North Yorkshire Council set to buy 11 homes for Afghan refugees in Harrogate area
Thousands of refugees have come to the UK from Afghanistan since the withdrawal of US troops and the return to power of the Taliban in August 2021. The government has been offering councils money to help house the refugees in secure properties through its Local Authority Housing Fund (LAHF).
A report will go before the council’s executive committee next week that says it has been allocated £1.34m in the latest round of funding. If the council decides to accept the money, it will provide 60 per cent match funding worth £1.68m to buy the properties, taking the overall cost to £3.1m.
Last year, Harrogate Borough Council received £2.5m from the same fund to help buy 21 homes for Afghan and Ukrainian refugees. Harrogate Borough Council, which was abolished in March, came to an agreement with a local housing association to provide the match funding but this time, NYC is set to borrow the money through its own general fund.
This report says this will give the council greater control over the choice and location of properties and that it can best ensure that the needs of the refugees, and future tenants, are met. According to North Yorkshire Council’s refugee resettlement manager, there is a need for more properties in the Harrogate area based on links to existing services that support the Afghan community.
The homes must be bought before March next year and could be a mix of former council homes, new builds or other properties on the open market. Rent will be at affordable rates and the council expects to generate £118,225 in annual rental income.
The report adds: “The acquisition of additional homes for Afghan refugees will help alleviate pressure on the council and ensure the council is playing its part in supporting government to meet national commitments toward Afghan refugees.”