New guidance issued to housing staff working with refugees

A new guide to ensure refugees’ right to quality accommodation is upheld has been issued to housing professionals.

Published by the Scottish Refugee Council with the support of the Scottish government and the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, the updated guide aims to ensure that all refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland are treated with dignity and fairness.

scottish refugee council          scottish government          chi scotland

The guide is aimed at housing practitioners working in Scottish local authorities, housing associations and the third sector who are assisting the integration of asylum seekers and/or refugees. It provides essential information about people’s rights and entitlements in relation to housing, homelessness and welfare benefits. It also includes guidance and examples of good practice aimed at reducing homelessness among refugees, increasing housing options and improving tenancy sustainment.

The guide will help all housing professionals ensure they are fully aware of not only the rights of refugees and asylum seekers but also refugees’ strengths and the important contribution refugees can make to communities. It reflects the many changes that have taken place in asylum policy over recent years including the transfer of the responsibility for accommodating asylum seekers away from local authorities to private contractors and the extension in 2015 of the Syrian Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Programme.

Jamie Stewart, housing development officer at Scottish Refugee Council, said: “A safe, secure home is so fundamentally important for all of us but especially so for people who are new to Scotland and trying to navigate their way through complicated systems and may be recovering from torture, trauma and violent human rights abuses.

Our new guide for housing professionals will help practitioners continue to deliver their important, life-changing work in supporting refugees to integrate into Scottish society and reach their potential as new Scots.”

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