Tandridge District Council – Press Release 18 Jan 17


Tandridge District Council Press Release 18.1.17

Council to support government funded Syrian refugee resettlement programme

Last night’s Housing Committee, agreed to support the government’s Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement programme (VPR). Tandridge District Council will offer to assist up to 10 Syrian refugee households over a five year period, subject to the availability of suitable properties and the capacity of the Family Support Team to provide the necessary support.

The government has pledged to resettle 20,000 refugees over five years from refugee camps bordering Syria and has invited all councils to participate. The programme is targeted to help the most vulnerable households in the camps identified by the Home Office, which handles their refugee applications and carries out the screening and vetting checks before they come to the UK.

The Council will need to provide a home for any family for at least the first 12 months from their date of arrival. The Council intends to use private sector housing, rather than council housing, to make sure these properties are still available for residents on the housing register, although some harder to let sheltered housing may be used.

In addition to providing a home, the Council would also need to provide support and assistance to a household to enable them to adapt to a new country and integrate into the local community. This would involve specialist casework support and assistance with access to education, health care and language skills.

Over time it is expected that households would become less dependent and more self-sufficient, particularly in terms of securing employment and be in a position to secure their own accommodation longer term.

Within Surrey, eight of the 11 districts have so far joined the VPR programme.  Participating councils receive funding from the Home Office to cover their associated costs.

Councillor David Weightman, Chairman of the Housing Committee, said: “As a council it is our duty to support Syrian refugees, but we need to ensure we have the resources to help these families settle successfully. We don’t want to impose a financial burden on our residents or disadvantage local families in housing need in the district.”

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