Press statement from the district council
St Albans City and District Council has signaled its commitment to supporting Syrian refugees as part of the Government’s recently announced scheme.
Over the past few weeks, lots of local residents and groups have contacted the Council offering help and seeking information. Many local people are clearly concerned for the plight of the refugees, and keen to offer help.
The Council is ready to play its part in any nationally agreed and coordinated approach to supporting refugees.
Following the Cabinet meeting on Thursday 24 September, leaders from all the Council’s political groups met to discuss the matter and give their support.
Overall, the Government has indicated that it will be taking 20,000 people over 5 years. If shared equally across all areas of the country, this might mean about 100 people a year coming to Hertfordshire, or 10 per District. It is not yet clear how decisions on where people will live will be made so it could be more or fewer.
We will be talking to neighbouring councils to ensure support offered is joined up. Where possible, we hope to be able to welcome people from the same family or community to help people feel more at home. We recognise this is a long term commitment if conditions in Syria remain as they are.
Locally, the Council’s most pressing need is to find suitable self-contained accommodation.
We have received offers from local people who want to offer refugees rooms in their family homes. The Home Office scheme does not extend to shared accommodation of this type. This is because there are various issues to consider related to the safeguarding of vulnerable people.
Since we already have a long waiting list for housing in our own council properties, we are looking to accommodate refugees in the private rented sector.
We are therefore particularly keen to hear from anyone who is able to offer self-contained accommodation to house a refugee family locally. To contact the Council about this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone 01727 819355.
Some people may be able to offer accommodation for free. But the Council also wants to hear from people with appropriate property to rent, as we expect the Government will provide a contribution towards that cost. We are awaiting further details from the Government about this.