A recent Havant Borough Council cabinet meeting has recommended using government grants and loans to acquire homes for individuals fleeing conflict and persecution. The council secured £4,250,481 from the government’s Local Authority Housing Fund (LAHF), created last December to assist councils in buying properties for Ukrainian and Afghan families resettling in the UK.
Speaking to cabinet members, Councillor Alex Rennie, leader of the council said it’s ‘absolutely right’ the council does its bit to support those families across the borough.
He added: “We’re now 18 months since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine – it will be quite a while before most people are able to return homes in Ukraine.
“The council has been awarded this money to buy homes in the borough that are on sale for these residents to move into.
“It is match funded so we have to provide some of the funding for the housing.
“We know these communities are very keen to get jobs and get off state help. I know having talked to the Afghan community, there’s no prospect of them getting home because of the Taliban.
“Many of those Afghans risked their lives and served our country during that conflict and it’s absolutely right that we do our bit and support them. They want to get off state help and get jobs and move into their own homes.
“We’re making a capital investment here that in the long term is going to help those that really need it.”
To finance this initiative, the council is set to borrow up to £6 million from the Public Works Loan Board. Overall, they plan to acquire around thirty properties, ranging from one-bedroom to over four-bedroom homes. Cabinet members voted in favour of the proposal which will now advance to a full council meeting for formal approval.