Homes for Ukraine: Am I expected to provide meals? Can I charge rent?

Sarah Ferguson offers supplies to Ukrainian refugees in Poland

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Tens of thousands of Ukrainians are expected to arrive in Britain during the coming months. As part of its response, the Government is asking households to step forward and host Ukrainian refugees for a temporary period of time. To date, the scheme has received strong engagement with more than 200,000 Britons already registering their interest.

What is the Homes for Ukraine scheme?

The Government launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme several weeks ago.

Participants will be able to nominate a named person or family to stay with them, or in another property, for at least six months, and will be offered £350 a month for doing so.

An unlimited number of refugees will be able to enter the UK through the scheme according to Downing Street.

What are the expectations of hosts?

Hosts are expected to provide a private bedroom, rather than a shared room.

Advice from the Government states: “This can be anything from an empty room to an unoccupied home, as long as it’s safe, heated and free from health hazards, and gives your guests adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities.”

Downing Street has made clear the £350 should be viewed as a goodwill gesture to cover additional living costs as opposed to a full rental payment.

The scheme does not expect hosts to cover food and other necessities.

Instead, these should be covered by refugees themselves who will have access to the benefits systems and be able to work.

Ukrainians who are granted a visa will be eligible to work and have the right to access state benefits and public services, including schools and healthcare.

However, there’s nothing to stop hosts from offering food and other forms of help.

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Can I charge rent?

Hosts cannot charge rent to refugees, as the terms for taking part in the scheme clearly state accommodation must be provided on a “rent free” basis.

For up to 12 months hosts will receive a £350 a month tax-free payment, with one instalment made per address and not per individual.

Local authorities will also receive £10,500 in extra funding per refugee for support services, with additional money available for children of school age.

According to figures from the United Nations (UN) 3,901,713 people have now fled Ukraine into neighbouring countries since February 24, 2022.

Poland alone has accepted more than two million while refugees have also escaped in their hundreds of thousands to the following nations:

  • Romania
  • Moldova
  • Hungary
  • Slovakia
  • Russia

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