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Vinnies plea for landlords to help sponsored refugees

The St Vincent de Paul migrant and refugee coordinator in South Australia has raised concerns about a housing rental crisis being faced by sponsored refugees.

"They just can't find anywhere to live," Bob Hart told the Southern Cross.

Mr Hart said many of the estimated 1000 refugees who arrive in South Australia each year are refugees sponsored by family members already in the state. Sponsored refugees pay for their own airfares and must find their own housing in the private rental market.

"Often they come from a large family, they don't have a job and they're African; all of which seems to make it very difficult for them to enter the private rental market initially."

"To complicate matters, applicants for private housing need to provide references from previous landlords, and when your home for the past five years has been a refugee camp in Africa this is extremely hard."

Mr Hart said while St Vincent de Paul has two refugee houses available for new refugees, they are in great demand. "We try to make the accommodation short-term, but that's difficult when we can't find a suitable house for the families to move to."

Mr Hart's message to landlords and rental agents was simple: "Give these people a break. If you've got a house, please consider. This is a migrant country; many of the people who are now the landlords and the agents were once migrants themselves."

Those who would like to help or seek further information may contact the Migrant and Refugee Committee through Vinnies' main number, (08) 8212 6311.

Housing crisis for sponsored refugees (Southern Cross August 2004)

St Vincent de Paul Society (SA) Inc.
[UK] Refugee health proposals 'cruel and unfair' say Jesuits (Independent Catholic News 11/8/04)

13 Aug 2004