We have all been shocked by the war in Ukraine and we understand that many LiveWest customers want to help. LiveWest wants to support those of you who may be considering offering a room in your home to a Ukrainian refugee through the Government’s Home for Ukraine scheme.
The Government has opened registration for people interested in becoming sponsors to provide accommodation and members of the public can register their interest in becoming a sponsor online.
Whilst full details of the scheme are still emerging, we do know that:
- The scheme will allow a sponsor to nominate a named Ukrainian or Ukrainian family to stay with them in their home for free.
- Your home must be suitable for the number of people you offer to accommodate. Suitability checks on you and your home will be carried out by your Council.
- You must be prepared to offer a room in your home for a minimum stay of six months.
- There will be support from the local Council and community groups to help refugees resettle.
- Hosts will be paid a £350 per month “thank you” payment by the Government for taking in a refugee, with this payment limited to one payment per residential address. The scheme does not allow for you to charge any additional rent payment.
- Sponsored Ukrainians will be granted three years’ leave to remain in the UK, with entitlement to work, welfare benefits and public services.
What do I need to consider?
Inviting someone into your home is a very personal decision and doing this for at least six months is a real commitment so you need to make a choice that is right for you and your family. Refugees may need a lot of support and will be dealing with the mental health challenges of adjusting to the loss of their home, personal lives, and their country.
Offering your home will involve more than offering a room and will naturally change your own routines and life. Whilst you will be paid the £350 “thank you” payment each month, offering to support will add to your household costs such as gas and electricity.
Also, seek advice from your local authority. This is to ensure that you are aware of any help and support being offered that is specific to housing someone with refugee status. It’s also essential that you ensure that they have the appropriate contents insurance in place.
You should read this list of the considerations that you will need to make before applying to the scheme and think about whether you are able to provide the people you host with the level of support that they will need.
We still don’t know some of the details for the scheme, including:
- How the Ukrainians staying with sponsor hosts will be housed longer term, given the challenges across the UK with a shortage of affordable housing.
- Whether the payment of £350 will impact on any Housing Benefit or Universal Credit payments you may receive.
- If offering a spare room to support this crisis will impact on any spare room subsidy and mean that you could no longer be considered as under-occupying.
If you’re a LiveWest customer with a spare room and wondering if you can take a refugee as part of this scheme, the answer is generally yes.
However, you must request permission from LiveWest and obtain our written permission first.
Some tenancies and leases may say you’re not allowed to take in a lodger, but we will check this.
To make sure we can give you an answer quickly, you’ll need to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can make the necessary checks. We will then provide you with our ‘in principle’ permission so that you know you are able to apply to host a Ukrainian.
You must then provide us with the details of the lodger(s) once you receive them. Permission is then only for the named individuals. If you want to have other lodgers in future, you will have to seek permission again.
What are LiveWest doing to help?
The work we do with our customers and in our neighbourhoods is vital in building sustainable communities and very important to us. During the pandemic and, at times of crisis, we work closely with our partner agencies to see how we can help – this includes volunteering work, providing funding through our crisis and hardship grants programme, and offering homes to those most in need.
We will be continuing to work proactively with our local authority partners across the South West to make sure we are providing the support needed, which will include our continued work to provide homes for refugees.