Four pensioners are rallying together, in the hopes they can bring a vulnerable family of refugees to De Beauvoir.
They are seeking approval from Hackney Council to a house a refugee family under the Full Community Sponsorship Scheme, which allows community groups to sponsor a refugee family.
If successful, the family will resettle in the UK and be provided with pastoral care, including a benefits officer and trauma counselling.
St Peter’s Church has provided £9,000 to fund the application, which locals are fundraising to pay back. The Benyon Estate, a property company in De Beauvoir, has offered two properties to any refugee family available at heavily subsidised rent.
The initial decision to act was made by four pensioners, who then set up the group De Beauvoir Welcomes Refugees.
Interim secretary Tom Carter, 72, said: “We thought ‘what is the government doing?’ Outrage is easy but it doesn’t get you anywhere. We needed to improve things.“
The team approached the Benyon Estate which was also looking to house a refugee family in one of the 350 properties the company owns across De Beauvoir.
Edward Benyon, manager of the Benyon Estate, said: “We are lucky enough to be in a position to look after these refugees and morally we feel we should.”
Any resettled family will pay local housing association rate – around £290 per week for a two-bed house – whilst living there. Benyon confirmed he that if he was renting the properties out on the open market, he would expect to receive more than 50% extra funds than what he will receive renting to the refugees.
Benyon added any family can stay longer than the two years the government allows stating: “Under no circumstances will we kick them out, we are in this for the long run and will provide housing as long as the family needs.”
Hackney Council will make its decision in the New Year.
Featured image: Dr Neil Clifton [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons