Our Housing and Landlord Casework
Once granted refugee status, refugees are given 28 days to leave their Home Office provided accommodation and find somewhere to live. This is often a very stressful period, where refugees have to quickly understand the UK housing market. Our Housing and Landlord Caseworker supports newly granted refugees to find new accommodation and prevent homelessness.
Our Caseworker plays a vital role in supporting refugees to find safe and suitable housing as they navigate the challenges of displacement and resettlement. Our Caseworker work closely with local authorities, private landlords, social service agencies, and community organisations to ensure that refugees have access to adequate housing that meets their needs.
Clients are referred to their local authority after completing the comprehensive assessment of their housing needs. This assessment considers the family size and any potential vulnerabilities, such as health issues and disabilities. These assessments help determine the type of support required. Once housing is secured, our caseworker will provide ongoing support to refugees in managing their tenancy, explaining their rights and responsibilities, and addressing any issues or conflicts that may arise with the landlords.
Our Housing Team organise monthly housing forums for refugees, in Cardiff and Swansea. The purpose of the forums is to challenge some of the myths surrounding housing that exists among the refugee community. Housing legislation and rules are complex. We want to ensure that refugees don’t fall foul of them and end up in worse situations, including homelessness.
The housing forums serve to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding housing in Wales. Attendees are explained their options and the processes for accessing housing. The housing forums empower and prepare refugees to face and enter the housing market.
Omid came to Welsh Refugee Council after receiving their 28-day eviction notice from asylum accommodation. Omid was concerned that 28 days was not enough time to find a new home and needed our support.
Our Move On caseworkers met with Omid and created a personalised support plan, taking into account their personal circumstances. They were then referred to the local authority’s Housing Options Team to ensure homelessness was prevented. The Housing Options Team provided emergency Night shelter to Omid, but they were told they couldn’t stay more than 2 nights. Omid started to sleep in a mosque as a result.
Our Housing & Landlord Caseworker actively searched the alternative options and supported Omid to find their own affordable and secure private rental. Within a short period of time, our Caseworker managed to find a shared house for Omid and a viewing was booked for the next day. Omid was offered the property by the landlord and agreed to move in as soon as the bond and rent in advance was secured from the local authority.
Through the comprehensive support provided by WRC, Omid was able to prevent homelessness and secure stable housing. Omid was better positioned to rebuild their life and work towards a sustainable future.
Martha was referred to Welsh Refugee Council by a partner organisation that supports people from black and ethnic minorities who are victims of human trafficking. Martha had recently been granted refugee status. She had two children who had remained in Namibia and was desperate to be reunited with them through the family reunion process. Martha was a full-time Health Care Assistant and was employed by a care home in Cardiff. Martha was issued an asylum accommodation eviction letter and had to leave her accommodation within 28 days.
Recognising the immediate need for safe accommodation, the Housing and Landlord caseworker referred Martha to the local authority’s Housing Options Team to open a case for homeless prevention. Martha was offered an emergency night shelter by the local authority and was advised to queue daily at 6 pm to access a bed space at the shelter. During her fourth day of queuing, she was sexually assaulted by a man in the queue. She was upset and too scared to report the incident, so left the queue and went to stay with one of her friends. Our Housing Caseworker immediately reported the incident to Housing Options to investigate the matter and encouraged Martha to report the incident to the South Wales Police, who later transferred her to the South Wales Victim Support for counseling.
Martha was keen to move to the private rental sector. However, due to perceptions surrounding her immigration status, agencies and landlords refused to rent properties to her. Our Housing and Landlord Caseworker actively got in touch with private landlords and estate agents to dispel some of the myths surrounding refugees. Within a few days, our Caseworker managed to find a property near her workplace, which was offered by a private landlord who previously had offered properties to refugees. Arrangements were made for Martha to view the property. Within a few days, Martha signed the tenancy agreement and was able to move within a short period of time.
Through the support of our Housing and Landlord Caseworker, Martha was able to secure stable housing. Martha is currently waiting for her children to be reunited with her as her application for the family reunion has already been processed and waiting for the decision. As an organisation, we hope that Martha will be reunited with her family and start a new life.