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Almost 5,000 Ukrainian families in U.K. face homelessness

by Nate Ostiller October 18, 2023 11:54 PM 2 min read
A direction sign for English language lessons for Ukrainian refugees in Horsham, West Sussex, UK on Aug. 30, 2022. (Andy Soloman/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
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Around 8% (4,890) of Ukrainian refugee families taken in as part of the U.K.'s "Homes for Ukraine" refugee scheme have risked, or continue to be at risk of homelessness, according to a report by the U.K.'s National Audit Office released on Oct. 17.

The report also noted that this figure is likely to rise as more sponsorship arrangements with the U.K. government end.

In total, 131,000 Ukrainians have come to the U.K. as refugees since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion.

The "Homes for Ukraine" scheme was established to help those arriving in the U.K. by providing them with sponsorships. Close to 75,000 people in the U.K. volunteered to sponsor Ukrainians, the report said.

In addition, the U.K. government has spent 2.1 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) to fund the scheme, most of which went to tariffs for local authorities and "thank you" payments for those who sponsored refugees.

The scheme does not provide indefinite support for Ukrainians in the U.K., however, and even the 3-year visas offered to the first Ukrainians to arrive using the scheme will expire in March 2025.

In May 2023, it was reported that hundreds of Ukrainian families in the U.K.'s East Midlands region were at risk of homelessness, largely because their initial hosts could no longer continue to accommodate them.

While the scheme has largely been a success so far, particularly in accommodating Ukrainians who fled immediately after the beginning of the war, the report acknowledges that "the future of the scheme is not yet clear."

To determine the next stage of the scheme, and also to consider the interest of the Ukrainian government's desire for those who have left to return when it is safe, the U.K. government will have to make critical decisions soon, the report concludes.

Russia’s war forced millions of Ukrainians to flee abroad. How many will return?
Viktoria Vozna, 25, had always enjoyed her quiet life in native Brovary, a city just east of Kyiv, and dreamed of raising her own children there one day. She never wanted to live abroad, but Russia’s brutal war forced her out of the country. After saving up enough money

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