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Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, has called on the government to provide better support for her constituents who want to open their homes to Ukrainian refugees.

The new Homes for Ukraine scheme will allow individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to bring Ukrainians to safety – including those with no family ties to the UK.

Phase One of the scheme will allow sponsors in the UK to nominate a named Ukrainian or a named Ukrainian family to stay with them in their home or in a separate property.

Ukrainians arriving under this scheme will be granted 3 years leave to remain, with entitlement to work, and access benefits and public services. Applicants will be vetted and will undergo security checks.

Ms Anderson said the government needs to make better use of the experience and expertise of organisations like Refugees at Home to make the Homes for Ukraine scheme a success.

She added, "Many people in Putney have very generously offered a room in their homes for a refugee from Ukraine, and over 100,000 people across the country registered to do this in just a few hours. It shows what a welcoming and generous country
we are.

“One brilliant local charity, Refugees at Home, has already been working hard to pair residents with refugees. Its members have been finding host families for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK since 2015.

"They really are experts in the field of pairing refugees with homes. However, they are frustrated that better use is not being made of experienced schemes such as theirs."

Refugees at Home is a UK charity that works to connect those with a spare room in their home to refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay. So far, it has been responsible for placing 2,614 guests from more than 65 countries with a total of 200,217 placement nights.

Refugees at Home issued a statement on the scheme which said, "We welcome the Homes for Ukraine scheme announced today [14 March 2022] by Michael Gove. We know from our own experience how many generous hosts are stepping forward to welcome refugees, and we have had had an
unprecedented number of calls over the past two weeks. In the last few weeks nearly 5000 people have come forward to host via our website.

"We understand that the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme will be initially open to people with known connections before being expanded to include all Ukrainian nationals, with or without family or other ties. We want to see as many refugees housed as soon as possible. However, matching hosts to guests requires sensitivity and experience, and it is important that homes are properly assessed prior to a placement being made. A simple DBS check is not enough. A proper home visit needs to be undertaken to ensure that homes are suitable and that everyone in the host household is fully committed and knows what to expect; follow-up support need to be provided to both hosts and guests; move on plans must be put in place; and there needs to be a fallback for the rare situations in which a placement does not work out.”

The charity adds that refugees often prefer to be housed in large cities like London because they will find extra support from existing communities who speak their language and can buy food they are familiar with as well as getting better support to English lessons and therapeutic help.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove said, “The United Kingdom has a long and proud history of helping others in their hour of need and our new Homes for Ukraine scheme offers a lifeline to those who have been forced to flee.

“I’m asking people across our country who can provide a home for Ukrainians to consider being sponsors.”

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March 18, 2022

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