£7.2 million refugee homes plan agreed by Shropshire Council
Plans to spend £7.2 million on homes for Shropshire’s homeless refugees have been unanimously backed by councillors.
The project, which will see Shropshire Council purchase up to 30 properties for Ukrainian and Afghan families, was welcomed by members at a meeting of the full council.
It has been made possible thanks to a £3.2 million grant from the Government’s Local Authority Housing Fund.
The money will be match funded by the council through £3.2m of borrowing, with an additional £750,000 added to the pot from ‘section 106’ funds collected from developers.
The council hopes to move quickly to secure the properties, as any grant unspent by November will have to be returned.
The new homes will be managed by STAR Housing, the council’s arms-length social housing provider.
Councillor Dean Carroll, cabinet member for growth, regeneration and housing said: “This will provide up to 30 homes that will be used for re-housing of Ukrainian and Afghan households that we have accepted within the county, who are, or are at risk of becoming, statutory homeless.
“Once the immediate need for these units for Ukrainian and Afghan families has passed, they will remain as affordable general use housing.
“I hope this is warmly accepted.”
Councillor Carroll also confirmed that 26 of the properties will be for Ukrainian families, while four will be for Afghan households currently staying in bridging hotels elsewhere in the West Midlands.
He said there were currently 14 Ukrainian households who came to the county under the Homes Ukraine programme now being put up in B&Bs due to placement breakdowns.
The scheme saw 380 sponsor homes across the county open their doors to around 700 people fleeing the Russian invasion which began a year ago last week.
Labour councillor Tony Parsons said his group welcomed the proposals.
He said: “It’s good to see we are looking to make more provision than we are already doing for Ukrainian and Afghan refugees who are fleeing war and terror.
“We know schemes we have had in place previously have been successful, but there are now families that came here and were being supported by our local residents that are now in B&Bs and not in such a good position. This will help that situation and we strongly support it.”
A report to members by Mark Barrow, director of place, said the Government fund, which had seen £500m allocated to 182 councils across the country, was set up to “reduce the impact of new arrivals on existing housing pressures”, and help councils to increase the number of affordable homes in their areas to address local homelessness needs in the longer-term.