More than 200 residents in Brighton & Hove have signed-up to host people fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
A report to the council’s Policy & Resources Committee on Thursday 12 May outlining the city’s response to supporting the national Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme includes the latest information on numbers involved. Currently, 214 residents have volunteered to be hosts for the scheme.
We’re anticipating 442 Ukrainian guests will be coming to the city, with 143 people arrived or due to arrive soon.
Homes for Ukraine
The government launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme in March. This gives Ukrainians with a named sponsor host in the UK who can provide accommodation the right to apply for a visa. It is free to apply.
Matches between hosts and guests are made privately, with the government carrying out basic checks on the arrangement.
Councils have no role in the matching and, while they have access to an online portal which holds limited information about the host and guests, do not receive active notification when refugees are travelling to the UK or arrive.
Ukrainian refugees have right to remain, live, work and study in the UK and can access public funds under the scheme.
Councils have been given the responsibility to ensure hosts have DBS checks, visit the hosts’ homes for property and welfare checks on, confirm they have no serious safeguarding concerns, pay a £200 subsistence payment to each guest and pay the monthly optional £350 ‘thank you’ payment to hosts.
We will also have the role of supporting refugees to access education and benefits and encourage community integration.
Brighton & Hove City Council have arranged for East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service to carry out the in-person visits for property and welfare checks.
We’re using our own data from our Children’s, Adult’s and Community Safety services to carry out checks on hosts, as well as liaising with Sussex Police as part of our safeguarding responsibilities.
We’ve set up our community hub service to provide a direct contact for guests and hosts to get in touch with us and provide information.
We’re also encouraging Ukrainian refugees who’ve arrived in the city through other routes to get in touch with us by calling 01273 293117 (option 2) or emailing Ukrainian.Support@brighton-hove.gov.uk.
While they won’t have access to the Homes for Ukraine scheme, they can access public services and can contact us for support.
We have published detailed advice for Ukrainian guests arriving in the city and guidance for hosts.
We’re also regularly updating our information on how you can support people fleeing the ongoing crisis.
A warm welcome
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, Leader of the Council, said: “Thank you to everyone who’s volunteered to host guests fleeing Ukraine for their generous support.
“I know many more residents are being supportive in whatever way they can. It’s been a touching response to a dreadful situation.
“I also want to restate the city’s warm welcome to our Ukrainian guests. We are proud of our long history of solidarity and welcome for refugees.
“We’ve been working with our partners and the city’s excellent community and voluntary sector organisations to we do all we can to help people fleeing violence and conflict.
“It’s needed a rapid response and we’re working hard to make sure support is in place to safeguard guests and hosts.”
Read the full report to 12 May Policy & Resources Committee (addendum 2).