London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced plans to help the city’s councils and housing associations support the arrival of Afghan refugees.
Khan said he will expand his new Right to Buy-back fund to help councils purchase homes which could be used to resettle families arriving from Afghanistan.
Housing associations are also being encouraged to apply for funding for suitable homes that can be delivered quickly.
Khan said in a statement that he will invite London councils to submit bids to his Right to Buy-back fund, which allows them to buy former council homes back from the private sector, with the programme to have a particular focus on family-sized properties.
The mayor announced the fund last month in a bid to help councils and council-owned housing companies acquire homes that would be let at social rent levels or used as accommodation for homeless families.
London is ready to welcome as many Afghan refugees as possible. To play our part, we're asking the Government to work with us to ensure that local councils have the right capabilities to help families resettle safely. Now is the time to act. https://t.co/r2SxMWfHo5— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) August 19, 2021
“It has been devastating to watch the crisis unfold in Afghanistan and I’m determined to do everything in my power to support those escaping the country,” Khan said.
“London has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need and by working together we can help these refugees find a welcoming home in our city.”
Dr Nooralhaq Nasimi, director of the UK’s Afghanistan and Central Asian Association, said: “With the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan many Afghan refugees will be desperately looking for a safe place to call home.
“I am proud that the Mayor of London and London councils are leading the way in welcoming Afghan refugees and taking active steps to help accommodate them when they arrive and seek to build new lives in the city.”
The Ministry of Defence says the UK has evacuated almost 7,000 Afghan individuals and their families out of Kabul.