Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine at this heartbreaking time and Ely RRC stands ready to do what we can to help. At the moment we are still learning what we can about the sponsorship scheme as more details emerge. Here is what we know so far:
The ‘Homes for Ukraine’ Scheme
If you have accommodation (either a house or room) you would like to offer, you can register your interest with the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. (This is separate to the Ukraine Family Scheme which is specifically for people in the UK with family members from Ukraine).
After you sign up you will receive an email with instructions on how to proceed if you have already identified an individual or family from Ukraine that you’d like to sponsor. If you haven’t identified anyone yet the scheme will match you with someone if your application is successful, however this part of the scheme has only just begun so it may take some time for you to be matched.
Finding Someone to Sponsor
If you don’t know anyone you’d like to sponsor and you’d like to speed up the process, you can register as a host on the Reset charity’s Homes for Ukraine matching service, which is supported by the government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
You can also register as a host on the Ukraine Take Shelter site. It was developed by two Harvard University students to provide a way for refugees to find potential sponsors. Once you register as a host your details will be added to a database that refugees can search. Once you have a match you can then proceed via the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. The site EU4UA offers a similar service.
As these are unregulated services please take care and once you have been matched only proceed to sponsor refugees via the official Homes for Ukraine scheme – they will carry out various checks, including safeguarding. Ely RRC is not affiliated with any of these services.
Other Non-Governmental Schemes
Alternatively you can register your accommodation at Room for Refugees, although please note that this is not part of the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme and therefore does not benefit from the £350 per month ‘thank you’ payments.
You can also register with the Sanctuary Foundation who are working to help scale up and accelerate the government scheme.
The local Facebook group Ely Sponsors for Ukraine has lots of help and useful information on the process.
Members of Ely RRC are available to help you navigate the government’s schemes. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Some local Ukrainians may also be wanting to bring their families over via the family visa scheme and will be looking for accommodation for them. They will likely need more than a single room, but if you have the space to welcome a small family into your home or you have a house to rent in Ely then please get in touch. Please note: where a family is renting an entire house they will be entitled to the usual housing benefit element of Universal Credit so you would receive rent as usual, rather than the government’s £350 a month ‘thank you’ payment.