Council to receive over £1m from Government to help house refugees
30 May 2023 ARCHIVED (over 3 months old) - view latest news
Northumberland County Council is to receive over £1 million from central government to help buy 12 homes for refugees who have been displaced and left homeless by war.
At their latest Cabinet meeting, councillors unanimously agreed to accept a Local Authority Housing Fund (LAHF) grant award of £1,120,827. The council will contribute the matched funding which is required as part of the funding agreement.
The LAHF is a £500m capital grant fund issued by the government to support local authorities in England to provide housing for refugee families who have arrived via Ukrainian and Afghan resettlement relocation schemes.
The fund aims to reduce the emergency and temporary accommodation costs incurred by councils in housing refugees by providing a longer-term accommodation solution and assisting their effective integration into the community.
It is also an aim of the fund that this housing will in time support UK nationals.
Northumberland County Council will use the funding to purchase eight, 2 and 3 bedroomed properties for Ukraine visitor households that now need to move into their own independent housing. It will also be used to purchase four, 4 bedroomed properties which will be allocated to Afghan households. These will be rented out at an affordable rent.
Under the Homes For Ukraine scheme, UK sponsor households agreed to house refugees fleeing the war with Russia for a minimum of six months from March 2022. But councils are now seeing rising numbers of families presenting as homeless, as their placements end and families struggle with the rising cost of living, overcrowding and a shortage of rental housing.
Northumberland County Councillor Colin Horncastle, cabinet member with responsibility for housing said:
“We are fortunate to live in a peaceful part of the world and like most communities across the country we have offered our assistance to support those who have been displaced by conflict which has destroyed their homeland and their livelihoods.
“Many Ukranian families have found homes in the county through the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme and some Afghan families have also arrived through resettlement schemes.
“The statutory responsibility to provide accommodation if refugees become homeless when in the county rests with the council and it is anticipated that this will become an increasing challenge particularly when host households under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, for whatever reason, decide to end the arrangement.
“The acceptance of the government funding will help the county’s humanitarian duties to assist those fleeing the atrocities of war while ultimately providing a lasting legacy by increasing the supply of council owned accommodation available for the future.”