The situation in the Ukraine is worrying and upsetting for everyone, but particularly for those families who have no choice but to leave their homes, their loved ones and everything they know behind.
We can completely understand that you may want to open up your home to people fleeing the conflict, or help in other ways if you can, which is why we’ve put together this information. There’s a lot you can do which could help to make a difference, either by providing a roof, warmth and security, or by helping to provide vital supplies to the people who have stayed behind.
The Homes for Ukraine scheme has been created by the Government to help people fleeing the country. People in the UK can sponsor a family or individual and open up their homes, for at least six months, longer if they can.
Generally, as our resident, if you have the room to take in a refugee as part of the scheme, then you can, but please talk with your customer partner before you do. Please call us and ask to speak with your customer partner or email us to let us know what you are hoping to do. We’ll need to do a couple of checks, to make sure that you have a spare bedroom, and that you are not overcrowded, for example, as your home must be suitable to support another family. Your lease, tenancy or other agreement may also have conditions which don’t allow you to offer your home to lodgers, so please check your agreement or ask us if you’re not sure.
Inviting someone to share your home with you is a very personal choice, and they could be with you for some time so please make sure it is the right one for you and your family.
There are also some conditions you’ll have to meet to be able to offer your home. For the latest information, visit the gov.uk website.
The Government has said households opening their homes to refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme will receive £350 per month as a ‘thank you’ payment. If you are claiming benefits, the government has said they will not be affected, although they have not said whether the under-occupancy penalty (bedroom tax) will be affected. People coming over from Ukraine will also be able to claim benefits. You aren’t expected to pay for meals, although you are welcome to if you’d like to.
You’ll also need to think about extra costs for energy and other things you might need, like furniture and bedding. You will also need to check that you are covered under your home or other insurance policies, although many insurers are extending their cover.
My family is fleeing Ukraine and I want to help
If your family is directly affected by the conflict, please seek advice from the government in the first instance. The Red Cross also have lots of helpful information on their website about what is happening on the ground, what can be done to help and for people who have family in Ukraine.
If you can’t welcome refugees into your home, there are lots of other things you can do to help. You can make a donation to the DEC’s Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal – they work with many charities, including the British Red Cross, to provide food, water, shelter and healthcare to refugees and displaced families. Local organisations near you may also be looking for volunteers or asking for donations. Your local community centre or council should be able to help you find anyone near you who is part of the volunteer effort.
There are lots of organisations across the UK and internationally who have launched appeals. If you prefer to donate to one of these, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure your money is safe and being used as intended.
- Check the charity’s name and registration number using the search the charity register tool
- Most charities with an income of £5,000 or more must be registered, which means they are regulated by The Charity Commission
- Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information
- If in doubt, ask the charity or organisation for more information.
Thank you for wanting to help and, if you can offer your home, please let us know so we can help you help others.