Thousands of Ukrainian refugees are now homeless as sponsorships end

By Sophie Peachey Journalist,
and Alpha Kamara Filmmaker

Nearly 3,000 Ukrainian households are now homeless as the first six months of the Homes for Ukraine scheme end.

“It’s really difficult to start again from zero”

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Alla and I met near London Bridge to talk about her experience in the UK.

Alla is from Ukraine, and came to the UK with her two children in April under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. 
The Homes for Ukraine scheme matches Ukrainian refugees with hosts, so that they can come and live in the UK whilst Russia’s war continues. 
The scheme started in March. Around 115,000 Ukrainians have come to the UK so far this year.
The scheme asked hosts to commit to a minimum of six months. This period is now ending for thousands of refugees. Many of them have nowhere to go. 
Alla, like the others, has had to find somewhere new to live. 
Her sponsorship was due to end in October, because her host family are having a new baby. 
Her hosts have let her and her children stay until January, to give them time to search for accommodation. 
Others have been given far shorter notice to move out. 

Nearly 3,000 Ukrainian households are homeless

There are currently 2,985 Ukrainian households who have told councils that they’re homeless. 
This means more than 2,000 families with children and at least 900 individuals. 
The number of homeless Ukrainian households has risen by nearly 30% in the last month.
600 families are living in temporary accommodation. 
Thousands of Ukrainians are now reaching out to councils to ask for social housing or private renting solutions. 
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"It's very difficult. Actually, it's impossible."

Alla asked her local council for help with finding new accommodation. She told them she wanted to stay in the same area, so her children could attend the same schools. 
They told her this was almost impossible. 
She managed to find a new host through her local community and network of friends she’s built up in the area. 
I asked Alla if she’d be able to rent privately, if she couldn’t find a new host. 
She said she thought this was definitely impossible. 

The cost of living is making things harder

It’s understood that the cost of living is heavily contributing to people needing to end their hosting earlier than planned. 
To tackle this, politicians have said they will increase the £350 monthly payments given to host families to £500 after they have hosted for more than a year. 
Councils will also be given money to help stop homelessness among Ukrainian refugees, and to find more homes.  
Some councils, like Dorset, Somerset County and Camden in London, have independently increased payments to host families in their constituencies. 
Camden's Councillor, Cllr Georgia Gold, has said they’ve increased the overall payment to £550 a month. 
She’s calling for a long-term response from the government and a wider funding commitment to support councils and communities as the war continues. 
Heather Savory, a Trustee of Ukrainian Sponsorship Pathway UK (USPUK), gave us a statement on the current situation: 
“The prolonged length of the war in Ukraine is not something anyone anticipated and it is very regrettable that it is continuing into the winter months and causing such hardship.” 
“We are continuing to work with the government to find and support new hosts for Ukrainian families in need and we support Lord Harrington’s call for the amount of money being provided to those who continue, or start to, host Ukrainians under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme to be increased.”