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Wiltshire Council – ‘helping Afghan families will not impact on affordable homes for local people’

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WILTSHIRE Council is explaining how a call out for private rented properties to help Afghan families will not impact on the affordable homes to house Wiltshire households. 

The council is asking private landlords who have affordable homes that are ready to let to get in touch, as the council prepares to welcome Afghan families to Wiltshire.  

The council is one of many local authorities across the UK that have offered to provide homes to families who are fleeing Afghanistan. Wiltshire Council has already received a number of offers of support from landlords who would like to offer their homes to Afghan families. 

 The council reports, “People who live in Wiltshire who need affordable homes join the council’s housing waiting list Homes4wilts and then bid for available affordable homes.  

“Those who are successful in bidding for affordable homes are referred by the council to the affordable housing provider. The Afghan families will not be included in that process.  

“Instead, they will move into private rented homes the same as any other household in Wiltshire who is looking for a suitable home in the private rented sector. The council can’t control whether landlords want to offer their homes to Afghan families or not but is asking those who may have a home to come forward. The council will then identify suitable homes and provide the support so the Afghan family can take up the tenancy.” 

Leader of Wiltshire Council and cabinet member with responsibility for military civilian integration, cllr Richard Clewer, adds, “We know there are people who want us to help those fleeing Afghanistan and we thank everyone for their support so far. However, understandably there are also those who are struggling to understand how we can house more people when there are people that need an affordable home in Wiltshire. 

“I want to make it really clear that we are specifically asking private landlords to come forward with offers of help. It is our intention to use homes in the private rented sector or properties that are offered to us – as we did when support was offered to Syrian refugee families. 

 “We’re doing this so we don’t impact on those Wiltshire people who have a need for an affordable home and have registered with the council’s Homes4wilts system. We are also talking to the Ministry of Defence about how we could support them using the significant number of empty MOD houses in the county as another option for both Afghan families and for the wider number of Wiltshire people needing a home in the county.” 

 Private landlords can get in touch by using the Wiltshire Council link: https://surveys.wiltshire.gov.uk/snapwebhost/s.asp?k=163051361750 detailing types of property available or use the government portal for housing offers: www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-housing-portal-offers-of-support 

The council will then keep these details and be in touch if they are needed. 

 Meanwhile, people have also been generously offering support and donations. Wiltshire Council is asking people to hold on to these goods for the moment and will say where and when they can be delivered. The government has also set up a national link for those wanting to offer help in this way: www.gov.uk/help-refugees 

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