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Concern grows that Homes for Ukraine program is ‘quietly phasing out’

The government has been urged to “be part of the solution, not another trauma” for Ukrainian refugees by making sure they find shelter when they move away from sponsored agencies.

There are growing concerns that the Homes for Ukraine program is “quietly phasing out,” groups said.

The hosts want to continue supporting the families they sponsor, but are concerned about the future of the program and fear government support will not be increased to meet the rising cost of living.

And refugees who want to move into their own accommodation face numerous obstacles.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said it was “deeply concerned” by the growing number of Ukrainians presenting themselves to their council as homeless.

The government said the program will continue and it is looking to increase the number of new sponsors available.

More than 30 organizations have written to the Prime Minister asking for public assurances that the scheme will continue to receive government support and financial support.

The open letter said: “Britain has a proud history of leading the fight against tyrants and speaking up for the oppressed.

“Homes for Ukraine stands firmly in that tradition, which is why we hope the government will now make it clear – to host families and refugees alike – that their commitment remains unwavering.”

The groups – including More in Common, the Refugee Council and the Sanctuary Foundation – are demanding an extra winter payment to recognize the generosity of hosts during the cost of living crisis.

Hosts are currently receiving a £350 monthly thank you payment, with Lord Richard Harrington campaigning for this to be doubled before he resigns as Minister for Refugees in September.

They also call for a rental system in which municipalities act as guarantors for private landlords and the creation of a database of landlords willing to rent to refugees.

And they want a new Minister for Refugees to be appointed after Lord Harrington’s departure.

Lesia Scholey, a host volunteer for Elmbridge CAN refugee charity in Elmbridge, Surrey, said: “Since the day they arrived in the UK in search of sanctuary and safety, Ukrainian families, from many of whom are mothers and young children, what will happen to them when a recording contract ends.

“To see that many are now homeless due to a lack of clear mechanisms for housing causes a lot of sadness.

“The UK government needs to put in place a long-term plan for people on three-year visas and be part of the solution, not another trauma for displaced people.”

Around 96,800 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme since it launched in March, the latest government figures show.

The number of Ukrainian households that became homeless or at risk of homelessness after arriving in England stands at 1,915 – most of them families with children.

These figures from the Ministry of Leveling, Housing and Communities also include Ukrainians who have arrived under the separate family program.

YouGov polls for the More in Common group of 2,000 people in July suggest the program remains popular, with about 70% of the public wanting it to continue and 15% opposed.

Luke Tryl, UK Director at More in Common, said: “As part of her bold commitment to standing by Ukraine and its people, the Prime Minister should now ensure hosts and families are given the clarity and extra support they need to stay safe and to feel secure in the coming winter and in the coming year.”

James Jamieson, chairman of the LGA, said it was crucial to increase financial support for sponsors.

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