weathered Ukrainian flag flies in the Podil district of Kyiv, Ukraine

Public Accounts Committee report on Homes for Ukraine

The Public Accounts Committee has released a new report outlining concerns that the risk of homelessness among Ukrainians is likely to increase as arrangements between Ukrainians and their UK sponsors come to an end.

Whilst councils around the country reported that almost 5,000 Ukrainian households in England on Homes for Ukraine visas had either come close to or been, homeless, the government was also expecting that approximately half of sponsorships for the scheme would break down over time. As the government does not have a full picture of homelessness within the scheme, the data on how many relationships have broken down so far is incomplete, stopping government progress on planning.

With this in mind, the Public Accounts Committee is urging the government to establish the action that it intends to take to increase the number of local authorities that are regularly providing data on homelessness – currently only 70% are doing so – to ensure that there is a satisfactory amount of sponsorship opportunities, whilst remaining cost-effective.

Ukrainian homelessness quote

Chair of the Committee Dame Meg Hillier MP said:

“It is welcome to see the Government acting in line with our recommendations in this area through its extensions to visas. We look forward to hearing how much more certainty it is able provide to those staying in the UK, particularly in light of the recent closure of the Ukraine Family Scheme.

“As the war has continued the challenge now is that thousands of Ukrainian households were homeless or close to it last year. Not only is this a huge problem but our report finds that there is no full oversight of homelessness within the scheme itself. There are of course factors here which make long-term planning challenging, not least the continuing uncertainty in Ukraine itself. But the Government must ensure it has a plan to support those who have sought safety in the UK.”

The Local Government Association has also responded to the report by the PAC, with Councillor Roger Gough, LGA Spokesperson for Asylum, Refugee and Migration, saying:

“Councils have helped communities welcome over 200,000 Ukrainian refugees and continue to provide crucial long-term support, including housing, if sponsorship arrangements come to an end.

“However, housing shortages – which are being compounded by the pressures of multiple asylum and resettlement schemes – have led to a high number of Ukrainians having to turn to councils for housing and homelessness support.

“We want to work with government to ensure all families are helped to find permanent homes, jobs and schools and on how best to support new and existing sponsors open up their homes.

“Following the recent visa extension, the funding arrangements for councils, existing and new hosts which were designed to fund temporary sanctuary also now need urgent review.”


Image credit: iStock


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