Housing Syrian refugees

Elmbridge Borough Council has pledged to resettle between 5 and 15 Syrian refugee families under the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme (SVPRS) run by the UK Government.  The Council has already helped 5 families who have fled the war in Syria. Through this Government-funded scheme each family receives support for five years from their date of arrival. The scheme will stop taking new arrivals by 31 March 2020, so any new families would have to be resettled before then.

We already secure accommodation and provide caseworker support for refugee families, for at least 12 months, after their arrival in the UK.  The Home Office provides funding to help us resettle the families who are being granted 5-year Humanitarian Protection visas.

If you would like to help, please read on.

Property to let

We are looking for properties in the Private Rented Sector that would not otherwise be let to a local family in housing need in Elmbridge.  We do this so that existing housing and homelessness pressures for local people already here are not affected.  

If you own a property, that you would like to let to a Syrian family, please make sure that it meets the following criteria:

  •  a self-contained dwelling
  •  in a reasonable condition
  •  available for at least 12 months
  •  available before 31 March 2020
  •  ideally near transport links, or within walking distance of main services or shops
  •  located within Elmbridge.

If you feel you may have a suitable property, contact housingpolicy@elmbridge.gov.uk or telephone 01372 474216, providing the following details:

  • the date the property will be available
  • between what dates the property will be available
  • the number of bedrooms
  • the property's location
  • what rent, if any, you would expect  
  • your full contact details, including your name and address, mobile telephone number and email contact.

If you would like to consider letting a property under this scheme, you can download an information sheet for prospective landlords.

Room(s) to let

The UK Government is not asking people to come forward with offers of a spare bedroom.

However, if you do have a suitable spare bedroom you can still register your details, in case this is something the Government considers in future.  If this is the case contact housingpolicy@elmbridge.gov.uk with the following:

  • the property's location
  • how many other people live in the property  
  • how many spare rooms you may have to offer, if needed
  • your full contact details, including your name and address, mobile telephone number and email contact.

There are also several organisations in the UK that run hosting projects, to help vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees. Contact housingpolicy@elmbridge.gov.uk for details of these organisations.

Donate cash or items

The Government has said the best way to help refugees is to donate cash to humanitarian organisations or charities that are already working with refugees.  See the Government website for the main charities accepting donations.

If you would like to donate items, such as clothes, bedding or furniture, there are local initiatives, led by local residents and faith groups, that are arranging collections.  To find out more contact Elmbridge CAN, a community group set up by local residents to help welcome refugees to Elmbridge.

You can also donate items to shops run by charities, where the money raised through selling the items will also help support refugees.

Foster a child

Surrey County Council is recruiting foster carers, including for unaccompanied asylum seeking children. You can find out more from Surrey County Council's Fostering Service.

Volunteer to help

For volunteering opportunities, with charities and organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, please visit the Government website.

In addition to Elmbridge CAN, Refugee Action Kingston is a local charity providing advice and support for refugees and asylum seekers in Kingston and the surrounding area, which includes Elmbridge.

Find out more

See the Government website for further information or contact the British Red Cross which runs a dedicated telephone line (0800 107 8727) to answer questions on how you can support refugees in the UK.

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