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Proposals to enhance homes for Ukraine support

Proposals to offer enhanced payments to residents and landlords hosting Ukrainian refugees and extend the free bus pass for Ukrainian guests are set to be considered by Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Members this week.

If the proposals are approved at a meeting today (Wednesday 10 July 2024), Derbyshire hosts providing accommodation under the national Homes for Ukraine scheme will be offered £700 a month all year round.

The payments would be made from the funding the county council received from Government to pay for the Homes for Ukraine scheme and would mean the same monthly rate was paid throughout the year instead of the existing arrangement of a £500 monthly payment which was increased to £700 with a winter top-up payment between October 2023 and March 2024.

A free bus pass scheme, provided by the county council in line with Nottinghamshire County Council due to a number of shared bus service providers, is also proposed to be extended until the end of March 2025.

This scheme, which would continue to be funded using Government funds, has proven to be extremely popular, especially with those living in more rural communities. It has helped Ukrainian refugees to access training, work, and build links with other guests across the county, and would continue to improve the re-housing and employment prospects of Ukrainian guests and reduce the risk of isolation issues in rural areas.  

Councillor Carol Hart, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, said: “We greatly value the role Derbyshire hosts are playing in providing safe refuge for more than 750 people who came to our county to escape the war in Ukraine.

“Previous enhancements to ‘thank-you’ payments for hosts in Derbyshire has proved highly effective in reducing homelessness, providing stability, and maintaining hosting arrangements.  As a result, the number of hosts has remained relatively static over the last 12 months.

“If the proposal goes ahead to enhance host payments further, it would help maintain existing placements, attract new host households and help bring payments closer into line with rental costs in the county.  With private rental properties in short supply and high demand, it is hoped an increase in the payments for hosts would encourage more landlords to join the scheme and allow guests to take their first steps towards independent living.”

There are currently around 290 host households across the county and to date around 1,500 refugees have been helped by the Homes for Ukraine scheme in Derbyshire with around 15-20 new guests arriving each month in five to 10 new households.

New hosts are still being sought to house refugees in Derbyshire. To become a host, households must be able to offer accommodation for a minimum of six months and be able to provide a basic level of support to their guests.

The Government’s Homes for Ukraine ‘Sponsor Guidance’ which can be found online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance outlines important information and things to think about before signing up to the scheme. Local information is also available on the county council’s website at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/UkraineHosts 

You can find out more about the Government scheme at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions

While some refugees have returned to Ukraine, or moved out of Derbyshire to elsewhere, a growing number of guests are now employed and looking to move into independent accommodation. Private landlords with available accommodation to rent are being sought across the county and asked to get in touch.

If you think you could commit to hosting, or are a private landlord with available accommodation to rent, contact UkraineHosts@derbyshire.gov.uk

Anyone who would like to offer support other than accommodation should email ukrainesupport@derbyshire.gov.uk

 

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