Landlords in Lewisham are being urged to rent their properties to Syrian refugees as the borough welcomes the first of 10 families from the war-ravaged country.
The council wants to hear from landlords and property owners who would be willing to rent their properties to refugee families. The council said they would pay them local housing allowance rates.
Citizens UK, an organisation committed to community organising in the UK, has helped to place the first two families in local residents’ properties. They, along with Lewisham Council, are spreading awareness to find properties that would not otherwise be available to let.
Pete Brierley, the Community Organiser for Lewisham at Citizens UK, told ELL: “We marched in the pouring rain with the key of the first property that we found. We brought it to the council and they agreed for the first refugees to arrive in February.”
The first families that have arrived come from the Daraa and Rif Dimashq regions and are currently making Lewisham their new home where they have already found increasing support from locals in the area.
Lewisham council said that the refugees have already been offered resources, including furniture and English language lessons, from local groups and churches.
Brierley said: “We’re now beginning to build relationships with the families. The initiative has be en hugely successful thanks to the hours put in by volunteers. The next effort is to get the council to take in more refugees.”
The council is still looking for two and three bedroom properties for the remaining families to live in. Landlords who are interested in finding out more should email: firstname.lastname@example.org