A pilot scheme to house ten families fleeing war in Syria to Oxford was announced last night.
Oxford City Council submitted a bid to the government’s Home Office to trial the plans with the hope of expanding it to more refugees.
The refugee families would stay in private rented housing paid for by the government.
The first Syrian refugees arrived in the UK on Tuesday, but the Home Office would not say how many were in the ‘small group’ or where they are staying.
Leader of Oxford City Council, Bob Price, said: “This pilot is an initial short-term solution to assess where we are with our plans and see if we are on the right track.”
Oxford West MP Nicola Blackwood, said: “We have a proud history in our area of giving sanctuary to those fleeing persecution.”
“Local councils, including Oxford City Council, along with local charities, churches and individuals have been generous in coming forward to offer help with the refugee crisis when many face tough financial choices ahead.”
Oxford City Council spokesman Dominic Llewllyn-Jones said they have not identified specific properties the refugees would live in, but that they would be in Oxford, either in single or shared accommodation.
He added: “The proposal, submitted earlier this week has still yet to receive a formal response from the Home Office and we are definitely looking to bring in more if it’s a success.”
The council said it is expecting the pilot to be funded by government and this will be discussed over the coming weeks to ensure there is no impact refugees or vulnerable people in Oxford.
Director of the Oxford-based charity Asylum Welcome, Kate Smart, said: “It’s better to take a smaller number than make a grander plan that takes longer to put in place.
“I’m sure the city council has been driven by the public support that was demonstrated at the march a few weeks ago.”
About 3 million people are thought to have fled civil war-torn Syria into neighbouring countries.
Prime Minister David Cameron announced earlier this month Britain would welcome 20,000 by 2020.
Last week Oxfordshire’s councils, charities, faith and volunteer groups announced they had struck up talks to discuss how to accommodate refugees.
Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth said: “Like everyone in Oxfordshire, I have been shocked and saddened by the images we have seen of refugees fleeing brutal regimes, such as Syria.
“We need an urgent humanitarian response, while keeping in mind the need for a long-term solution.”
A Home Office spokesman told the Guardian that a resettlement task force is currently reviewing the pilot scheme and will respond in due course.