Concerns grow about impending homelessness amongst Ukrainian refugees living with UK hosts
22 August 2022
UK hosts have urged the UK Government to consider proposals to double the £350 payment for hosting Ukrainians, amid growing fears that thousands of refugees could be left homeless. Here is Positive Action in Housing's view on the impending hosting crisis and how it should best be managed.
In response to the news that UK hosts have urged the UK Government to consider proposals to double the £350 payment for hosting Ukrainians, amid growing fears that thousands of refugees could be left homeless, Positive Action in housing, a refugee homelessness charity which started the country’s oldest hosting network, said:
Our Room for Refugees Network has been running since 2002, we manage the hosting relationship so that arrangements can be brought to an end easily, or extended if all is going well. In the case of Homes for ukraine, there is no system in place for a third party to support or manage the hosting placement. The Homes for Ukraine programme drove hosts and guests to social media to find each other, at the height of a media frenzy. The government never consulted experts in the field. They never considered the risks of using social media or how to manage the hosting relationship and make it sustainable long term.
It is unrealistic to assume that Ukrainian refugees will just move on to new accommodation when there are pre-existing housing shortages and homelessness across the country. Rent deposits are also prohibitively expensive. It remains to be seen whether extending or doubling the £350 payment makes a difference. But if people are already barely tolerating each other in the same living space, it won't make a difference. It will be the refugees who must leave. The worst case scenario is where a host feels obliged to keep their guests in their homes without a resolution or end in sight.
In the absence of a proper system, we would encourage hosts and guests to have a conversation at least a month before the end date about when is a suitable exit date. Guests may need help to find alternative accommodation or assistance with presenting themselves as homeless to local authorities.