Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme
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Information for landlords
Last year, in response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames signed up to accept Afghan refugees under the Government’s ARAP and Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Schemes. So far three properties have been offered to the Council, enabling three Afghan families to be welcomed to the borough. They join six Syrian families successfully resettled by the Council since 2016 through the VPRS scheme.
These resettlement schemes rely on the good will of local councils and private landlords. In boroughs like Richmond there are already long waiting lists for social housing, so refugee families can only be resettled if private-let homes are found for them.
New arrivals from Afghanistan will be looked after by a dedicated Council team who coordinate resettlement logistics and provide intensive support tailored to each family’s needs. Refugees Welcome in Richmond (RWinR) supports the work of the Council Resettlement Team in identifying private-let properties for refugee families, and through supplementary befriending and mentoring activities, English language support, providing clothing and household items, and organising social events to aid integration.
With thousands of Afghan refugees waiting in limbo in bridging hotels, more properties are urgently needed to give families the stability they need to rebuild their lives.
If you are interested in contributing to the resettlement of Afghan refugees in Richmond, please contact our Resettlement Team:
020 8871 7333
What we need
- Private sector properties, particularly larger properties with 4 bedrooms or more.
- Anywhere within the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames.
- Self-contained (i.e. with own front door, kitchen and bathroom).
- Basically furnished (RWinR and the Council can help with furnishing).
- At least 2 years Assured Shorthold Tenancy (ideally longer to offer family stability).
- Rent within local housing allowance rates but ideally not over £1,400 pcm as families will be benefit-capped until they find work.
Housing Allowance Rates by Area
Per calendar month
- 1 bedroom £922.48
- 2 bedroom £1,171.78
- 3 bedroom £1,396.16
- 4 bedroom £1,645.50
Richmond, Kew, Ham, Twickenham, St. Margarets, Teddington, Hampton, Hampton Court, Hampton Wick, Hampton Hill
- 1 bedroom £1,047.11
- 2 bedroom £1,321.36
- 3 bedroom £1,595.62
- 4 bedroom £2,144.09
Barnes, East Sheen, Mortlake
- 1 bedroom £1,280.46
- 2 bedroom £1,545.74
- 3 bedroom £1,914.73
- 4 bedroom £2,572.92
What we offer landlords
- Rent paid direct to landlord
- Standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements
Two to five-year AST agreements with a break clause after 2 years.
- Incentive payment paid upfront
- 1 bedroom: £2,000
- 2 bedrooms: £2,500
- 3 bedrooms: £3,000
- 4 bedrooms: £3,500
- 6 weeks rent in advance
- Rent and council tax paid from the date the property becomes available
Council pays to hold the property until a suitable family arrives.
- Up to £460 towards insurance costs
- Help with furnishing property if required
- No obligations towards tenants beyond normal property maintenance
Family receives intensive support from dedicated Caseworker and Resettlement Team.
- If you are considering joining the scheme, the Council makes an appointment for an officer to inspect the property.
- If suitable, the officer will liaise to agree the package of payments plus the date for acceptance into the scheme. The incentive payment will be made once the family have arrived.
- Once agreed, the Council contacts the Home Office to initiate the process to identify a suitable family and conduct full security screening. Details of the proposed case are then sent to Richmond Council for suitability assessment and a date is agreed for the arrival.
- The Council will pay for the void property during the period between initiating the process and the family arriving and signing the Tenancy Agreement.
- Once the family arrives, the Resettlement Team arranges for them to sign the Tenancy Agreement and to apply for Universal Credit.
- The Resettlement Team remains available to assist the landlord with any subsequent issues relating to the tenancy.
How the Council supports the families
- Assigns a dedicated case worker to each family.
- Provides intensive support tailored to the family’s needs. This is ongoing if needed, though most require less support over time.
- Provides basic furniture, white goods, food, bedding, curtains, utensils.
- Prepares the property for the family’s arrival.
- Arranges transport to the property.
- Applies for all relevant welfare benefits including Universal Credit.
- Helps the family register with GP, dentist and other health/social services.
- Liaises with education dept. to enrol children into schools and nurseries.
- Arranges for adults to attend English language courses at college.
- Engages interpreting and translating services if required.
- Takes family members to appointments e.g. at the doctors or hospital, until familiar with local area.
- Takes families on tours of local area to locate shops and other amenities.
- Sets up bank accounts.
- Sets up utility accounts (incl. payment plans), shows how to pay bills.
- Makes regular home welfare visits.
- Accompanies adults to Job Centre appointments when ready to seek employment.
- Signposts local services such as food banks.
- Provides contact details for refugee support groups like Refugees Welcome in Richmond.
For more information see Richmond Council’s website
How RWinR supports the families
Besides working alongside the Council to identify properties, Refugees Welcome in Richmond (RWinR) provides the additional community support that is vitally important if refugees are to thrive in a foreign country with a different culture and language, thousands of miles from family and friends.
RWinR volunteers offer befriending, mentoring and advocacy services, provide English language support, source donations of clothing, furniture and household items, and arrange social events to aid integration within the community.
In addition to the VPRS and ARAP families welcomed so far, Refugees Welcome in Richmond also supports other families from Syria, Yemen, and Egypt who came to the UK independently.
Letter from a refugee family resettled in Richmond
6th April 2017
Mayor of Richmond
The Mayor’s Office
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Twickenham TW1 3AA
I am from one of the Syrian refugee families in Richmond. In the name of all my family and myself I offer our deep thanks to her Majesty the Queen, to the British Government, to Richmond Borough Council and to the Council Leader, to our landlord, to Refugees Welcome in Richmond and to our local parish for welcoming us into your country. We feel at home here.
May we thank most particularly our landlord, the Council Resettlement Team, and Refugees Welcome in Richmond, who have helped us in every possible way to put down roots here. We also thank everyone else who has helped us – too many to mention here.
All of our needs are being met to enable us to live a full life safely here in Richmond.
You have shown us great kindness. For our part, we will do our utmost to be good, honest members of this community, contributing positively to its welfare.
With renewed thanks,
Father of first Syrian family to arrive in Richmond.
020 8871 7333