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Londoners asked to rent spare homes to Syrian refugees

The chair of London Councils has asked Londoners if they would be able to offer their empty homes to house Syrian families escaping violence in their home country.

Speaking at the London Councils Summit this past weekend, Cllr Claire Kober OBE said there are not enough homes available to house families due to arrive under the government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme (SVPRP), which aims to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK by 2020.

Londoners letting out their homes would receive rent at Local Housing Allowance rates, amounting to as much as £417 a week for a four bedroom property.

Cllr Kober, who took over as chair of London Councils in July, said: “We have all been appalled by the suffering we’ve seen on our TV screens from Syria and I know many people want to do more to help. Now is their chance.

“If you have an empty property in London that you’d be willing to rent out, I urge you to contact your council. You may not have let the property out before but – if it is filled – your generosity could make a huge difference to a refugee family.”

The lack of affordable housing available in London presents an enormous barrier to resettling refugee families in a sustainable manner.

Funding for refugees is limited by the cap on Local Housing Allowance rates and also the cap on total benefits, making it difficult to find properties for larger refugee families in particular.

Cllr Kober stated that while Londoners have already been “incredibly generous” in their donations of money and offers to volunteer, additional homes are now necessary to house the refugees.

(Image: c. Kerstin Joensson)

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