- Homes for Ukraine hosts to receive £500 a month as a ‘thank you’ for ongoing support after Ukrainian’s first year of sponsorship
- £150 million additional funding for local authorities across the UK to help support Ukrainian guests move into their own homes and reduce the risk of homelessness
- Councils in England to get new £500 million fund to acquire housing stock for those fleeing conflict (including from Ukraine and Afghanistan) and reduce homelessness
- New potential hosts urged to come forward and apply to re-match existing guests through the scheme
Thousands of families who opened their homes to Ukrainians fleeing Putin’s illegal war will now receive a package of further support, as government urges new potential hosts to come forward and apply for re-matching.
Over 100,000 Ukrainians have sought sanctuary in the UK through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, one of the fastest, biggest and most generous visa programmes in British history.
Now, in recognition of their ongoing support amidst the rising cost-of-living, all sponsors will receive an increased ‘thank you’ payment of £500 a month for guests who have been in the country for over a year.
‘Thank you’ payments will also be extended from 12 months to 2 years, so that guests who may not yet be ready to move into independent accommodation can stay in sponsorship for longer where sponsors are willing to extend arrangements.
In cases where sponsorships can no longer continue, councils in all parts of the UK will receive help to house Ukrainians through a one-off pot of government funding worth £150 million, as well as a new £500 million Local Authority Housing Fund in England.
Local authorities are best placed to understand the support needed for local communities and, as is typically the case for various local authority funding, they will also be able to use this £150 million of funding to support other people at risk of homelessness.
This housing £500 million fund will be reserved for councils in England to obtain housing for those fleeing conflicts (including in Ukraine and Afghanistan) and is expected to provide up to 4,000 homes by 2024, reducing the impact of new arrivals on existing housing pressures and eventually providing a new and permanent supply of accommodation for local communities.
Secretary of State, Michael Gove said:
I am immensely proud of this country’s dynamic and heart-warming response to the aggression of Putin’s war.
We have stood firm with Ukraine but we owe special thanks to the tens of thousands of families across the UK who opened their homes and their hearts to Ukrainians fleeing war.
In recognition of their ongoing support, I’m pleased to confirm that they will see their ‘thank you’ payments uplifted for their second year of sponsorship
Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Felicity Buchan said:
I am proud that the people of Britain continue to stand by our Ukrainian friends. Our brilliant sponsors and our local councils are at the very heart of this country’s response to Putin’s appalling war in Ukraine.
Hosting a Ukrainian family is a massive commitment and from the amazing sponsors I’ve met, I also know that the rising cost of living is putting additional pressures on both household and local finances. That is why we are increasing ‘thank you’ payments to keep this incredibly successful programme going.
But our work is not done yet. The crisis in Ukraine continues and I urge anyone who is able to, to come forward and volunteer as a sponsor.
The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain said:
Ukrainians everywhere are grateful to the government and the British people for opening their homes and hearts to Ukrainians fleeing their homes as a result of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
We welcome today’s announcement, which recognises the commitment of sponsors during difficult economic times, and will provide additional support and reassurance to Ukrainian families as they rebuild their lives and seek to overcome the trauma of war.
So far over 100,000 visas have been issued through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and 22,000 Ukrainian guests have arrived in Scotland, 6,000 in Wales, and 700 in Northern Ireland, including those sponsored directly by the Scottish and Welsh governments.
In some cases, where guests ‘rematch’ with new sponsors – these sponsors will be eligible for the increased payment if the guest is in their second year here in the UK.
In light of wider pressures on the public finances and to reflect the fact that a fraction of Ukrainian arrivals return to Ukraine, after arriving in the UK, the government is having to take tough decisions including to reduce the council tariff to £5,900 per person for arrivals entering the UK from 1 January 2023.
Councils will continue to receive the previous year one amount for any Ukrainian already in the UK. Local authorities will continue to receive separate funding in 2022-23 for the Ukraine education tariff under the rates and terms previously set out (a per child tariff of £3,000 for early years, £6,580 for primary and £8,755 for secondary and payments calculated on a pro-rata basis); and the Ukrainians families will also continue to receive government support on skills training, job centre access and welfare payments.
The £500 million Local Authority Housing Fund can be used by councils in England to buy housing stock, build new homes, convert existing non-residential properties, and refurbish delipidated housing or empty homes into accommodation for families. Due to the unique challenges presented by the different groups this money will be used to target the specific needs of each cohort in a particular area.
We always anticipated that a proportion of sponsorships would fail, or would come to an end due to changing circumstances. Our wider package, together with the £2 billion funding provided for homelessness and rough sleeping at the 2021 Spending Review and the £50 million top-up to the Homelessness Prevention Grant this year, are designed to help prevent potential homelessness numbers rising as rapidly as they otherwise could have done.
The UK government will continue to work with the Ukrainian government, the devolved administrations, local authorities and charities and voluntary groups to support guests and sponsors under the Scheme.
All arrivals in the UK have the right to work, and to receive benefits and access public services from day one. According to the latest figures from the ONS, 56% of Ukrainian adults surveyed who had arrived in or before June were in work. 66% of those out of work are intending to look for work in the next month and 17% were already in the private rented sector.
The government is keen to ensure that Ukraine guests receive the support they are entitled to while they are in the UK, and in particular are helped into employment and suitable accommodation, as soon as possible.