Hammersmith & Fulham Council is helping more and more Afghan refugees find permanent homes in the borough.
Husband and wife, Ahmad, 21, and Asma, 22, arrived in H&F in August 2021 as part of the UK’s Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme. After five months in temporary accommodation, we found them a permanent home in the private rented sector in January.
“Everyone deserves a safe home, including those fleeing war, persecution and conflict,” said Cllr Rebecca Harvey, H&F Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion and Community Safety. “It has been fantastic to hear how well Asma and Ahmad have settled into their new home over the summer.
“Our work with local landlords to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees ensures that we can offer those families safety and security, and it is these landlords’ generosity and support of our scheme that is making H&F a stronger, safer, kinder borough for everyone.”
Home sweet Hammersmith
The couple are delighted with their new home.
“When they offered us this flat, and I saw that it was in Hammersmith, I was so happy,” Asma said. “I love Hammersmith and think it’s so beautiful. I like how busy it is and how close by everything is. The view from the windows is my favourite part. The landlord has also let us move a shelf and paint it, so we could make the flat more our own.”
“I did the painting, I know my role,” joked Ahmad.
H&F has found permanent homes for six families living in temporary accommodation and are continuously working to identify suitable housing for those still living in what was supposed to be temporary hotel accommodation.
If you’re a local landlord and would like to offer your housing to the scheme, visit our Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme page.
Finishing their education
Before the Taliban takeover of their country last August, Asma had been studying for her degree in Civil Engineering. Her husband, alongside his work in security, was studying dentistry and in his second year when the Taliban seized power.
The couple currently attend a college in H&F each week. Ahmad is studying English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Level Two and Asma is a taking a Functional Skills course.
H&F has been able to support the couple’s learning through referrals to Ready Tech Go and the West Central London Community Laptop Donation Programme.
The charities provide technological equipment and support to those who don’t have access to it, and Asma and Ahmed’s referral through the council means that the two will receive a tablet and laptop to help them complete college work at home.
“We’re very grateful for all the help H&F Council has been able to provide. Before the referral we were doing our learning on my mobile and it was really difficult,” said Asma.
“It was so upsetting to have to leave when I was so close to finishing my degree” she added.
“I loved university, I got to study my passion and worked so hard for my achievements. I only had a semester left and now I may have to start from zero again, which would be tough.”
“Now that we live here, Ahmad thinks he’d like to work as a policeman. We see them all over the place and he has so much experience as a security guard that he thinks he’d like it,” said Asma.
Arriving in London
Asma and Ahmad were allowed to travel to London because of Ahmad’s security work with the British Armed Forces in Afghanistan.
They made the journey with some of Ahmad’s relatives but most of Asma’s immediate family have had to stay behind.
“My uncle and my brothers were also allowed to flee because of their work in the National Crime Agency. I have one brother in Scotland, one in Cardiff and my uncle is in Gloucester,” said Ahmed.
“My mother and my brothers are still back home,” said Asma.
“I have one brother under 18 and an older brother who has a degree, but he can’t find any work. My father has died but my mother is not allowed to work to support our family because it goes against the Taliban’s rules.”
Asma is working hard to resettle her family in the UK and is hoping that the UK Government will be able to support her application soon.
“We are learning to be happy here,” she said. “Back home our country has been dangerous our whole lives and now we’re somewhere safe. I worry about my family who are still back home, but we are so grateful to the council for helping us.”
H&F’s Afghan landlord appeal
H&F Council is working with the UK Home Office to rehouse Afghan refugees, and we want to work with local landlords to do this.
We’re looking for one-to-four-bedroom self-contained properties available to rent at Local Housing Allowance Rates.
If you would like to sign your property up for this scheme, or to find out more, visit our Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme page.
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