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Ali’s story, help to find a home in Westminster

In 2021, as the political situation in Afghanistan escalated many of its citizens were left in a state of turmoil. Among those affected was Ali, an Afghan refugee who embarked on a remarkable journey of resilience, determination, and hope. Under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy, funded by the Home Office, Westminster City Council helped Ali to source accommodation and support to help rebuild his life.

The scheme pairs suitable families with privately rented accommodation and provides ongoing support in the form of a dedicated support worker to help the family settle in their new home and community. We have currently placed 8 Afghan families in privately rented accommodation under this scheme.

We recently spoke to Ali about his family’s journey to finding refuge and a new beginning in Westminster.

Ali's journey began when he, along with his wife and two young children, decided to flee Afghanistan. Their first destination was Pakistan, where they sought temporary shelter and safety. Eventually, they made their way to the UK, driven by the hope of finding a stable and secure future.

After seven months of living in a hotel, Ali was offered a private 2 bedroom apartment in the heart of Westminster which marked a turning point in rebuilding their lives.

Ali said:

I can’t describe the feeling when we received the news that we would have our own home. Our journey has been emotionally draining and we were so relieved to know that we finally had a place that we could settle and give our children some stability.

With the assistance of a Family Support Officer provided by the Single Homeless Project, Ali and his family received comprehensive support, including help with registering with a GP, dentist and enrolling their son in a local primary school.

The Council also provided financial support towards their rent.

Ali continued:

I cannot thank my support officer and the Council enough for your help. We have lived in Westminster now for around 18 months and my family are in great place. I have started my Masters in Law at a great University and my wife is also studying at college. We just want the best for our children and even though there is a long road ahead, we know that it will all be worth it in the end.

Ali was also granted a scholarship from the British Council in collaboration with City University of London, which facilitated his pursuit of a master’s degree in law.

Despite the challenges and uncertainties, Ali and his family’s story shows the importance of collaboration between central government, charities, and local government to support our most vulnerable people.

Published: 13 October 2023