The information here is designed to help Hosts operating under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. Ukrainian nationals arriving under the families scheme are, at the moment, treated a little differently so should not rely on the information here.
For ease of use, we will refer to sponsors as “Hosts” and Ukrainians being sponsored as ‘Guests’.
This information has been prepared by local volunteers in an attempt to understand and help make sense of a fast-evolving and, at times, chaotic situation. We’ve obviously tried to be accurate but details may change at short notice so please treat this information as lay-man's advice rather than official advice.
The information here is primarily designed to help hosts understand what hosting entails and how to set yourself up as a host.
The Berkhamsted and Tring Hosting Network (BATUHN) has other documents we can share with you to help with the next steps in your hosting journey once you have decided to continue with the process.
Things to consider
While it may sound obvious, choosing to share your home with someone else is no small decision, and while admirable that you want to help someone escape the crisis in Ukraine, you should consider whether this is right for you and your family (or whoever you live with) before you sign up.
Some things to consider ahead of signing up for the scheme are (but by no means limited to):
- Hosts are expected to provide accommodation for a minimum of six months (though it’s encouraged you provide it for as long as required).
- You need to have adequate space. That means enough rooms and beds for those you offer to host, with not too many people in one room and adequate access to a bathroom, kitchen and living spaces, the size of which should also support the overall number of people in the household. For more information, check your local council’s overcrowding policy.
- You’ll need up-to-date boiler service information and gas certificates, working fire alarms in the property and a few other basic home rental regulations to be in place.
- Anyone over 16 years of age with access to the property where the Guests guests will live need to be DBS checked by your county council. If your guests are under 18 you will need an Enhanced DBS check. (This is provided for free by the council upon signing up.)
- Living in a rural area, your guests will be more dependent on you for transport and other necessities than if they were staying in a larger city. You need to ensure you have the time for this commitment and are willing to be a host (not simply provide somewhere to live).
- Guests will likely be financially dependent on you, at least in the beginning. While most want to find a job, that takes time, and for many they need to improve their English first. Ukrainian currency is losing value extremely fast, and so we’ve been recommended that Ukrainians shouldn’t access their Ukrainian money as much as possible. Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme (but not the Family Scheme), upon arrival, Ukrainians receive £200 per person - but this is taking approximately one week to arrive, and there have been teething problems with the scheme. Benefits also take weeks to be processed, leaving Ukrainians with very little of their own money. You will receive £350 per month (paid in arrears) from the government to help towards essentials, such as clothes, toiletries, bills and food for your guests, whether they are living in your home, or a second property you own.
- Being a host is more than just providing somewhere to live. So far, hosts in our network have all supported in all or some of the following areas:
- Applying for visas
- Arranging somewhere safe to stay while waiting for visas
- Arranging travel to the UK
- Setting up a bank account
- Applying for benefits
- School applications
- Registering for the GP
- Getting a UK mobile SIM card
- Getting to know the local area
- Sourcing clothes and/or other essentials upon their arrival
- Connecting to other Ukrainians who have arrived in the area
- Writing a CV
BATUHN can provide guidance and support in a number of these areas, as well as translators if required - you won’t have to figure it out on your own, but your guests remain your responsibility.
Once you’ve registered for the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and your Guest has applied for a visa, you should automatically receive an email from your local council. This email is hugely helpful and well worth reading. It includes information on:
- DBS check process
- Accommodation checks
- Benefits for Guests
- Where to go for further advice (in both English and Ukrainian)
Once the application has been processed the Guest will receive an official permission letter from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) confirming they can travel to UK. This permission letter will allow the Guest to board a plane or other form of transport to the UK. Guests should not attempt to travel to the UK until they have received the official permission letter.
NB: Guests are waiting anything from a few days to seven weeks for a visa. It can be a slow and expensive process. BATUHN does have funds available to contribute towards accommodation and transport while waiting on visas, but there is a cap per family to help us help as many as we can. Visit the donate page for more information.
If you’d still like to become a host, please contact our Host Co-Ordinator Matt Longley to kick start the process.