In the wake of huge public support for refugees, Cambridge City Council has teamed up with the Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign (CRRC) to reach out to private landlords for help.
The Home Office has given permission for the council to use vacant private properties for resettling Syrian refugees and the council is now asking private landlords for their help in accommodating refugees.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Council, said: “Working with private landlords and citizens through the resettlement campaign, to offer accommodation to refugees, is a welcome and important way to expand the numbers of people that Cambridge can rehome.
“Any accommodation offered, of course, will have to meet Home Office expectations and also the council standard. All landlords will receive a rental income.”
Stefan Haselwimmer, Head of the CRRC, said: “Private landlords are keen to help and we’ve had offers of accommodation from a number of private landlords already.
“By working in partnership with the council, we can reach out to all private landlords across the region and turn the public’s desire to help refugees into practical action. If we all think carefully about what we can offer as individuals, we can make a huge difference to how we respond to this humanitarian crisis.”
The council will inspect any properties offered to ensure they are of an appropriate standard and where rents are requested they would have to be affordable under the Home Office scheme, which will be in line with council rents.
All properties must be self-contained units rather than spare rooms, due to Home Office prohibitions against the use of spare rooms for resettling refugees.
The idea for the partnership was inspired by similar initiatives in Heidelberg, Cambridge’s German twin city.
Cllr Herbert added: “Our twin city is using innovative solutions involving the community to deal with the refugee crisis. The enthusiasm and passion of our community really can transform how we respond to the refugee crisis. Coming together as a city and offering sanctuary to those in need is a proud Cambridge tradition.”
Cllr Kevin Price, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “In order to integrate successfully and recover from the trauma they have experienced, refugees will need at least two years security of tenure.
“This would be the minimum period a property would need to be guaranteed for to enable them to settle into the community. The council, through its housing management team, will support the refugees to maintain the properties in good order.”
If you are a landlord or property developer and would like to discuss how you could make a difference, contact Dik Veenman on 07887 651988 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
For other ways to help refugees that are displaced visit the council’s website at: www.cambridge.gov.uk/Syrian-refugees