Calling all landlords

Our central focus at TWR is to facilitate the Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement (VPR) programme. This is the government programme to bring Syrian families to the UK, offering them housing and some degree of support for five years. The government has promised to bring 20,000 refugees over by 2020, though so far less than 3,000 people have arrived under the scheme. Between October 2015, when the government made its promise, and the end of June 2016, only 2,646 people had come: at this rate Britain will not reach its target by 2020.
 
Here in Tonbridge & Malling, we are lucky to have a sympathetic and proactive borough council and a county council which is keen to see Kent do its bit. The borough council has pledged to house ten families, and TWR is working closely with it to try and make that happen, but progress has been painfully slow. We have one family here, and another on its way – but that means that another eight families who could be here in safety are still stuck in limbo in refugee camps.
 
The solution is straightforward: we need houses and apartments! If we can find a suitable home, we can bring a family over very quickly; it really is as simple as that. Landlords willing to take part in the scheme will be paid rent – the council offers Local Authority rates, and TWR has a mechanism to top those up to market rates if necessary. Landlords will also have reliable tenants: it’s not often you get references from both the United Nations and the Home Office!
 
If anyone knows anyone who might have a suitable property, please get in touch by emailing info@tonbridgewelcomesrefugees.co.uk.
 
Once Syrian families arrive, TWR offers extensive support. We have been providing English lessons, material support and, most importantly, friendship. It is a tough time for those who arrive: watching the war in their homeland from a distance is immensely difficult, especially for those with family still there, and trying to adapt to a new culture and new language is challenging. Our support is making a real difference to those already here – as one of them said recently: “TWR is our family here”.