As you plan your budget you will be looking into how your group will fund the delivery of your resettlement plan. Alongside your fundraising activities, you should consider the other sources of funding that are available to sponsorship groups and to Local Authorities and GPs that provide services to resettled refugee families. You may find it helpful to know about this funding when you are approaching your Local Authority and GPs about resettling a family in your area.
Property Void Costs
In property terms, a void cost is when a property is empty and receives no income from tenants. It is likely that you will incur some void costs in the accommodation while you are waiting for the family to arrive. From 1 November 2018, the Home Office will reimburse actual void costs, capped at 8 weeks’ Local Housing Allowance rate. Your group will be able to make this claim after a family have arrived. Those wishing to claim should email the Home Office Community Sponsorship Team who will send you a form to complete and will explain the process of making a claim. You will need to demonstrate the costs incurred. This could be done via a bank statement showing the payments alongside a rental agreement covering that period, for example. You can read more in the Home Office Q&A.
The payment of void costs will extend to the lifetime of the current Vulnerable Persons and Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Schemes up to 2020.
Funding available for statutory services
We recommend that, when you are carrying out your research into schools and medical services as part of your resettlement plan, you share the following information with Local Authorities and GPs as they may not be aware that this funding is available to them.
Local Authorities will be able to claim £4,500 for children aged 5-18 and £2,250 for children aged 3-4 from the Home Office. You can find more information in the Local Authority Funding Instruction
All Adult (over-18) Refugees must be given to access to formal ESOL classes for 8 hours per week. In order to support this, the Home Office can provide £850 per adult refugee which can be used to contribute toward running classes, paying ESOL fees or providing childcare where this is a barrier to attendance – this funding is only available on request and via a proposal from your Local Authority and you should work with them to submit a request for this funding.
Once registered with a GP, a CCG in England, Health Boards in Scotland and Wales or the Department of Health in Northern Ireland can claim £2,600 per family member from the Home Office. This is a single payment that can be claimed in the first 12 months following the refugees’ arrival in the United Kingdom. You can find more information here in the Healthcare Funding Instruction. (Please note that the funding instruction implies that the support Community Sponsorship Groups is for a 24 month period, this is not the case, the support you will provide is for a 12 month period).
A Local Authority can claim Exceptional Cost payments in order to cover social care provision for refugees. There is no minimum or maximum amount that can be claimed but Exceptional Costs cannot be claimed for support provided to a Refugee that would normally be funded through health or education funding or through welfare payments. It is essential that before incurring Exceptional Costs, a Local Authority should seek in principle agreement in writing from the Home Office or risk having the claim rejected.
Making Changes to a Property to Improve Accessibility
Community Sponsorship Groups can claim up to £30,000 from the Home Office to make changes to a property to make it more accessible to a refugee with mobility needs. This could include adding handrails or ramps but cannot include extensions. The claim is subject to approval by the Home Office on a case by case basis requiring an assessment by an occupational therapist or similarly qualified person. In principle approval for your Community Sponsorship Application would need to be awarded by the Home Office in advance of any work being undertaken. If a grant is made available for adapting a social or private rented property the landlord is required to make the property available for letting by the tenant for a period of five years upon completion of the work, in line with Disabled Facility Grant arrangements.