Council leader issues statement on movement of Afghan families to Harlow

News / Thu 23rd Sep 2021 at 02:02pm

THE LEADER OF Harlow Council has gone into more detail regarding the placement of a number of Afghan families in a hotel in Harlow.

Councillor Andrew Johnson, Leader of Harlow Council, said:

“Afghan families have been placed in a hotel in Harlow temporarily by the Home Office after leaving quarantine. The families are being supported by the government through the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy, having been ‘locally employed staff’ in Afghanistan working alongside our armed forces and officials. Hotels across the country, including within Essex, have been set up by the Home Office as ‘bridging accommodation’ to support families before they move to permanent homes. We expect that these families will slowly be resettled in other areas in the country as suitable permanent accommodation is secured.

“While the families stay in Harlow they will be looked after with wraparound support and welfare services provided by Essex County Council and their partner agencies. We are working with Essex County Council to provide support and we know our residents and other local organisations will want to help where they can too. Donations coordinated by the Red Cross in Essex are still paused, while the existing items given so generously by Essex residents are distributed. Announcements will follow as soon as more donations can be made again including setting up a donation point in Harlow.

“The Home Office has also announced details of the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), which sits alongside the existing Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy. ACRS will provide protection for people at risk and identified as in need. We believe that every area in the UK can do its bit to support the government’s efforts to help Afghan families resettle in this country.

“We have made no secret of the fact that we have an acute shortage of suitable council housing available. Therefore we have already worked with private landlords to find suitable properties to support the government’s efforts. We have identified and put forward two homes in the private sector, which can potentially support and welcome two families to resettle here. Finding suitable accommodation is a challenge, because as well as a shortage of council housing, there is currently a shortage of private sector housing in Harlow. Councils across Essex including Harlow are working together under a new task force announced last week to bring forward the right sort of homes.”

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17 Comments for Council leader issues statement on movement of Afghan families to Harlow:

Tony Durcan
2021-09-23 15:07:38

Pleased that common sense and human dignity has won over political dogma with this issue. This should restore some respect to once held community values which had appeared to be torn up under the current Tory leadership of the council. Shamed into supporting this resolution but grateful none the less.

2021-09-23 16:53:15

What about our own homeless what is being done for them?

2021-09-23 19:08:00

Yes, this is good and a long way from the previous stance of this Tory council which was to refuse to offer any assistance.. For those arguing "what about our own homeless" - this document was released by Harlow Council in 2019 : https://www.harlow.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Homelessness%20and%20rough%20sleeping%20strategy%202019%20to%202024.pdf It shows that for the previous 10 years there were 212 applications per year. It is probable that this help was more than just "bridging accommodation". It is likely that on average, much more help has been given to the homeless in Harlow for each of the last 10 years than what has been offered to our Afgan allies.

2021-09-24 00:57:10

We should be looking after our own first..... They should be supported from countries in the middle east!

Dave Martin
2021-09-24 02:14:27

Thought this guy said we had nothing to offer and said Harlow homes for Harlow people! He also promised a council tax cut. Just a total bullshiter.!!!!

Kay Morrison
2021-09-24 06:29:06

Why did it take so long for the current (Conservative) administration to show some humanity? Every local authority struggles to find housing: the difference is that some understand the refugee's plight. He describes the Home Office protocol which must be followed by all who agree to receive refugees: an interim temporary period followed by more lasting suitable accommodation arrangements. Previous criticism was of Harlow Council's cruel refusal to help terrified people fleeing a horrific situation, leaving their lives, their jobs, everything they held dear. You may be right in your description, Dave, but he's not much good at it!

A Nico
2021-09-24 06:57:06

We, British are struggling already, big time… Just one as an example plus I have thousand more, I have 2 children (boy/girl) and was in a 2 beds very small maisonette since they were babies.. I was told by the Council that my son will either sleep in the living room or in my bedroom so that my daughter can have a room, thus they don’t have to share the bedroom… after a long tiring battle eventually with it worsening my health problems, I was finally given (temporary) 3 beds and was when my daughter was 15 and son 14!! Also, I can now say that our streets will be worst when it comes to safety.. Open your eyes.. thank you Taking kindness for a weakness…

Michael Hardware
2021-09-24 07:21:17

Disappointed that the Labour members here are exaggerating the truth and using this to try and gain political mileage. The facts are We did not refuse to help, we said we did not have any council properties available and would work with the private sector to offer accommodation, which we did and have. This new assistance is interim to house families until permanent accommodation can be found around the country.

