire councils are particularly looking for properties with two or three bedrooms.

Ruth Saunders, chair of the Gloucestershire Strategic Housing Partnership, says: “If you own a property for rent please do consider signing up to this scheme and help vulnerable families who in many cases risked their safety to support our armed forces. If you have any questions, our friendly, award-winning resettlement team is on hand to answer any questions you may have.”

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