Homes for Ukraine scheme payments extended to March 2023
Government confirmed the scheme, which has helped to house more than 75,900 people from Ukraine in the UK, will continue to run for “at least” a further six months from 18 September when its initial period ends.
In March 2022 the UK government launched the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, also called Homes for Ukraine, to allow Ukrainian nationals and their family members to come to the UK if they have a named sponsor who can provide suitable accommodation.
Refugees minister Lord Richard Harrington praised sponsors for their “selfless generosity” in helping thousands of people from Ukraine find safety in the UK.
He said: “The vast majority of sponsors say they want to provide support for longer than six months, which is testament to the goodwill the British public has shown the people of Ukraine since tanks first rolled across the border.
“They will of course continue to receive monthly “thank you” payments for up to 12 months to help with the associated costs of opening up their homes.”
Sponsors were asked to host for a minimum of six months back in March and Lord Harrington confirmed government is now contacting sponsors directly to outline next steps and the support available to them and the Ukrainians they are sponsoring.
In July the Office for National Statistics surveyed hosts and found that 56% of sponsors said guests had left of their own account before the scheme ended.
“We are also working closely with councils to ensure Ukrainians have a safe place to live if they decide to move on,” Lord Harrington added.
Happy to keep hosting
The ONS survey also revealed that one in four hosts said they’d happily continue hosting guests for up to a year since the scheme opened. Just shy of the same number said they’d continue after a year had passed.
Of those intending to provide accommodation for longer than six months but no more than 12 months, 70% said continuing to receive the £350 a month payment would encourage them to continue providing accommodation. Two in five said they would need to see more support for being a sponsor.
Cost of living challenges
A third of English householders who have taken in a Ukrainian refugee under the government’s Ukrainian Homes Scheme since 18 March admitted that the rising cost of living has affected their ability to keep providing support.
Some 9% said it had “very much” impacted their financial ability to support their lodger with a further 21% saying the effect was “quite a lot”.
Furthermore, 88% of sponsors said guests has been unable or had chosen not to contribute financially to the household taking them in. Of the 10% who did put some money in to the kitty, sponsors said almost nine in 10 contributions were made by buying food and other groceries.
One in four said they weren’t sure how long they planned to keep hosting and 42% of householders in England who opened up their homes to Ukrainian refugees un the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme said they wouldn’t sponsor others in the future. One in three said they would.
Half of those not wishing to continue said they were missing having their home to themselves and their family alone. Three in five said they’d only ever intended to provide short-term accommodation.
At 94%, the overwhelming majority of those signing up to the scheme said their primary reason was to help people fleeing a war zone. Just 10% said it was to access the extra £350 a month payable by the government to cover increased costs.
The majority of sponsors providing accommodation are aged between 50 and 69.
Mortgage lenders extend support for Homes for Ukraine
UK Finance confirmed that mortgage lenders would continue to support the scheme. A spokeswoman said: “As the Homes for Ukraine scheme approaches the six-month mark, lenders will continue to support borrowers who want to host refugees. Customers should refer to their lender’s website for more information. Given the increasing cost of living, anyone who is worried about meeting their mortgage payments should contact their lender as soon as possible.”
Participants will need to continue making their full mortgage payments while part of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme and should factor this into account when considering entering or continuing the scheme.
Most lenders have automatically waived their T&Cs so customers will not need to contact them to let them know if they are hosting refugees. Customers should check their lender’s website for details.
To find out how lenders and insurers currently view hosts, read Your Money’s guide to what the Homes for Ukraine scheme means for you.