UK govt urged to ensure Ukrainian refugees find permanent homes

London, Aug 18 (IANS): More than a thousand British hosts of Ukrainian refugees have signed an open letter asking the government to ensure that the people who have fled the Moscow-Kiev war find permanent homes.

Since the war began on February 24, around 79,000 refugees have come to the UK under the Homes For Ukraine sponsorship scheme, with hosts expected to provide accommodation for at least six months, reports dpa news agency.

Some of these placements will be approaching their end, with these refugees needing to find alternative accommodation either independently or with another sponsor.

Already, more than 1,300 Ukrainian single households and families have been assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness as of July 2, amid placements breaking down and accommodation proving unsuitable.

Councils fear that homelessness could rise as initial six-month placements with some hosts end.

The Sanctuary Foundation, which organised the letter, said finding appropriate and affordable long-term accommodation "is one of the greatest challenges" to the scheme.

The charity published the letter on Tuesday and as of Wednesday afternoon it had been signed by around 1,200 hosts who have opened up their homes to just under 3,000 refugees.

It reads: "As hosts who care deeply about the future of the Ukrainians in our homes, we ask the government to help us ensure they are able to take the next steps towards integration in our communities.

"There is currently no simple way for them to find their own homes, with social housing and the private rental sector already stretched and difficult to access."

The hosts are calling for the government to take a series of practical steps to help refugees find permanent accommodation, including for Universal Credit housing allowance to be topped up for 12 months to enable refugees to remain in their local area.

They are calling for local authorities to be guarantors for those trying to rent a home, and for the government to outline a clear re-matching process and to recruit more hosts.

They also echoed calls from the Local Government Association to increase the 350-pound a month "thank you" payment, which would help hosts providing accommodation for longer than six months and those "bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis".

The letter adds: "Knowing that our guests can move on swiftly and safely when they and we are ready to do so will make a big difference, and will reduce stress for those who have already faced so much trauma fleeing a war, as well as for those of us hosting them."



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Title: UK govt urged to ensure Ukrainian refugees find permanent homes

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