Housing cooperatives raise the bar for welcoming refugees to Scotland
HOUSING COOPERATIVES and associations across Scotland have pledged up to 350 homes for vulnerable Syrian families being relocated to the UK.
The associations, many of them located on the west coast of Scotland, have put forward the largest single pledge of housing for refugees in the UK.
“The fantastic response from the housing associations and co-operatives from Scotland reinforces the humanitarian ethos that underpins the housing association movement in Scotland.” Mary Taylor
Mary Taylor, CEO of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, said: “Scotland’s housing sector has a long history of helping people on housing need, and the fantastic response from the housing associations and co-operatives from Scotland reinforces the humanitarian ethos that underpins the housing association movement in Scotland.”
‘Scottish RSL Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis’, a group set up by Positive Action in Housing, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) and Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations, was brought together to co-ordinate a housing sector wide response to the Syrian refugee crisis.
The move has come both as an act of solidarity and to meet the practical challenges of welcoming Syrian refugees as part of the UK Government’s vulnerable person relocation (VPR) scheme.
In September 120 refugees from Syria were resettled in Scotland, taking the total over 1,000. Scotland currently has a third of the UK ‘allotment’ under the VPR scheme. As the Scottish Government doubled down on its commitment to provide shelter during the refugee crisis, Positive Action in Housing asked housing associations to pledge as many properties as they can to allocate to families.
Jim Strang, chair of the Scottish RSL Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis and CEO of Parkhead Housing Association, said: “I’m more than delighted that we as a sector, we can hold our heads up high, when people were in the middle of a humanitarian crises, we stepped up to the plate.”
The UK Government’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis was to agree to take just 20,000 of the five million refugees and seven million people internally displaced by the conflict. Germany has taken around 1 million.
Picture courtesy of Oxfam International
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