Plea for Orkney landlords to help Afghan families

Orkney Islands Council (OIC) is appealing for registered private landlords who hold family accommodation that would be suitable for Afghan families, to come forward.

Councillors recently gave their support to assisting Afghan households if at all possible, and agreed to approve seeking two private rental sector properties as part of the UK-wide resettlement programme.

The council wants to hear from registered private landlords, or anyone considering becoming a registered private landlord, with suitable family properties on the Orkney Mainland – ideally Kirkwall or Stromness due to the additional support networks being more readily accessible – to get in touch.

Frances Troup, the OIC’s head of community learning, leisure and housing, said: “We have had one very kind offer from a landlord within the private sector already who wished to help an Afghan household but, unfortunately, the property was only one bedroom and while we do not have the specific details as yet, we are planning for suitable homes for families, ideally with a garden.

“The families concerned are already in the UK and are currently in bridging hotels while waiting for an offer of accommodation. The project concerned is humanitarian in nature and the last few months have seen the situation change and develop quite swiftly. All councils in Scotland have been asked, through CoSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities), whether they could assist with resettling some Afghan households.

“A funding package has been put in place to assist with this process and our understanding is that additional costs can be sought where there is an evidenced need.”

The council’s chair of the education, housing and leisure committee, Councillor Gwenda Shearer, said: “We, as councillors, shared our commitment to try and help the Afghan families if that is at all possible while also recognising the ongoing strain on the council’s own housing list. With this in mind, we agreed to try and source two suitable properties from within the private sector. It was heartening to receive the offer from a private landlord who also wished to help – unfortunately, it is unlikely that we will be able to take up that offer simply due to the size of the property. We are hopeful that there are likeminded landlords out there who may have a property that is empty or about to become empty that they may be willing to offer up.

“These are, without question, families who will have been through an incredibly difficult time and may have witnessed horrors that no one should. Orkney is renowned for its caring and compassionate nature so we are hopeful that we will be able to source suitable homes for these households who deserve a period of stability in their lives.”

If you could offer a suitable property, please get in touch with the council’s housing team on 873535 or by email.

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