Refugee resettlement programme defended following concerns

The decision to recruit an officer to assist with homing Syrian refugees in East Sussex has been defended by a local council following concerns raised by residents.

The Syrian Resettlement Programme, funded by the Government and launched in 2014, sees local authorities taking on responsibility for helping refugess settle into their district or borough.

The councils within East Sussex have collectively offered to assist the government in resettling between 200 and 260 vulnerable Syrians up to 2020. A total number of 40 refugees will be resettled in each local authority, with Hastings Borough Council committed to resettling an additional 60 if possible.

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Mike Allaway, of St John’s Road, Bexhill, thinks this will have a negative impact on those on housing lists.

He said: “Last month East Sussex County Council warned us that up to seven libraries are due to close because of Government cuts. This is on top of the closure of mental health support services, childcare and cuts to the police budget.

“Imagine my surprise to see that Rother Council is advertising for a Syrian refugee officer. Apparently this position will help assist with homing 200 Syrian refugees in our already over-burdened borough.

“What about our own families who have waited for years on the council lists for accommodation? Are they to be pushed further down the list and to wait even longer?”

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A Rother DC spokesman said: “As part of a national government-funded programme, Rother DC will welcome 40 Syrian refugees over the next five years. The families arriving will need a huge amount of support and the officer who will help them will need to liaise with housing, health, education and social care. This work will be in addition to the support our staff provide to vulnerable and homeless people within the district.”