HELP will be given to find six homes in Powys for asylum seekers.
At Powys County Council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday, November 2, councillors voted unanimously to help the UK Government’s Home Office.
They will do this by working with Clearsprings Ready Homes, to find private sector accommodation across the county for those seeking asylum
The accommodation is needed while their applications are processed.
Cabinet member for planning, housing and economic regeneration, Cllr Iain McIntosh said: “Numbers are expected to be a low initially with a maximum of six properties in the first 12 months and the locations are yet to be determined.
“The council will be consulted along with Dyfed-Powys Police on the suitability of accommodation identified and thereafter be part of a multi-agency quarterly meeting to review progress.”
The council’s head of housing and community development, Nina Davies pointed out that due to their work with Syrian refugees the council has the “experience and expertise” in helping people from troubled parts of the world.
Mrs Davies said: “It is difficult to provide a socio-economic profile of families or individuals seeking asylum.
“However, it is both possible that asylum seekers will have skills or qualifications that would support them to be able to make a positive contribution to local communities pending the outcome of their claims.”
The council could “express a preference” on whether single people or families are accommodated although the Home Office have the final say explained Mrs Davies.
She added that Clearsprings had indicated they were looking for properties to house families.
“These properties would be privately owned, Clear Springs would enter into a management agreement with the owners,” said Mrs Davies.
The council’s resettlement project officer, Megan Lewis said: “I have already had inquiries in regards to the Afghan resettlement.
“Communities are very keen to help.
“We’ve had so many offers, it’s very heart-warming. ”
“We want communities to be informed and to understand why resettlement is happening and to give them a chance to participate.”
“We can’t make any concrete plans until we know the areas involved which will become clearer in the next few weeks and months.”
The move to spread asylum seekers around the UK rather than placed in one town or city, is happening because Home Office are keen to have the greatest number of local authorities making the smallest contribution towards housing those that need help.
Statistics show that 35,099 asylum applications were received during 2020, an increase of 11 per cent on 2019.
This meant that by the end of June 2020 there were 45,769 asylum seekers
in the UK receiving support.
Wales has provided accommodation for asylum seekers in four
‘Dispersal Areas’: Newport, Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham.
The increase in demand now means that all Welsh local authorities are being asked to find accommodation.