PRIVATE landlords with empty properties are being urged to help Afghanistan families arriving in Wiltshire.

As Wiltshire Council prepares to welcome Afghan refugees to the county, as one of the authorities across the UK offering support during the Afghanistan crisis, it is asking private landlords who have affordable homes, which are ready to let, to get in touch.

The council is already in the process of welcoming three families to Wiltshire as part of the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) which started in April.

This was underway before the recent events in Afghanistan made the situation more urgent.

Now, as the crisis continues, landlords are being invited to offer accommodation by completing a survey detailing types of property available. The council will then keep these details and be in touch if they are needed.

Afghanistan is now under Taliban leadership, after the military group took control of the capital city of Kabul on August 15.

The Prime Minister recently announced that a new Afghan resettlement scheme is being launched, in addition to the current ARAP scheme, to welcome 20,000 refugees to the UK with 5,000 in the first year, and Wiltshire Council says it is committed to help as more details emerge.

Richard Clewer, leader of Wiltshire Council and cabinet member with responsibility for military civilian integration, said: “We are asking private landlords that have a property which is ready to let to get in touch now, so we can have the details to hand if they are needed and add them to the list we are already compiling."

Wiltshire Council leader Richard Clewer (General Elections 2019)

Wiltshire Council leader Richard Clewer (General Elections 2019)


He added: "We are waiting for the government to provide more information, however it will be helpful to know what can be made available.

"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."

Despite waiting for further government guidance, it is the council’s intention to use affordable homes in the private rented sector or properties that are offered, as it did when support was offered to Syrian refugee families.

In the meantime Wiltshire residents have been offering support and donations. Wiltshire Council is asking people to hold on to these goods for the moment and will then advise where and when they can be delivered.

"Overwhelmed with the generosity of people in Wiltshire", Councillor Clewer added: “Thank you again to everyone who has come forward with offers of help.

"For the moment we are waiting for more information from government and we will be providing further details in due course on how people can provide general support.”

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