Council plans to buy up to 50 homes to help accommodate Afghans and Ukrainians in Birmingham
Plans to purchase up to 50 homes to provide temporary accommodation for Afghan citizens and Ukrainian guests are to be discussed by the city council’s Cabinet next week (14 February). Birmingham City Council was invited to apply for funding from the Government’s £500m Local Authority Housing Fund which will enable it to increase its resettlement pledge for between 80-120 people over the next two financial years, subject to funding being granted.
The Cabinet report sets out that if successful, this funding will be used to buy up to 40 family sized homes and 10 larger family properties either for the Homes for Ukraine scheme or Home Office bridging accommodation. These would be used as temporary accommodation and families accommodated through this programme would be owed a homelessness duty, so would not be giving them priority for long term social housing compared to families who are homeless for other reasons.
Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness, Councillor Sharon Thompson, said: “Following the start of war in Ukraine last February, the city council took on an obligation to house families displaced by that conflict as well as the previous one in Afghanistan. Buying these homes will help us fulfil that obligation and increase our ability, as a local authority, to help any Ukrainian guests who become homeless following the breakdown of their arrangements under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
“These homes will be used for temporary accommodation and will not give any of the families greater priority under our allocation policy than other homeless families. We are also in the process of building and buying properties on the open markets, especially larger family homes, for those people currently on our waiting list."
Birmingham has committed to welcoming a total of 300 Afghan citizens under the ARAP resettlement scheme between 2021-2024, of which around 150 have already arrived in the city. The Homes for Ukraine scheme does not have a specific pledge but to date around 730 Ukrainian guests have arrived in Birmingham since the war in Ukraine started in February 2022.
Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Community Safety and Equalities, added: “Since the war in Ukraine began last February, Birmingham – as a City of Sanctuary - has opened its arms to welcome families displaced by the conflict under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, who – like other migrants, including arrivals under the Afghan resettlement scheme – are fleeing war, violence and persecution and made Birmingham their home.
“Acquiring these properties will help provide an important stepping stone for these families to take then next step into living their lives independently, with some stability, after what must be very traumatic, unsettling times.”