Refugees from Afghanistan
Camden stands ready to welcome refugees, and always has. We have a long and proud history of welcoming people who are displaced from all around the world as the flee conflict, disaster, and persecution.
Refugees who have settled in Camden have become valued members of our community and have helped to make Camden the vibrant, creative, and diverse place that it is today.
We are here to support people when they are at their most desperate, providing them with safety, shelter, and the opportunity to rebuild their lives and find happiness.
We share an ambition with our community to provide the help that Afghan refugees deserve. Support needs to be ongoing and all-encompassing in order to ensure refugees settle and have what they need to thrive.
We will need to work closely with the government, our partners, and local community organisations to deliver this. However, a decade of austerity has reduced the capacity of local councils to do everything that is being asked of us by government.
We need funds from government that match the scale of the challenge.
In the last decade Camden has stepped up to support those in need:
- We welcomed 22 Syrian families – comprising 82 people – in 2016, initially the largest London response to the crisis in Syria.
- We welcomed 10 young people from camps in Calais into our care between October and December 2016.
- This is in addition to supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children that come into our care every year. We are currently supporting 52 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Camden.
Councils, along with their partners have the connections, the structures and the services needed to save lives, provide emergency support and then to provide a base from which to grow and thrive.
But this is what we do for anyone who has hit hard times - we presently have 6500 people on our housing waiting lists, all of whom have needs.
In Camden we believe that everyone should have a safe place to call home and we are urging government to manage the long term secure and safe resettlement of families as quickly as possible.
Statement from Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council
It is devastating to see the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. We are concerned for the safety of all Afghan citizens and are particularly concerned about the safety and rights of women and girls. The Government must act quickly to ensure the safe and legal passage for those fleeing the Taliban and we stand ready in Camden to welcome refugees seeking safety.
Camden has a long and proud history of helping refugees, often stepping in where government has failed to take action. We will welcome families into our borough and give them the support and help they need to rebuild their lives.
We will work with all of our partners and local community organisations to offer the best help we can to families who find themselves in this desperate situation. This is not a political issue; it is a humanitarian one that must have support from all political parties. But if government is serious about putting local government at the centre of this response, then we urge Ministers to recognise the desperate situation we find ourselves in. We need more money to build new homes, and we need it fast.
The government have reduced our funding by half since 2010. And we’ve been stopped from raising £30m through rent increases because of the rent cap. Our funding needs to be increased and the rent cap lifted.
Camden’s Housing, Health care and Education support packages for refugees are detailed on our site and consists of:
- Housing: Housing to cover both the initial emergency accommodation and longer-term housing for refugees.
- Food support: No-one arriving in Camden will go hungry.
- Health care: Refugees will receive the physical healthcare and mental health support they need.
- Education: We will work to ensure all refugee children are able to learn and develop while they are in Camden, and make sure there is high quality school or early years place for all Afghan children who settle here.