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Supporting Afghan and Ukrainian families in Elmbridge

Supporting Afghan and Ukrainian families in Elmbridge

Update from Cabinet 14 September

Supporting Afghan and Ukrainian families in Elmbridge

We continue to provide support for over 200 Afghan refugees temporarily residing in the borough in bridging accommodation, working in partnership with the voluntary and community sector, schools, the NHS and Surrey County Council, among others.   

Recent initiatives have included helping families understand more about UK culture to help them settle into their new life here  

Astounding response from residents in support of Ukraine

Elmbridge residents have provided an astounding response and as of 7 September, 190 Ukrainian families, comprising 390 individuals have been hosted in our residents’ homes through the Homes for Ukraine scheme. 

Our officers have facilitated this programme by initiating over 300 DBS checks and carrying out over 400 visits to properties, while also arranging ‘thank-you’ payments to hosts in excess of £130,000. 

We have also issued over 340 payment cards to refugees on their arrival and funded Elmbridge CAN to employ two support workers to assist our Ukrainian guests.  Later this month, a third support worker will start working with the North Surrey Family Support Team.

We are mindful that some of the hosting arrangements are approaching the six-month mark. We know that the uncertainty about housing is unsettling for guests and hosts alike and we have been waiting for Government to set out its post-sponsorship strategy. 

We will be writing to Ministers to express our concerns and make clear the difficulties that this is posing for the families, hosts and local authorities. We will also push for changes to the scheme to help incentivise sponsors to continue to host and to properly resource move-on accommodation where placements can’t continue.  We want to avoid a situation where hosting arrangements end without suitable alternative housing in place for the guests and we are working with partner agencies to minimise the likelihood of homelessness, including Elmbridge CAN who have a pool of reserve sponsors to help house our guests.  

Additionally, we are helping families into the private-rented accommodation where this is a suitable option for them, as well as reaching out to housing providers across Elmbridge to ask for their help too.  If any private landlord would like to help, please get in touch.

Cllr Neil Houston, Portfolio Holder for Housing

September 2022

 

 

 

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