Help Needed To Settle A Syrian Refugee Family

St Paul's Church in Grove Park needs assistance finding suitable accommodation


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The community at St Paul's Church in Grove Park is helping to welcome a Syrian refugee family to settle in Chiswick in the near future.

The Church is supporting efforts to welcome 10 Syrian refugee families into the borough of Hounslow in 2017 and is looking for help to find some accommodation.

st pauls church grove park

Do you know of an empty flat or house in your street? Do you own a flat that you would be willing to let at an affordable rent to help refugees? St Paul’s is working with Hounslow Council to offer community support for a resettled family under the government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (VPR) programme.

Their first, overwhelming, requirement is for a suitable property providing two or more bedrooms. They need a self-contained flat or house, ideally within the borough of Hounslow, that is available for at least 12 months and ideally two years. They can offer the family practical support to help them settle in to a safer life in the UK – language lessons, translation service, help accessing local health and education services, advice on seeking employment… there is lots to be done.

A spokesperson said : "But first we need somewhere for the family to live. The council is not able to offer any of its accommodation as its waiting list is already oversubscribed. Refugees coming to the UK under the VPR programme are entitled to work and to claim benefits, including housing benefit.

"Housing benefit in Chiswick is paid at the government’s Local Housing Allowance rates of up to £303 a week for a two-bedroom flat or £355 a week for a three-bedroom property. In return for accepting a rent that is below the market rate, landlords will save money on agency fees and will have guaranteed rental income for up to 24 months, minimising the risk of costly empty months. They will also be making a life-changing, humanitarian contribution to the crisis of Syrian refugees."

Churches around the country are responding to the government’s pledge to resettle 20,000 Syrians through the VPR scheme, which was announced in 2015 and is managed in conjunction with the United Nations Refugee Agency. Since then more than 6,000 refugees have arrived from camps in five countries around Syria.

London boroughs have so far accommodated around 200 refugees, according to recent research by the Guardian. Locally, churches in Teddington and Hammersmith are housing refugees, and St Paul's believes that we have the resources to do the same in Chiswick.

They would like the public to ask friends and neighbours about empty properties, and consider whether they might be able to help. Please contact Rachel Tanner,, or Father Michael on 020 8987 0312 to find out more.

March 29, 2017

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