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How can a landlord save lives of Syrian refugees?

Syrian Refugees

It’s really very easy!

Renting a home to a family of Syrian refugees who have been driven out of their homes by a terrible civil war might be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It has been for me.

The government has promised to resettle 20,000 refugees from Syria by 2020 but so far only about 4,000 have arrived because local authorities and community groups are struggling to find housing for them.

If private landlords would come forward and offer to rent to Syrian families, local authorities and community groups would be able to bring over people now struggling to survive as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

Unfortunately, most landlords have no idea how easy and cost-effective renting to a Syrian refugee family really is! Or that this scheme does not take away from the pool of housing the local authority has reserved for local people.

My experience as a landlord housing Syrian refugees

It started with a short video clip sent to me a couple of months ago when I discovered that our family letting business could potentially save Syrian lives and we would still benefit financially! So why wouldn’t I try?

This, combined with my need to help families experiencing similar challenges as I did growing up, as new arrivals in Canada, with parents working hard to make their way in a strange country, is what motivated me. And we didn’t even come from a war zone!

My first experience of renting to a Syrian family has moved me beyond words. I have been able to help a newly reunited family by giving them a new start, with the help of supportive friends and family.

When Sheghaf, Khaled and their daughter Dania arrived a few weeks ago to rent our flat in Tottenham, I found the experience changed my life as much as theirs. I formed a deep friendship with people who have lived through a terrible trauma but whose positive attitude on life has been contagious.

Seeing them working hard to put down new roots has inspired me. Khaled, who was a bank manager in Syria, is applying for jobs in banking and finance. quickly found the chance to train as a supermarket cashier. Sheghaf, who was an architect and teaching engineering in Aleppo, has several offers from universities to study for her PhD. Dania is only 2-1/2 but learned her first words of English within days and won the heart of my 10-year-old daughter.

This has been a terrific opportunity for my children and me to realize our humanitarian duties and also see the benefits to our family letting business.

If you’d like to know more, please contact Paul Eedle [email protected] at Muswell Hill Methodist Church, which is working to bring a Syrian family to the UK under the government’s new “Community Sponsorship” scheme, Atia Lokhat-Hafezjee [email protected],  or Roy Dunbar [email protected] at Haringey Council, which is committed to resettling 10 Syrian families.

By Atia Lokhat-Hafezjee

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