Bishop of Chelmsford asks about accommodation for refugees in the UK

The Bishop of Chelmsford received the following written answers on 10th October 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the longer-term sustainability of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con): We are working closely with local councils and voluntary and community sector partners to monitor the housing landscape for Ukrainian households, develop our strategy and actively explore options to find suitable long-term accommodation for those who are likely to stay in the UK beyond the initial six months. We are also supporting Ukrainians that want to stay in sponsorships for a longer period, but with a different host by enabling a process of rematching and will continue to develop our bank of potential sponsors.

Hansard


The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked His Majesty’s Government:

  • what measures they are taking to ensure (1) Afghan, and (2) Ukrainian, refugees are moved from temporary accommodation into more stable, long-term housing arrangements.
  • what measures they are taking to assist Afghan refugees currently housed in poor-quality temporary accommodation.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook: The Government is working with councils to find families settled homes as quickly as possible. It is right that we take time to ensure that families are provided with suitable homes that support their integration and access to education and employment.

In addition to the funding local authorities receive for integration support costs, a £25.5million Housing Costs fund is available to local authorities to help meet the costs of housing. Funding provided to support integration can also be used towards costs needed to enable families to secure accommodation, including deposits and upfront rent, enabling families to fund their own accommodation.

We are working with Rightmove to identify potential properties available in the private rented sector. This provides councils with additional information to source appropriate properties. Our improved Housing Portal also allows property owners and organisations to submit offers of housing for people who have arrived from Afghanistan.

We are also working with councils to make it easier for Afghan families who are currently in bridging hotels to find and secure their own accommodation. We have formalised this as the ‘Find Your Own Accommodation’ pathway, and we have developed a supplementary training package to enable councils to support individuals and families throughout this process. We have also worked with the Ministry of Defence to make use of Service Family Accommodation and we are working directly with developers and educational bodies to consider alternative accommodation options.

We are working closely with local councils and voluntary and community sector partners to monitor the housing landscape for Ukrainian households, develop our strategy and actively explore options to find suitable long-term accommodation for those who are likely to stay in the UK beyond the initial six months. We have provided a tariff of £10,500 per arrival to councils to enable them to provide support to individuals and families. This is un-ringfenced, which allows councils to use the funding as best suits the local area, including measures to support guests to access the private rental market.

Hansard

Hansard


The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked His Majesty’s Government what plans they have to increase support to Ukrainian refugees and their host families, in particular to address increases in the cost of living.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook: We recognise the growing pressure on family finances, and the challenges that households are facing with the rising costs of living. We are working with local authorities and sponsors to support them to continue hosting.

Hansard


The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked His Majesty’s Government what plans they have to provide housing solutions to Ukrainian refugees in the UK to enable them to increase their independence.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook: We are working closely with local councils to understand where pressures may be and are actively exploring options to find suitable long-term accommodation for the Ukrainians who are likely to stay in this country beyond the households staying in the country beyond their initial sponsorship period. The updated guidance for the Homes for Ukraine guests, hosts and councils setting out all the support options available to them can be accessed (attached) here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils#four-to-6-months-after-guests-have-moved-to-your-area(opens in a new tab).

Hansard


The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked His Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to assist Ukrainian refugees in the UK who have been declared homeless.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook: Our priority was to get Ukrainians to safety as quickly as possible. As with any scheme of this size we anticipated relationship breakdowns which is why we put plans in place to address these risks

Local councils have a responsibility to support Ukrainians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including providing temporary accommodation where required to ensure no family is without a roof over their head.

Local councils’ statutory homelessness duties will apply in instances of sponsorship breakdown if the Ukrainian household does not have alternative suitable accommodation.

Hansard

%d bloggers like this: