Charity helps Ukrainians find British hosts to cut work | Ukraine

A leading charity that has helped the government rematch Ukrainian refugees with British hosts after initial placements have ended or aborted has been forced to scale back its work saying the plan is unworkable.

Refugees at Home is one of five volunteer and community organizations listed on the gov.uk website as “authorized providers” to help match and rematch Ukrainian refugees with UK hosts.

Hosting arrangements run for a minimum of six months and many are now coming to an end after the arrangement opened in March this year. With fewer British hosts now coming forward, rematch requests from Ukrainians are on the rise.

Many Ukrainian households have become homeless – about a third of them in London. According to government figures, 1,565 Ukrainian households were registered as homeless by the municipality from February 24, 2022 to August 26, 2022.

Refugees at Home said: “We are very sorry that Refugees at Home cannot assist with relocation requests under the Homes for Ukraine scheme for placements not originally made through Refugees at Home.”

The statement added: “This is due to the terms and requirements of the Homes for Ukraine program.

“In addition to hosts and guests, we have been approached by a number of local authorities who have asked us to support them in making these rematches. Unfortunately, we cannot do that due to the complexity of the current arrangement.”

The Local Government Association has also expressed concern about the housing situation for Ukrainian refugees. The chairman, Cllr James Jamieson, said councils, Ukrainians and hosts need “certainty” about the next steps.

“There are concerns that more Ukrainian families will have to present themselves as homeless due to a lack of sponsors or other options,” he said. “As the number of Ukrainians who present themselves as homeless continues to rise gradually alongside the cost of living crisis, sponsor support may need to be improved to encourage new or existing landlords to sponsor in the longer term, as inflation and energy costs are rising,” he said.

Robina Qureshi, CEO of Positive Action In Housing, which has linked more than 350 Ukrainian individuals to hosts in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, said there were “layers of chaos” in the government’s hosting plan, along with a lack of strategy.

“NGOs are doing what we can based on our own expertise, but we are looking at a ticking time bomb,” she said.

Sara Nathan, co-founder of Refugees at Home, said the charity’s work would continue for the first matches between Ukrainians and British hosts, but it would only work on realigning requests from Ukrainian refugees for which they are the first placement. had done. All other rematch requests are now rejected.

In September, the charity turned down 60 rematch requests: “We are concerned that there appears to be no change in strategy. We found it very difficult to help with rematches. It’s just too bureaucratic and there’s no mechanism for one municipality to talk to another about this. Policies should be put in place to resolve this. We can’t expect the local authorities to do it,’ Nathan said.

A government spokesman said: “We continue to work closely with Refugees at Home and local councils to ensure that families have a place to stay.

“We are grateful to the hosts for the generosity and goodwill over the past six months – and the majority of sponsors want to continue hosting.

“For guests who do go further, we launched rematching in May, which has been successful in finding ongoing accommodation for families and we are working with municipalities to expand this service.”

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