27 Sep Afghan families being supported through government resettlement programme
Last week (23 September 2021) Essex County Council has published an update on Afghan families, who are being supported by the government, moving into ‘bridging’ accommodation at a hotel in Harlow.
The update can be read at: https://www.essex.gov.uk/news/harlow-becomes-latest-essex-town-to-welcome-afghan-refugees
Councillor Andrew Johnson, Leader of Harlow Council, said:
“Afghan families have been placed in a hotel in Harlow temporarily by the Home Office after leaving quarantine. The families are being supported by the government through the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy, having been ‘locally employed staff’ in Afghanistan working alongside our armed forces and officials. Hotels across the country, including within Essex, have been set up by the Home Office as ‘bridging accommodation’ to support families before they move to permanent homes. We expect that these families will slowly be resettled in other areas in the country as suitable permanent accommodation is secured.
“While the families stay in Harlow they will be looked after with wraparound support and welfare services provided by Essex County Council and their partner agencies. We are working with Essex County Council to provide support and we know our residents and other local organisations will want to help where they can too. Donations coordinated by the Red Cross in Essex are still paused, while the existing items given so generously by Essex residents are distributed. Announcements will follow as soon as more donations can be made again including setting up a donation point in Harlow.
“The Home Office has also announced details of the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), which sits alongside the existing Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy. ACRS will provide protection for people at risk and identified as in need. We believe that every area in the UK can do its bit to support the government’s efforts to help Afghan families resettle in this country.
“We have made no secret of the fact that we have an acute shortage of suitable council housing available. Therefore we have already worked with private landlords to find suitable properties to support the government’s efforts. We have identified and put forward two homes in the private sector, which can potentially support and welcome two families to resettle here. Finding suitable accommodation is a challenge, because as well as a shortage of council housing, there is currently a shortage of private sector housing in Harlow. Councils across Essex including Harlow are working together under a new task force announced last week to bring forward the right sort of homes.”