CALLS for private rented housing to help refugees from Afghanistan will not impact on finding housing for Wiltshire residents, according to the council.

Wiltshire Council has asked for private landlords with affordable property to help welcome and house families fleeing Afghanistan.

Since the initial call out, the council has already received “a number of offers” of support from landlords ready to help.

The council has moved to quell fears that this will impact Wiltshire families on waiting lists for affordable housing.

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A spokesman for the council said: “People who live in Wiltshire who need affordable homes join the council’s housing waiting list Homes4wilts and then bid for available affordable homes.

“Those who are successful in bidding for affordable homes are referred by the council to the affordable housing provider.

“The Afghan families will not be included in that process. Instead, they will move into private rented homes the same as any other household in Wiltshire who is looking for a suitable home in the private rented sector.”

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Leader of the council, Richard Clewer said: “We know there are people who want us to help those fleeing Afghanistan and we thank everyone for their support so far.

“However, understandably there are also those who are struggling to understand how we can house more people when there are people that need an affordable home in Wiltshire.

“I want to make it really clear that we are specifically asking private landlords to come forward with offers of help.

“It is our intention to use homes in the private rented sector or properties that are offered to us – as we did when support was offered to Syrian refugee families.

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“We’re doing this so we don’t impact on those Wiltshire people who have a need for an affordable home and have registered with the council’s Homes4wilts system.

“We are also talking to the Ministry of Defence about how we could support them using the significant number of empty MoD houses in the county as another option for both Afghan families and for the wider number of Wiltshire people needing a home in the county.”