Positive Action in Housing warns of impending homelessness of Ukrainian refugees in the UK
A Scottish housing charity has urged the UK Government to consider proposals to double the £350 payment for hosting Ukrainians amid concerns the growing cost of living could drive thousands of people fleeing the conflict into homelessness.
Positive Action in Housing, which has been running the ‘Our Room for Refugees Network’ since 2002, said that the government’s management of the Homes for Ukraine programme “drove hosts and guests to social media, at the height of a media frenzy”.
The charity accused the government of failing to “consult experts in the field, consider the risks of using social media, or keeping vulnerable people safe”.
It added the £350 payment given to those who opened their homes to refugees was insufficient to support households already struggling during the cost of living crisis.
The Room for Refugees Network is run by the charity, which manages the hosting relationship between displaced people and hosts so that arrangements can be ended easily or extended.
A spokesperson for the charity added: ”It is unrealistic to assume that Ukrainian refugees will just move on to new accommodation when there are pre-existing housing shortages and homelessness across the country.
“Rent deposits are also prohibitively expensive. It remains to be seen whether extending or doubling the £350 payment makes a difference.
“But if people are already barely tolerating each other in the same living space, it won’t make a difference. It will be the refugees who must leave.
“In the absence of a proper system, we would encourage hosts and guests to have a conversation at least a month before the end date about when is a suitable exit date.
“Guests may need help to find alternative accommodation or assistance with presenting themselves as homeless to local authorities.
“The worst case scenario is where a host feels obliged to keep their guests in their homes without a resolution or end in sight.”
A UK Government spokesperson said: “More than 115,200 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK since Putin’s invasion and all arrivals have access to benefits and public services, as well as the right to work or study, from the day they arrive.
“The overwhelming majority of people are settling in well, but in the minority of cases where family or sponsor relationships break down, councils have a duty to ensure families are not left without a roof over their head.
“Councils also have access to a rematching service to find a new sponsor in cases under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.”