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Homes for Ukrainian families: Can you help?

Ealing Council is seeking more local people to act as hosts for Ukrainian refugees, with a big shortage of suitable local hosts to house the families still arriving from the war-torn country.

Ealing already hosts the second highest number of Ukrainian guests of all London boroughs and, as the war in Ukraine continues, around 15 refugee families are continuing to arrive in the borough each week in need of emergency accommodation. In some cases, existing placements are also coming to an end, with some guests being asked to vacate once their initial placement has ended, through no fault of either the hosts or guests.

There is now more financial support available for hosts, to reflect the rising cost of living. The government provides a flat fee of £350 per month to hosts, no matter how many guests there are, rising to £500 once the family have been in the country for 12 months. The council now tops it up per guest, up to £700 a month for a guest family of four guests.

Single, working-age adult guests often move on from their initial placements quite quickly, but families require longer stays to provide stability for children, even if only for six months. People with self-contained accommodation can also choose to rent to refugees privately as landlords.

Ukrainian refugees have the same rights as British citizens and have a three-year visa allowing them to live, work and study.

‘It’s been a pleasure’

One Ealing host is Rachel who, since last April, has hosted a 73-year-old woman from Chernivtsi in western Ukraine, near the Romanian border.

She said: “I just wanted to help. If I was facing the same situation, I’d want someone to help me. I heard about [the scheme] on the news or social media, and my wider family has also volunteered. In total we’ve hosted eight people over the months.

“The language has been a bit of an issue as she doesn’t speak English, but she’s learning – and I don’t speak the three languages she speaks, but we get on well and use Google Translate and things like that. We can understand each other, and it’s been a pleasure to have her in my home.”

Can you step up and help?

Councillor Peter Mason, the leader of Ealing Council, said: “Last year, more than three hundred Ealing residents showed their compassion for refugees from the war in Ukraine, and graciously stepped forward to help with offers of accommodation.

“We’ve heard fantastic stories such as two families being housed in one vacant home, which enables them to support one another and enjoy their own culture during what is a particularly stressful time as their husbands are still in Ukraine.

“The conflict shows no sign of abating, and I’d like to ask any other Ealing residents who feel they have room in their homes and their lives, to step up and help.”

To register to become a host, or ask for more details, email HomeforUkraine@ealing.gov.uk

Special event

An event is being held at Ealing Town Hall on Friday, 24 February to show solidarity for the people of Ukraine on the one-year anniversary of the invasion by Russia. The public are welcome to attend.

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