Landlords are being urged to offer up their homes for families fleeing Afghanistan after only 350 came forward when the crisis began.
Ministers promised to accommodate 20,000 Afghans after the Taliban regained control of the country in August. So far, 4,000 evacuees have been offered homes through the £5m Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, with 5,000 set to be housed in the first year.
But while 300 councils have pledged places, calls for landlords to offer spots have been slower and fewer than 350 came forward between August and November last year, The Big Issue can reveal.
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A Freedom of Information request to the Home Office found around 600 offers were made through the government’s housing portal between August and November. That includes 344 from private individuals and 228 from organisations and a further 37 from other sources.
Now the government has relaunched the housing portal to plead with landlords to help them house refugees. Minister for Afghan resettlement Victoria Atkins said: “I’ve seen first-hand the incredible support available and am so proud of the way communities across the country have thrown their arms around these families, many of whom put themselves at risk to help the UK and our allies in Afghanistan.
“We know these families need a place of their own so they can truly build a life in the UK, but we recognise that finding settled accommodation for so many people is a challenge.