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New initiative sets up Christian landlords with refugees in response to social housing crisis

by Tola Mbakwe

A charity has made an urgent call for Christian landlords to do their part in tackling the social housing crisis by welcoming refugees and asylum seekers.

Christian charity Welcome Churches has launched a new initiative called Welcome Homes, which aims to find hosts who can provide those in desperate need with short-term and long-term housing. 

The charity says the increase in demand for social housing and pricey rental market have made a perfect recipe for leaving many refugees and asylum seekers either homeless or in halfway hotels.

According to The No Accommodation Network, around 3,000 people a year face homelessness because of their immigration status.

Welcome Churches is concerned about how that number may skyrocket as the six-month sponsorship period for the Homes for Ukraine scheme comes to an end.

Emily Shepherd, Joint CEO for Welcome Churches said, “Many of these people have come to the UK to escape war or terror – and now they are facing homelessness in a country where they should be safe. They desperately need a movement of compassionate landlords and hosts who are willing to rent to refugees.

“Throughout the Bible it is made clear that we should show hospitality and compassion to those in need. So whether you’ve got a spare room, or property to let, please get in touch. You could make a huge difference and turn around the situation for someone who has suffered incredible uncertainty and upheaval.”

On Tuesday, Welcome Homes will join dozens of other charities at parliament, urging the Prime Minister to address the housing crisis immigrants are facing.

In 2022, Debbie Duncan and her husband took in a Ukrainian family of seven in their home.

”She said: “Seven people coming to live with us was a little daunting, but the village we lived in was so supportive, always asking me what they needed, and the reality was, they did need so much more than expected. The family had about 20 minutes to pack and flee their apartment in Kyiv. They didn’t have hairdryers or make-up or even pyjamas. 

“We did have to think about how they would affect our family life, so it was important that we laid down some ground rules with them in the beginning, and reassessed these regularly as some of the challenges didn’t show until later on. But even so, for me, it has been such an extraordinary time of learning, trusting God and helping people in a situation I can’t even imagine.”

Welcome Homes will host a webinar on 31st January to map out how Christian landlords and hosts can help those in need.

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