Reporting Person – Julie Fisher
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Azad, introduced a report which sought approval of the Executive to provide urgent support and assistance to Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) following NATO’s decision to withdraw military forces from Afghanistan. The Executive was informed that the UK Government had been running a scheme to support locally employed staff in Afghanistan. The Leader drew attention to the Council’s extensive previous experience of successfully resettling 50 Syrian refugee households under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. The Council would utilise existing partnerships and support networks that had been well established within the Borough.
The Executive was advised that it was intended households would be accommodated by securing properties in the private rented sector within the Borough, including Thameswey properties. It was noted that the number of properties proposed was manageable and unlikely to have a detrimental impact on homelessness or waiting times faced by applicants on the Housing Register. The Executive thanked the Housing Team for their hard work in engaging with the private sector.
Members were asked to direct residents who had offered support, such as donating clothes or goods, to the Family Support Programme Team managed by Adam Thomas as the Team was coordinating how residents could help in a structured way.
Members were in support of the report and welcomed that the Council could accommodate additional Afghan families should more properties and resources become available.
That (i) Woking Borough Council agrees to participate in the Scheme and offer help to five Afghan families;
(ii) the Director of Housing, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Housing, shall be delegated authority to agree suitable arrangements for the provision of housing, support and any other services necessary for successful implementation of the resettlement scheme, in line with the government’s requirements; and
(iii) the Director of Housing, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Housing, shall be delegated authority to agree with Government that Woking Borough Council welcomes additional Afghan families should more properties and resources become available.
Reason: The Council should support those people who have risked their own lives to work with the British armed forces in Afghanistan and as a result now have to leave their home under threat of their lives.