A helping hand for Community Sponsorship Groups

31 October 2018

We know that sponsorship groups across the UK are going above and beyond in their wish to support and welcome refugees.  Groups take on a huge amount of responsibility in preparing their application, resettlement plans and building a strong and collaborative group of people – before a family arrive with them.  A key part of the work carried out by sponsor groups is to source suitable accommodation for a refugee family for a 24 month period.  We never cease to be amazed at the creative solutions that groups find in their search for housing – from leafleting entire neighbourhoods asking for help to setting up investor clubs to purchase property in their area, these properties must be ready and able to move into two weeks prior to a refugee family’s scheduled arrival date.  Due to the time, it takes for groups to be approved, matched with a refugee family to be resettled and the exit procedure for the emigration of the family, we know that groups have incurred property void costs whilst they wait for the family to arrive.  In property terms, a void cost is when a property is empty and receives no income from tenants.   These costs have previously had to be met through the £9,000 that the group have raised funds for. 

No one becomes a refugee by choice, but the rest of us can have a choice about how we help.” Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

We are delighted that the Home Office have recently announced that they will be making funds available for groups who are approved from 1 November 2018, and will reimburse actual void costs, capped at 8 weeks’ Local Housing Allowance rate. Payment of void costs will extend to the lifetime of the current Vulnerable Persons and Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Schemes.  Those wishing to make a claim should contact the Community Sponsorship Team via communitysponsorship@homeoffice.gov.uk who will provide a proforma for completion which also explains the process for making a claim.  The Home Office will require evidence of the costs incurred, such as the rental agreement and a bank statement showing the payments made. 

We hope that this great news will help more groups to get involved with the Community Sponsorship scheme across the UK. Reset are here to help you every step of the way, so if you are looking for a way in which to support and welcome refugees, please contact the Reset team and we will be able to connect you with activities taking place in your area.   

A helping hand for Community Sponsorship Groups is also published in Reset UK on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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