Ellie Ames 22 February 2024

Ukrainian homelessness likely to rise

Ukrainian homelessness likely to rise image
Image: rfranca / Shutterstock.com

The risk of homelessness among Ukrainians in the UK is likely to increase as arrangements with sponsors end or break down, MPs have warned.

In a new report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) raises concerns that the Government does not have full oversight of homelessness within the Homes for Ukraine scheme, an issue which is hampering planning.

In August, councils reported that 4,890 Ukrainian households in England under the scheme had been, or come close to being, homeless.

MPs urged the Government to increase the number of councils that regularly provide homelessness data on Ukrainians who are in the UK under the scheme. Currently, 30% of local authorities in England do not regularly return data.

This week, the Government announced that those in the UK on a Ukraine visa scheme will be able to apply to stay for an additional 18 months. However, it closed a scheme that allows Ukrainians to join family members who are already in the UK. 

The PAC urged ministers to provide information on whether options for permanent settlement will be available under current plans. MPs also said the Government must secure an adequate supply of sponsors for the future of the scheme.

PAC chair Dame Meg Hillier said: ‘Over 140,000 people have now come to stay in the UK as part of Homes for Ukraine as of January 2024, and given the circumstances of their arrival it is important that the Government provide as much clarity around their stay here as possible.’

The Local Government Association’s asylum, refugee and migration spokesperson, Roger Gough, said that following the recent visa extension, funding arrangements for councils and hosts need ‘urgent review’.

London Councils’ lead for asylum and refugees, Grace Williams, said: ‘With the conflict continuing and London’s housing pressures as severe as ever, this challenge is not going away.

‘Boroughs will continue doing everything they can to help Ukrainian refugees into suitable accommodation. ‘The Government must ensure councils have the resources required to deliver this support’.

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