Dacorum Borough Council commits to rehoming Afghan families

Three councils in Hertfordshire commit to rehoming Afghan families

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 1:17 pm

Dacorum Borough Council is one of three councils which have confirmed that they will help families from Afghanistan resettle in Hertfordshire after the Taliban seized control of the capital Kabul.

The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) was announced in December 2020 ahead of the withdrawal of British Forces from the country to ensure those who assisted the army and face risk to life would be able to apply for resettlement.

The scheme launched on April 1, but has come into sharp focus in the past week as the Taliban regained control of the country.

Dacorum (C) Google Maps

On Sunday, the Taliban declared the “war is over” after taking control of capital Kabul and putting an interim government in power.

It has raised concerns about the welfare of those who assisted British and Allied Forces during the 20-year conflict, and what those countries should be doing to support their families.

ARAP is intended to run indefinitely and the Home Office say that since June 22, 2,000 former Afghan staff and their families have been resettled in the UK.

It is separate from today’s (August 18) announcement from the Prime Minister that the UK will resettle 20,000 refugees from the country over the next five years.

In Hertfordshire, councils have been determining whether they are able to take part in either scheme, and so far just a third of councils have committed to rehoming Afghan families as part of ARAP.

Councils have cited problems with access to their own housing stock and the price of privately rented accommodation as barriers to taking part.

Welwyn Hatfield, Dacorum and Three Rivers have all confirmed that they will be participating in the scheme, with the first family arriving last week.

Dacorum Borough Council confirmed that they will be resettling two families from Afghanistan this September, while Three Rivers District Council will also be resettling two families with the first arriving in the district last week.

Welwyn Hatfield backed the plans at a meeting of the Cabinet on August 10, with an expectation of helping a maximum of three families with a two-bedroom need.

Council leader Tony Kingsbury (Conservative, Welwyn West) told Cabinet: “We need to support these people, they’ve supported us as well so absolutely. I think it’s a good news story from that point of view and we should be supporting it, and we are.”