Ukrainian refugee households face homelessness in Liverpool

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Several Ukrainian refugee households have faced homelessness in Liverpool, new figures show, as numbers jump across the country.

There are concerns that refugees could face homelessness on a mass scale, as the cost-of-living crisis begins to affect people this winter.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in March, refugees from the war have been invited to stay in the UK under the Ukrainian Sponsorship and Family schemes.

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The former sets up refugees with hosts in the UK for an initial six months, who receive support from their local council and a stipend of £350.

However, as households are hit by the higher energy price cap and increased cost of basic essentials, hosting could become more difficult.

Liverpool’s statistics

New figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show across both schemes, nine refugee households had been made homeless or put at risk of homelessness in Liverpool as of September 23.

Nationally, the number of refugee households with homelessness duties surged 22% over the same period, from 1,565 to 1,915.

Of those, 1,335 households – 70% – had dependent children.

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The figures also show that across the country, homelessness has been avoided in 665 of these cases, up from 550 the month before.

However, in Liverpool, no homeless households had seen their duties ended as of September 23.

Hosts sign on for an initial six months, and while the Government says it will continue to provide support for an additional six months, several charities have said they are worried people may choose not to, given the rising costs of food and fuel.

In Liverpool, a breakdown of the hosting arrangement was the main reason for homelessness in three cases, and two because their accommodation was unsuitable.

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The DLUHC said it has been in contact with councils that have repeatedly not submitted data on homelessness, and is currently looking into how it can increase response rates.

Separate DLUHC figures show 223 Ukrainian refugee households due in Liverpool – from 300 successful applications – had arrived in the UK by October 4 under the sponsorship scheme.

This was up from 194 arrivals on September 6, when 274 visas had been issued.

In the month to October 4, 96,800 refugees had arrived in the UK, with 136,600 visas approved under the scheme.

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A spokesperson for DLUHC said: “We are grateful to the British public for opening up their communities to the people of Ukraine and the generosity they have shown.

“The majority of sponsors want to continue hosting for longer than six months. Where guests do move on they have a number of options, including to enter private rental or find a new host to sponsor them. Councils have a duty to ensure families are not left without a roof over their heads,” they added.

Liverpool’s Ukrainian community

Liverpool has a large Ukrainian community, and the city is proud to host refugees. Many events have taken place across Liverpool, including the Museum of Liverpool’s celebration of Ukrainian Independence and St George’s hall lighting up in blue and yellow.

Unfortunately, many people are still seeing homes, with requests for hosts being regularly shared on local Facebook groups.