Housing three refugee families in as many days


We’ve now been providing housing for refugees for over six years under the Suffolk Refugee Resettlement Programme and, throughout the duration of the project, we’ve been accustomed to families arriving months apart with 12 week lead up time to arrivals. Keen to keep us on our toes, the Home Office notified us part-way through July that we were to expect not one, not two, but three families, all arriving on consecutive days

It was then a case of all hands on deck, with properties requiring decorating, cleaning and furnishing in order to welcome the families to their new homes in the UK.  Our Business Support sourced a mini-bus that whisked Sammie and Maurice from our housing team off to Heathrow Airport on Tuesday, armed with drinks, snacks, nappies and baby milk to greet a family and accompany them on the journey to their new residence. Maurice’s soaring rendition of ’10 green bottles’ is said to have drawn a mixed response from the somewhat bemused looking family.

The next and biggest complication threatened to derail the entire effort. Just 4 days before the arrivals, a severe leak developed underneath one of the properties and following conversations with the Landlord and an assessment from a plumber, came the news we dreaded; it would take at least a week to resolve. Left with a now temporarily uninhabitable property, a new house was needed, specifically a 4-bedroom house capable of comfortably accommodating a family of 7, not easy to come by! The team quickly identified another property and over the next few days a lot of time was spent readying that house, including sourcing removals to transport all of the furnishings, white goods etc. that had been delivered to and set up at the original property. As if setting up three properties in such a short space of time wasn’t a big enough task, the team subsequently had to set up four!

As a hectic week in Housing comes to an end, we’ve now got three new Refugee families safely housed and ready to start their new life in the UK – a huge team effort, with multiple Housing Officers, Housing Co-ordinators and our Maintenance Co-ordinator all lending their time to support this successful piece of work and we are very grateful to everybody that put aside their own work and chipped in. A massive thanks to all involved in this wonderful piece of work.