"Our whole family had long been appalled by the use of forced destitution as part of the “hostile environment”. When we heard that ASSIST provides free housing to destitute asylum seekers we were all keen to help. We contacted an ASSIST trustee, and we met with her and Jochen Kortlaender, ASSIST’s housing manager. We wanted our involvement to be anonymous, apart from the people at ASSIST who needed to know about this. We are very pleased that this wish has been fully respected.
"We were in the very fortunate position of being able to buy a house and then lease this, for no charge, to ASSIST. Jochen searched for suitable properties, which we then visited. With Jochen we chose a four-bed terraced house in north Sheffield. The house cost about £80k, was in reasonable condition and would provide a comfortable home for up to four adults. We bought the house, and at the same time negotiated a 10-year rent-free lease with ASSIST. We used a solicitor for this as we wanted to make sure that the lease was suitable for this slightly unusual arrangement. We completed the purchase and executed the lease on the same day, so ASSIST became immediately responsible for the house. We agreed that we would pay for some essential work needed on the house, leaving ASSIST to be responsible for general upkeep. The lease is clear about responsibility for Council Tax, utilities, insurance and so on.
"This all went really smoothly. As well as the cost of the house, the legal fees and remedial work cost us about £5k. Jochen was great to work with – he made the whole process as easy as possible. Since we bought the house in 2016, Jochen has let us know who has been living there. We are really pleased to have been able to support ASSIST and some of Sheffield’s asylum seekers in this way. If you are able to do the same, it’s something we’d heartily recommend."
ASSIST is enormously grateful for this generous loan. If you feel you could help us in a similar way please email firstname.lastname@example.org.