Syrian refugees may soon be resettled in the London Borough of Hackney, following the launch of a foundation set up by a network of community groups in East London.
Charity groups are appealing for Hackney landlords to come forward to house the refugees in rented accommodation. The Sponsor refugees foundation will advise groups who aim to settle refugee families in their neighbourhood, by supporting them as they take on the responsibility of raising funds and finding potential homes for the families. They are also seeking local landlords who might be willing to let their properties to refugee families.
Dr Angela Burnett, a former GP at the Greenhouse practice in Well Street and a member of the Freedom from Torture organisation, was responsible for launching the group’s fundraising appeal. She said: ‘We hope to have approval from Hackney Council which will give us the go-ahead to welcome a Syrian family in the New Year. We have funding and it’s our responsibility to find housing. We are looking for Arabic speakers to help families who need interpreting to meet their needs.’
The families have been identified by the UN and approved for resettlement in the UK by the Home Office. However, the Hackney group would be responsible for the wellbeing of the families for the first two years of them living in the UK. The group’s coordinator Georgina Sheeran said: ‘We have the possibility of a few houses. We want landlords to sign up so that we can sponsor our first family in the New Year.’
Groups who wish to sponsor Syrian refugees on the Home Office list currently need to raise £4,500 for each adult, which is lodged in a bank account. They will then be responsible for finding accommodation, as well as furnishing it and supporting the family for two years.