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Uncategorized

Ukrainian refugees faced being homeless in Nottinghamshire after housing plans broke down

today3 July 2022

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Recent government data shows nearly a dozen Ukrainian refugees have been left homeless in Nottinghamshire after placements broke down. Between Thursday, February 24, and Friday, June 3, councils in Nottinghamshire have helped at least eight households who fled the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The households, including at least single household and four with dependent children, found themselves facing homeless in the UK. There are two routes to help Ukrainians get visas to come to the UK, and these are The Ukrainian Family Scheme which allows applicants to join family members, or Homes for Ukraine, which allows people to offer a home to people fleeing Ukraine.

This could be someone they know or someone they have been matched with through the scheme. At least one placement through the Homes for Ukraine scheme has broken down to the point where council chiefs had to step in and the accommodation arrangement broke down.

Read more: DWP refusal to alter Universal Credit rule – despite it creating two month payment rise delay

Some of those arriving under the family scheme have also needed council help. One sought homelessness help as the accommodation arrangement had broken down, whereas another three asked for help due to the accommodation being unavailable or unsuitable on arrival.

In other situations, a council has had to find new accommodation for the homeless households, and in Nottinghamshire one household has been put in temporary accommodation, while one has been found settled accommodation. Councillor Marion Bradshaw, Portfolio Holder for safer communities, housing and wellbeing on Mansfield District Council, said: “Mansfield District Council has given support to Ukrainian refugees under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

“We have carried out visits in 29 homes across Mansfield and second visits take place when families arrive and settle. We have had success in our scheme with only two instances where alternative hosts were sought.

“The council continues to give support and assistance through its housing and cultural services teams.” A spokesperson from Rushcliffe Borough Council said: “The Council are supporting Nottinghamshire County Council as lead authority in both schemes that aid Ukraine nationals, the Homes For Ukraine and family schemes to ensure that Ukrainian guests are supported and welcomed in accordance with national guidance.

“Guests based in Rushcliffe have reported a very positive experience to date and we continue to work with individuals, families and their and hosts on further support, including regular meetings in West Bridgford that are creating networks and more on how to access advice such as free English lessons.”

Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke, said: “Councillors unanimously voted to support refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, and have been working with service areas all across the council to ensure help is being offered wherever possible. Our officers have carried out inspections at every property offering to house refugees under the Homes For Ukraine Scheme, ensuring they are suitable and safe, as well as working closely with hosts to help prevent issues such as relationship breakdowns and risk of homelessness.

“We hope that our guests and hosts can continue with the fantastic relationships they have built up already, however with support from partners at Nottinghamshire County Council, we have plans in place to help rematch guests if necessary. We haven’t had any cases of refugees declaring as homeless under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme in Gedling Borough, but if a case does arise and we cannot rematch them under the scheme or because they may be on the family scheme, our housing needs team will work with those affected households to provide guidance and support.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has come forward to help in this time of crisis, we wouldn’t be able to do this without our residents volunteering to open their doors to refuges. I hope that everyone being rehomed feel welcomed to the borough during what must be an unimaginably heart-breaking time.”

Councillor David Lloyd, leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “The arrival of Ukrainian guests within the district is a process that requires a lot of hard work and dedication from our teams to make sure guests are settled in a secure and safe environment. We do not have any arrivals via the Homes for Ukraine scheme facing homelessness within Newark and Sherwood district and all allocated host accommodation is in line with the government criteria and all necessary checks have been undertaken.

“We held an information evening in May for both hosts and Ukrainian guests to meet one another and find out more about the support on offer in the local community: from partner agencies, charities and community groups. Hosts have put together Facebook groups to communicate with one another and we’re hoping to hold more events for hosts and guests in the future.”

Across England 660 Ukrainian refugee households have approached councils after facing homelessness across both schemes, and this number may be higher as it is not a requirement for councils to report these numbers. Of those needing help, 480 households had dependent children whilst the other 180 households were made up of single people.

Enver Solomon, chief executive of Refugee Council, said: “It is worrying to hear that desperate Ukrainian families who have fled war, endured trauma and heartbreak, arriving here entrusting their safety in our hands have been left to fall into homelessness.

“Ukrainian families arriving here need a warm welcome, safe housing and benefits, emotional support and connection. We’re concerned that Ukrainians arriving on family visas are running into problems as not all relatives will have the space or the resources to support their family members, which is why there needs to be the same level of funding available to them and local councils as is provided under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

“We welcomed the thousands of British people that came forward to open their homes, however these hosting relationships were always going to come with risks and responsibilities. That is why it is vital the government ensure that hosts and refugees are provided with the right training and specialist support, including help to find alternative accommodation when necessary to avoid the risk of homelessness.”

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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