COUNCIL chiefs from across Worcestershire have agreed to go ahead with a bid to resettle up to 50 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016.
Negotiations will begin later this month with the Home Office and West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership to begin the process of housing refugees after the Government confirmed the full cost of supporting Syrian refugees will come from the Foreign Aid budget.
The plan was agreed by the leaders of Worcestershire County, Bromsgrove District, Malvern Hills District, Redditch Borough, Worcester City, Wychavon District and Wyre Forest District Councils at a meeting on Thursday (January 7).
Refugees in the county will be placed in privately rented housing to avoid any impact on Worcestershire’s already strained social housing supply. Some councils have already been approached by private landlords offering to house refugees.
In a joint statement Worcestershire Council Leaders said: “We’ve always been clear we were prepared to play our part in housing some of the most vulnerable people affected by the Syrian conflict, but we needed assurances over funding. We’re delighted we now have those assurances and are able to proceed with a formal bid.
“A huge amount of work still needs to be done and complex detail gone through, before we can accept our first families. We need to ensure the right infrastructure and support networks are in place to fully support Syrian refugees arriving here and help them settle into the community.
“As a result there’s no date yet for when we will receive our first families but our aim will be to ensure they arrive sooner rather than later.”
A decision on how many more Syrian refugees will be housed in Worcestershire over the next four years up until 2020 will be made once the initial families have arrived and begun to settle in.