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. Your group will be able to put in a claim after a family have arrived. The Home Office will email your Lead Sponsor with a copy of this form (we will also be reminding you about this!). Do make sure you ask your Lead Sponsor to forward this on to you. You will need to demonstrate the costs you have incurred. This could be done via a bank statement showing the payments alongside a rental agreement covering that period, for example.
Void Property Costs are clamed at
- 1-3 Bedroomed properties are capped at 8 weeks of void property costs, capped at the Local Housing Allowance rate
- 4 bedroomed properties are capped at 12 weeks of void property costs, capped at the Local Housing Allowance rate*
* from 01 April 2021
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-19) 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. From 01 April 2021, this will be payable from the Home Office to your Lead Sponsor. If a family member is 18 on arrival, you can claim the rate for them when they turn 19.
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. Make sure that you let the GP Surgery where the family will be registered know that their relevant Health Authority can claim this funding. (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.
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.
The Home Office have an 'exceptional costs' budget for expenditure to support the resettlement of refugees. The ICI inspectors report of November 2020 found that this was under utilised. Before incurring any costs that may be reimbursed for the family you support, it is essential that you first contact the Home Office Community Sponsorship Team to discuss these. The 2020/21 Funding instruction outlines that these funds are available for:
- Property Adaptations
- Property Void Costs
- Support for children with identified educational needs
- Social Care provision
We strongly recommend that if you are incurring additional costs to support a family, you discuss this with the Home Office to see if additional assistance may be possible.