Homes for Ukraine - letter to the Prime Minister

  • Initiative
  • 13 October 2022

In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, a coalition of civil society organisations and refugee support groups are calling on the government to ensure the long term future of the Homes for Ukraine scheme and build on its success to strengthen welcoming through community sponsorship to those fleeing crises

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Today, Thursday October 13, in a joint letter to the Prime Minister a coalition of civil society organiations and refugee support groups are calling on the government to ensure the long term future of the Homes for Ukraine scheme. 

Launched in March this year, the scheme has seen thousands of Ukrainians, mostly women and children, find security and safety here in the UK thanks to the generosity of the British public who opened their hearts and their homes to help house refugees fleeing from the brutal Russian invasion. 

That depth of support for Ukraine extends across the UK. What’s more the level of civic engagement in the Hong Kong welcoming programme, community sponsorship and other schemes can provide a strong basis for a new approach to refugee resettlement and welcoming in the UK extending to different groups of refugees. Community sponsorship of refugees has the potential to better command public confidence in dealing with future crises, empowering communities with control over refugee resettlement.

While the UK government continues to lead in providing military assistance for Ukrainian forces on the front line, the letter calls for a renewed commitment to support those helping on the home front as well. 

In her party conference speech, the Prime Minister Liz Truss said "We will stand with our Ukrainian friends for as long as it takes" receiving a standing ovation for that welcome commitment to the continued defence of Ukraine and its people. 

The letter asks ministers to give public assurances that the Homes for Ukraine scheme will continue to receive government backing and financial support through the coming winter and beyond. 

  • A winter payment to hosts to help with the increased cost of living
  • Make it easier for all refugees who enter the country through government backed routes to rent homes
  • A new approach to refugee resettlement based on the success of the scheme
  • Give assurances on how the scheme will work and be championed across government going forward

Despite the success of the scheme, there have been no specific guarantees of continuing support and financial backing from the government. The campaign is urging the government to ensure that the warm welcome shown to Ukrainian refugees in the Spring is extended through the Winter.

"Putin’s barbaric escalation in attacks on Kiev and other Ukrainian cities this week shows that the need to provide long-term sanctuary to refugees from this brutal conflict is still vital. Civilians are still being indiscriminately targetted and residential areas are under daily bombardment. With the war far from over, and entering an even more dangerous and uncertain phase, we need renewed reassurance and guarantees that the Homes for Ukraine scheme will continue. We’re urging the Prime Minister, who has promised to stand by Ukraine and its people, to ensure that hosts and families receive the clarity and support they need to feel safe and secure during the coming winter and the year ahead"

Luke Tryl, UK Director More in Common

"The Homes for Ukraine Scheme is a history-making initiative that has unleashed the incredible hospitality of the British public. It is an excellent example of partnership between government, charities and the general public for a common, life-changing cause. In order to make sure Ukrainian refugees are able to continue to thrive in the UK they need the government’s continued commitment and fresh innovation to help overcome difficulties securing housing"

Dr. Krish Kandiah, Director Sanctuary Foundation and Host

“As winter approaches, we cannot let desperate Ukrainian families who have fled war and endured trauma to be left to fall between the cracks of the UK's complex protection programme. The government must heed this joint call from our organisations and commit to ongoing financial and housing support, as well as ensuring all schemes are fit for purpose. All refugees who entrust their safety to us, regardless of how they make their journey to the UK, should be adequately supported to rebuild their lives"

Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council

"Since the day they arrived seeking refuge and safety in the UK, Ukrainian families, many of whom are mothers and young children, have been asking what will happen to them when a hosting agreement comes to an end. To see many now facing homelessness, due to a lack of clear mechanisms for housing, is causing much grief. The UK government must introduce a long-term plan for those on three-year visas and be part of the solution, not further trauma for displaced persons"

Lesia Scholey, Host and Volunteer with ECAN refugee charity in Elmbridge, Surrey, where hundreds of Ukrainians have been welcomed