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Oxford City Council: Affordable Homes for Refugees

Oxford City Council has announced funding for affordable housing to home refugees coming to the city.

Affordable homes for refugees Oxford City Council is set to deliver a £2.3m programme providing affordable homes as part of a government scheme supporting Afghan and Ukrainian refugees. Next week, cabinet is expected to pave the way for the purchase of six properties by agreeing to join the Local Authority Housing Fund (LAHF), a move that will unlock up to £1,108,620 in grant funding from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). Together with £1,221,700 in match funding from the housing revenue account (HRA), this will allow the council to buy five two-bed or three-bed homes for Ukrainian families and one home with four or more bedrooms for an Afghan family from a bridging hotel. All six will be council homes let at social rent.

The LAHF aims to support areas with housing pressures that have welcomed substantial numbers of refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine. There are around 400 people living in Oxford as part of the Homes For Ukraine scheme alone and the council has also supported 47 families under national resettlement schemes, including Syria and Afghanistan. LAHF funding will help reduce pressure on a local housing market which is among the least affordable in the UK. It will also mitigate any impact on council services as existing sponsorship, family placement and bridging arrangements come to an end. As they will be council homes, purchase of the six properties will represent a long term investment for the council as well as helping it meet its goal of providing more affordable housing. The DLUHC has already agreed in principle to support purchase of the six homes. It will provide LAHF funding provided they have been bought or are sold subject to contract by November 2023.

Councillor Linda Smith, cabinet member for housing, said: “Oxford is a proud city of sanctuary and we’re committed to doing what we can to support refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine. This scheme represents a good deal for the council, as government support plus our match funding will allow us to provide settled, affordable council homes for six families. The first tenancies will be awarded to refugee families. In the long term, once the initial tenancies end, the homes will become regular council homes available for us to let to people on our general needs housing register.”

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