Orkney councillors hold further discussions on Syrian refugee resettlement

Orkney CouncilPlans to offer a home in Orkney to Syrian refugees took a further step forward last week as councillors recommended that two properties currently held for student accommodation be used to house the two families that could be resettled here.

A number of housing options were put forward at a meeting of the education, leisure and housing committee.

The council and its community planning partners are currently working on arrangements in advance of contacting the Home Office to formally offer resettlement to two families under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

Councillors heard that demand for housing is very high in Kirkwall and that by using two properties which are currently held for student accommodation for the resettlement, then the impact on families on the current waiting lists could be lessened.

Demand for student accommodation is currently less than supply.

Councillor Harvey Johnston, chair of the council’s education, leisure and housing committee, said: “We have made a commitment to support the UK’s refugee resettlement scheme. The rural location of Orkney does of course present some unique issues not least that of the availability of suitable housing within our population centres. Our officers are working to come up with suitable solutions to some of the issues we face and this recommendation is one of those suitable solutions.”

The committee’s recommendation will go to full council on April 28.

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