HOSTS of Ukrainian refugees in Warwickshire are being offered extra support.
Warwickshire County Council is implementing an additional housing support package in recognition of the “tremendous support” shown to refugees by residents through the Homes for Ukraine scheme over the past six months.
The package is aimed to alleviate some of the financial pressures experienced by hosts as a direct result of offering their homes to Ukrainians as well as the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
Homes for Ukraine hosts have been receiving a £350 a month ‘thank you’ payment from the government since guests started to arrive in Warwickshire six months ago. The council has now agreed to offer an additional payment of £150 per month to all hosts who commit to their guests staying beyond six months.
Using the Homes for Ukraine funding from the government, the hosts will be paid per month up to the 12-month payment, totalling an additional £900. The payment will be tax-free and can be either a single long staying guest or multiple groups.
WCC is also offering a one-off fuel payment of £200 to all active hosts to help with the additional cost incurred by hosting guests. This will also be a tax-free payment, and will be made with the December “thank you” payment. New hosts and sponsors joining the scheme after December will also be eligible for the one-off fuel payment.
In addition to top up and fuel payments WCC has a dedicated housing support team to assist with all issues related to accommodation. The offer includes online host support and access to a corporate guaranteed scheme.
The host support scheme is ensuring all hosts have access to 24/7 online counselling , online cognitive behaviour therapy, advice lines, Stay Connected – a networking service with other sponsors , training podcasts , digital wellbeing and app and also rewards and discount offers for members
WCC is also expanding its help to Ukrainian refugees with the approval of a new guarantee scheme to enable access to private tenancies.
The authority will act as a guarantor for refugees wanting to rent private accommodation who meet a set of criteria. This will include refugees having saved enough money to pay the deposit and first month’s rent and undertaken a financial assessment.
WCC leader Coun Izzi Seccombe said: “This additional support package which will enable local hosts to cover their increased cost of living while continuing to provide a safe home to Ukrainian refugees.
“At the same time, it is crucial to stand by Ukrainian refugees that have settled in the county and are ready to take their next step.
“The council continues to work closely with residents, voluntary and community groups and partner authorities to ensure both hosts and Ukrainian guests receive the support they need.”
* Since the initiative began, there have been offers from 584 households in the county to host Ukrainians. There is still a need for sponsors in Warwickshire and anyone interested in supporting refugees can find out more by emailing [email protected]