You may have seen in the news that UK households are being invited to open their doors to people fleeing the war in Ukraine, through a scheme called Homes for Ukraine. You can find lots of information about the scheme and what it entails on the Government’s website, and we’ve put together some frequently asked questions to support you to make a decision about whether you want to take part.
Can I offer my spare bedroom to a Ukrainian refugee?
Yes, if you are a Futures customer with a spare bedroom you may apply for the Homes for Ukraine scheme, as long as you have written permission to do so. Please submit a request in writing to Futures, outlining that you would like to take part in this scheme. We will check that your household is suitable to take in an extra person, and make sure:
- You are regularly paying your rent and your account is not in arrears
- You’re not involved in, or subject to, antisocial behaviour
- There has been no court action recorded during your tenancy
- Your home is not going to become overcrowded
This is the same procedure we would ask you to follow if you wanted to take in a lodger, and we ask you to do this in the best interests of you, your household, and the person you are hoping to take in.
It is really important that you let us know when you add a new person or people to your household. We use this information to make sure that everyone is safe and well, and in an emergency situation (such as fire, or a gas leak) it helps us to make sure everyone is accounted for.
You will be vetted by your local authority before being approved for the scheme, which might involve a DBS check. This process will be managed by your local authority.
Can I charge rent or ask them to split my costs?
No. It is clearly outlined in the scheme that you must not charge the person or people living with you. You will receive a ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month from the Government to support with your costs.
Please note that subletting (moving out of your home and charging someone else to live there) is against the terms of your tenancy agreement and we will take action against this.
How long do I need to commit to?
If you apply for the scheme and are approved to sponsor a refugee, you must be willing to have them living in your home for at least six months. It is very important that you are able to offer a stable home for the minimum duration of the scheme. If your personal circumstances are likely to change, we would recommend supporting in other ways, like volunteering your time or donating to charities that are working to support refugees or on the ground in Ukraine.
What happens if I’m receiving benefits?
If you are receiving universal credit or any other benefits, you must inform your local authority or the DWP that you are sponsoring a Ukrainian refugee. This may have an impact on the support you receive.
Can I take in a family with children?
Most of our customers will only have one bedroom to spare, which means you could only take in one or two adults (if they are a couple), or a parent with a baby under two. This is to prevent overcrowding in your home. If you do not have more than one spare bedroom it is unlikely that you will be able to sponsor a family with children. If you’re not sure how many people you can take in, feel free to get in touch.
What else do I need to consider?
We want to support you to open your home and help people living through this crisis, but there are important things to consider for your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of the person staying with you. We’d encourage you to consider:
- With the cost of living increases on the horizon, will you be able to stay on top of your bills with an extra person or people using electricity, water and other utilities?
- It’s important that the person living with you feels safe and secure, and can feel like a part of your community. What support will you be able to offer them to help them settle in? Are there local services they can access in your area and will they be able to get to them without a car?
- You are not required to provide food for the people you’re sponsoring, but how will you manage mealtimes, particularly if you have young children who need to be fed at specific times?
- We would always recommend that you have home contents insurance as a customer – your building is covered by us, but your possessions are not. Check with your provider to see if your insurance will cover the possessions of the person staying with you, or if they will need to find their own cover. There may also be a change in the cost of your policy.
If you have any further questions, or want to request permission to take someone in, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find out more information about the Homes for Ukraine scheme by clicking here.