Home-seeking Syrian refugees and helpers get a meaningful offer from Islington council

Syrian "souk" at Rich Mix Shoreditch London EC4 060915 © david.altheer@gmail.com
An improvised souk at Rich Mix in Shoreditch to raise funds for Syrians
© NA
All at sea: a perilously overcrowded vessel, typical of what refugees are forced to use

GREAT NEWS FOR Syrian refugees and for the many people in northeast London who want to help them: Islington council is to give residents financial help to offer accommodation.

Working closely with Refugee Action and Citizens UK, the council will guarantee rent for, it hopes “eight more families” under the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme”.

Islington says it was one of the first local authorities in the UK to welcome vulnerable Syrians and since 2015 has helped 10 families into homes in the borough.

Hackney has chosen to make a play of welcoming Syrian refugees while accusing the Conservative government of providing insufficient financial support.

Fine words: a sign posted opposite Dalton Junction station

Syrians who could be resettled by those Londoners who are eager to help  are presently stranded in refugee camps or more precarious accommodation in Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan as a result of the Syrian civil war that started when Syrian dictator Bashir Assad viciously smashed pro-democracy demonstrations.

Leila and her family were among the first Syrians to arrive in Islington. She said: “We love this country and will not forget its help.” Her host was more than a landlady — “she is a friend… she has done so much to welcome the family”.

Islington community development councillor Kaya Comer Schwartz said: “The council will provide expert advice and support.”

Councillor Kaya Comer Schwartz: “Islington will provide support” (pic: Steve Bainbridge)

Hackney councillor Rebecca Rennison said: “We (Hackney council) are supporting six Syrian families, totalling 24 people, with the seventh family arriving this month (March 2018), bringing the number of people we support to 26.”

The families were attending English-language classes and the children were “integrated” in schools.

The council was providing “good-quality housing” and other support, “despite,” Rennison could not resist adding, “the Government’s failure to relax benefits rules for refugees.”

David Altheer 080318

* Anyone with a family flat of one, two or more bedrooms should contact islingtonlettings@islington.gov.uk if they want to help.  

* Backstory: Hackney council houses 16 Syrians; Syria refugees, stay away; Hackney demands more money to house Syrians; Pussy Riot flies to Hackney for refugees; Hackney Hive opens refugee aid drop-off

* Some surnames in this story have not been used because of the danger of repercussions from Bashir Assad’s agents, who have been known to report from the UK to the barrel-bomber’s “security” thugs. Refugee pictures on this page have been supplied; others © DavidAltheer [at] gmail.com. Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained. A link in no way expresses support for any site

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