Monday, 4 Jul 2022

At least 660 Ukrainian families have been left homeless in Britain

At least 660 Ukrainian families have been left homeless in Britain after placements broke down: ‘Urgent’ call to help desperate refugees stranded in UK after fleeing war-torn homeland

  • A total of 480 families and 180 single adults have applied to councils for help
  • Around two thirds had been placed on the Government’s family scheme
  • The remainder secured visas through the Homes for Ukraine programme 
  • They are now homeless after arrangements broke down or homes unsuitable 

At least 660 Ukrainian families have been left homeless in Britain after their accommodation arrangements broke down.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February, 480 desperate families and a further 180 single adults have applied to councils for help with placements after becoming stranded in the UK.

But they have now become homeless after the arrangements with their proposed hosts either broke down or the accommodation was deemed to be unsuitable, The Telegraph reports.

Around two thirds of those who have been made homeless had been placed on the Government’s family scheme for those who have relatives residing in the UK, while the remainder were brought to the UK as part of the Homes for Ukraine programme in which they it was arranged they would live with a British family.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme pays families £350-a-month to take in those fleeing Russian brutality for at least six months. 

But out of 145 placements on the programme, 90 were terminated after the arrangement broke down and a further 55 were judged to be unsuitable. Only 20 are believed to have been subsequently rehomed.

Last month, a woman claimed she was told to leave a property via text, while another British host failed to tell a Ukrainian family she was a strict vegetarian who does not allow meat in the house, before telling the family to leave ‘as soon as possible’. 

Ukrainian refugees from Mariupol region board a bus bound for Poland following Russia’s invasion

A man rides his motorbike past the tail of a rocket that has become nailed into a pavement in the city of Lysychansk at the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas today

 

Smoke and dirt rise from the city of Severodonetsk during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops at the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 14, 2022

Ukrainian servicemen ride BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine June 14, 2022

Charities fear the whole system could ‘crash’ as hosts, most of whom have the best intentions, fail to realise the enormity of the task. 

Around 77,000 Ukrainian nationals have arrived in the UK since February, out of 130,000 issued with visas designed to secure them a place to live.

Many of the families are traumatised, with reports of Ukrainian children dropping to the floor upon hearing loud noises, mistaking them for bombs. 

There are also concerns that there could be a huge pressure to re-house refugees once they have stayed with their host families for the minimum six-month period mandated by the scheme.

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: ‘It is worrying to hear that desperate Ukrainian families who have fled war, endured trauma and heartbreak, arriving here entrusting their safety in our hands have been left to fall into homelessness.

‘Ukrainian families arriving here need a warm welcome, safe housing and benefits, emotional support and connection. 

‘We’re concerned that Ukrainians arriving on family visas are running into problems, as not all relatives will have the space or the resources to support their family members.’

A government spokesman added: ‘More than 77,200 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK since Putin’s invasion and all arrivals have access to benefits and public services, as well as the right to work or study, from the day they arrive.

‘The overwhelming majority of people are settling in well, but in the minority of cases where family or sponsor relationships break down, councils have a duty to ensure families are not left without a roof over their head. 

‘Councils also have access to a rematching service to find a new sponsor in cases under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.’

It comes as red tape means a four-year-old girl faces being sent back to war-torn Ukraine – despite having a sponsor in North Staffordshire – because she is travelling with her grandmother rather than her parents.

Alika Zubets, four, is currently in Poland with her paternal grandmother Tanya waiting for a visa

Members of Alika Zubets’s extended family have already reached safety in Newcastle but she and her paternal grandmother Tanya are still waiting in Poland for her visa to be issued.

Alika’s parents Dima and Arena gave written consent for their daughter to leave with Tanya on March 24 and the pair headed for Poland where they have been ever since.

Tanya was granted a 90-day visa on April 12 but Alika’s application has been hit by numerous delays – while Tanya’s right to remain in Poland is set to expire on June 25.

Sponsor Maggie Babb, who is a paediatric anaesthetist at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, has been working to try to secure a visa for Alika so that she and Tanya can join her at her Audley home.

But because Tanya only has temporary notarised legal guardianship of Alika it now appears that the four-year-old will not be able to obtain a visa for the UK and will have to return to Ukraine.

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