David Carter
2021-09-24 08:07:27

If you go back to the beginning and read what Andrew Johnson said via your Harlow he has always said we will help via the private sector. In Harlow we have a many people on the waiting list for homes. Yes we have our own to look after and the people from Afghanistan who helped us when we needed them. We have to do the best for all. Please read the articles and do not listen to political nonsense

Paul Henderson
2021-09-24 08:43:09

More cheap political quips from Tony Durkin and Kay Morrison. Harlow Conservative council made a clear statement that, like most other Essex authorities that they would seek to help via the private sector, which now being done. We all know that Harlow has scant available council housing following almost 10 years of the former administration abject failure to build any! Furthermore, both these self-opinionated popinjays fail to mention that the whole debacle and tragedy of Afghanistan, like Iraq has been a direct consequence of Labour Blair’s reckless invasions. It is a bit rich for these people to criticise others when it is their own Party that has so much blood on its hands and has brought the human consequences to our already overburdened country.

Kay Morrison
2021-09-24 09:51:53

Unfortunately and predictably, the two contributors above have wilfully misinterpreted my comments. I understand very well how Tory cuts have savaged local authorities and I understand the detrimental effects on services. Of course, some still manage to build Council houses but maybe that's a discussion for another time. Referring to the damage done to Afghan lives by our collective withdrawal from the country doesn't mean that we shouldn't help now. Let's try to focus on what's happening now and what we should do. That's the only way we can make a difference! Criticisms of the current Harlow Council administration by alarmed citizens were triggered by the Council's apparent callousness. My question was why it has taken so long for the current Council leader to show some compassion.

David Carter
2021-09-24 10:14:53

Again the above is political claptrap Read Andrew Johnsons full statement in Your Harlow which was printed at the start of when this Government asked for help.

David Lawrence
2021-09-24 12:04:23

The Council fall over backwards to help volunteering, knowing the fact that they have an acute shortage of housing. Gives me an opinion of, 'all heart and no brains.'

Paul Henderson
2021-09-24 12:35:52

Kay Morrison, your understanding of Afghanistan and its history is woefully ignorant. Even after overthrowing the Taliban regime 20 years ago, reform and modernisation was only effective in the larger cities; the interior and majority of the population experienced no change and continued living in the Dark Ages. Perhaps, given the scale and rapidity of the collapse of the numerically superior, well-trained and well equipped Afghan forces, it might indicate that they are not too convinced of the merits ‘western style democracy’ in their highly fragmented ethnic/tribal based society. Basically we wasted many resources and lives for nothing, thanks to the arrogance of Bush and Blair. Afghanistan is not called the ‘graveyard of empires’ for nothing. Why aren’t wealthy Muslims nations not welcoming refugees from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq? Surely these people would integrate more easily in such societies. We now need to give the entire region a wide berth and reduce as far as possible our dependency on fossil fuels. We have no assurance that terrorists and criminals are not slipping through the net.

Tony Durcan
2021-09-24 15:41:20

Paul aka Tory spin doctor would you at least get my name right if your insulting me please. From very early on I offered an alternative that the local Tory council rejected. I suggested if we couldnt offer housing we could offer support/funding to support other councils or charities instead. Other local Tory councils offers direct support our Tory council refused. What so wrong in the truth. Keep spinning all you like but pleased you have reflected and been more positive. Community pressure makes a difference.

Paul Henderson
2021-09-24 18:32:57

Tony Durcan 1. I apologise for misspelling your name. 2. Nobody has insulted you. You feign indignation at any criticism. 3. You fail to acknowledge that the entire Afghanistan debacle for the UK is attributable to your erstwhile leader, Tony Blair (or is it Bliar? You check the spelling). 4. Giving money to other authorities to house Afghans? Great! Where is this hidden pile of cash? Do you not think any such funds (which almost certainly don’t exist or have been allocated) should be spent in this way when we have so many on the housing waiting list, waiting for homes that your Labour administration never built? 5. Your solutions are always so magnanimous, taxing and spending other people’s money on things they do not want. 6. Go and ask your residents if they are happy to see their taxes spent on this way.

Rob G
2021-09-26 07:01:55

I am suspicious of anyone who uses words like popinjay.

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