First Afghan Refugee Family Arrives in Hammersmith & Fulham

Four properties identified in the borough as suitable housing

Afghan refugees near Kabul airport. Picture: Red Cross

The first Afghan refugee family arrived in the Hammersmith & Fulham on Wednesday (1 September).

The borough immediately stepped in to offer to host refugees under the Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme which is run by the government.

The council says it has so far identified a total of four suitable private rented properties and can adjust according to household size when exactly what accommodation is needed is known.

The council expects the cost for this to be covered by government as the refugees would be housed under the national scheme.

The wider health and wellbeing of these individuals and their families is being considered and council officers are working with a range of health partners. They are preparing to offer physical and mental wellbeing services, including post-traumatic stress support.

Council Leader Stephen Cowan said, "H&F offers a warm welcome to the Afghan family that have become the latest members of our wonderful community. We look forward to helping them to rebuild their lives and make our borough their home."

Cllr Ben Coleman, H&F Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, spoke to both ITV London News and BBC London News on Friday 20 August to insist there was a moral duty to support the refugees and that H&F expected the government to make full provision for the accommodation, health, schooling and integration costs of this programme.”

As of Monday 31st August, 27 London boroughs have indicated a willingness and ability to take between 125 and 152 families coming into the UK via the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP). More offers from London boroughs are expected to follow in the coming weeks.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Deputy Chair of London Councils and Executive member for Housing and Planning, said, “We have all seen videos and photos of the terrifying situation in Afghanistan right now. People who once helped UK and US Armed Forces are living in constant fear of persecution and death. This is a humanitarian crisis and we all need to do our bit to help - as individuals, as a city, and as a country.

“Boroughs are offering to support as many families as they can while managing existing pressures and priorities. We do this standing shoulder to shoulder with councils across the country, contributing to the overall national response.

“We are also working closely with Government and the Mayor of London to ensure the funding is in place to properly support the health, education, housing and social integration of Afghan arrivals, in line with previous resettlement programmes.”

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Jacob Phillips - Local Democracy Reporter

September 6, 2021