Following the successful appeal for donations to support Afghan refugees, the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead is inviting the support of private sector landlords to help provide places for refugees to call home.
The council is participating in the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy, providing safe refuge to Afghan staff who supported UK operations and HM Armed Forces in Afghanistan but whose lives are now sadly under serious threat.
The council’s Housing Service is giving private sector landlords the opportunity to play an important role in the response by offering accommodation for refugees. Officers would like to hear from anyone who can make available self-contained housing, of any kind, including for singles, couples and families.
Support will be provided through the council’s Private Rented Access Scheme, which works with landlords and households who are on a low income or are in receipt of welfare support. The scheme provides landlords and tenants with a range of support services to create sustainable tenancies.
Councillor Ross McWilliams, cabinet member for housing, said: “Since announcing we’d be supporting some of the Afghan refugees in the Royal Borough, we’ve been overwhelmed by the heart-warming response and generosity from the community. “Having fled their home country, refugee households are keen to find a safe and stable place to call home and settle within a local community.
“A number of landlords have already got in touch to ask if they could help the refugee families, who themselves supported UK operations and HM Armed Forces in Afghanistan, and so we’re opening up this opportunity to the whole landlord community.
“Any support is most welcome and will enable us to accommodate further refugee households. Our excellent work with partners to address rough sleeping, homelessness and support people during the pandemic has, of course, had a knock-on impact on the availability of suitable accommodation.
“Whether you’re an experienced landlord or have never let a room before but think you could assist with suitable self-contained accommodation, our Housing Service can support you every step of the way.”
Under the Private Rented Access Scheme, landlords can receive free advice on tenancy issues and good letting practice including:
- Right to Rent guide
- HMO licences
- Energy efficiency
- Deregulation Act 2015
- Ongoing advice for Landlords through the life of the tenancy and appropriate signposting where required
If you would like to know more about the scheme or offer housing for refugees, please contact the council’s Private Rented Sector Officer by email at housing@RBWM.gov.uk
Closure of donations drop-off point
The drop-off point for in-kind donations to support the Afghan refugees has now closed at John West House, following a huge response to the appeal. The council would like to thank the community for their generosity.
In just two weeks, people have given around 1,000 bags of donations, ranging from clothing, to toiletries, to baby items.
Any in-kind donations which are surplus to the needs of Afghan refugees resettling in the local area will be distributed to wider refugee groups or homeless households in need.
People wishing to make cash donations to support the resettlement scheme can still give to the Slough Refugee Support, an established charity which provides practical help to refugees across the Thames Valley.
Donations can be made online at www.sloughrefugeesupport.org.uk where there is further information about ways to donate, or you can call 01753 537142 for more information. Monetary donations should be referenced “Afghan refugees”.