Afghanistan: Housing shortage will make it hard to accommodate evacuees, government warned

·1-min read

Councils will struggle to accommodate thousands of Afghan refugees because of a shortage of appropriate housing, the Local Government Association has warned.

The UK government has committed to offer refuge up to 20,000 Afghan refugees, around 5,000 under a scheme open to current or former directly-employed staff, with a further 15,000 resettled on the basis of need.

Around £5m has been earmarked to fund housing through local authorities, some of which may have to be spent buying appropriate properties.

"The nature of the refugees we're seeing have significantly larger families than what we're normally used to seeing, six, seven, eight, and even as high as 12 members per family, and that clearly requires large housing and the availability of four, five and six-bedroom houses in the real issue," said LGA chairman James Jamieson.

"We don't know exactly who's coming over, what they're needs are, how much support they will need, how much housing we either need to go into the market and acquire or rent and until we know those things we actually don't know the financial implications.

"I'm reassured the government has said they will fund this"

The warning comes as the government promised to announce fresh measures to support the huge resettlement program.

Overseen by a new minister for Afghan Resettlement, Victoria Atkins, the government said the support provided will be similar to the commitments in the Syrian Resettlement Programme.

It aims to ensure that those who worked closely with the British military and UK government in Afghanistan get the access to healthcare, education, support into employment and accommodation that they need.

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