Number of Ukrainians in England homeless or at risk of homelessness doubles

Rates could rise even further as initial six-month placements with hosts come to an end

A piece of street art entitled 'Girl in a Ukrainian hat' by WOSKerski on a wall in London. AFP
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More Ukrainians are homeless or at risk of homelessness after arriving in England, new figures show.

About 1,300 Ukrainians living in both single and family households were assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness between February 24 and July 29, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said.

This figure has doubled since June 3, when 660 households were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

The figures cover arrivals under the Family scheme and the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship programme who have been or are currently owed a statutory homelessness duty by local authorities in England.

Almost a quarter of local councils did not respond to the survey, so the figures do not reflect the scale of homelessness across the country.

Under the Family programme, Ukrainians can join family members already in the UK, while Ukrainians without relatives living in the UK can be sponsored by a British host who provides accommodation for at least six months.

But hundreds of arrangements with family members or hosts have broken down, or accommodation has been unsuitable or unavailable.

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Of those made homeless or threatened with homelessness, the majority — 71 per cent — were families with dependent children.

About 695 had arrived under the Family scheme, with 370 owed a duty due to arrangements breaking down and 325 because accommodation was not available or suitable.

And 635 households had come to the UK after being sponsored. This includes 425 that had arrangements break down, 95 whose accommodation was not available or suitable, 10 who rejected a sponsor’s offer and 105 who gave a different reason, or whose reason was not known.

The figures show that 90 households had their homelessness relieved or prevented through mediation, 90 through being rematched and 190 due to a reason that was given as “other”.

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The Local Government Association said homelessness could rise as initial six-month placements with hosts end.

“Councils, sponsors and Ukrainian guests all need to know what the options are as we get closer to the end of the six-month initial placements period so they can start planning now,” said James Jamieson, chairman of the association.

“There is a significant risk that — even if rematching is available — many Ukrainian families may need to present as homeless because of a lack of sponsors or other options.

“Urgent joint work is needed both to be clearer to hosts and their guests about the challenges in finding affordable housing across the UK and to seek solutions to the pressing housing needs in the short and the long term.”

Updated: August 12, 2022, 6:39 AM
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