Afghan refugees: Arun Distrcit Council has shown support to the government resettlement scheme

Arun District Council has pledged to support the government scheme to house Afghan refugees fleeing after the Taliban seized back control of the country.

The council said it was working closely with the resettlement team at West Sussex County Council to try to find suitable accommodation through the social housing route and, as supply was short, also through the private sector.

Councillor Shaun Gunner, leader of Arun District Council, said: “It is both shocking and saddening to see the desperation of the families trying to flee Afghanistan.

“You cannot fail to be moved by the distressing scenes at Kabul airport shown by the news channels.

Afghan people gather outside the French embassy in Kabul on August 17, 2021 waiting to leave Afghanistan. Photo by Zakeria Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images

“It’s hard for us to imagine ourselves in the same situation, which is why, as a council, it’s vital that we do all we can to find shelter for those refugees who come to our district seeking help.

“The work is very much a joint effort between the local authorities but we all have a part to play in trying to lessen the suffering these people are going through by finding safe and secure accommodation for those in need.”

West Sussex County Council said it had resettled two families since April and will commit to resettling more over the next two years.

A spokesman said: “WSCC, in conjunction with our district and borough partners, have been actively engaged with the pre-existing Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

“Families have already been resettled in West Sussex under the ARAP scheme, with more due to arrive shortly. We will continue to work closely with all our partners to support those families already within the county during this difficult time and are ready to respond to any widening in scope for the existing refugee resettlement programme as this rapidly evolving situation unfolds.”