United Kingdom: Hundreds of Ukrainians driven from their homes

In Britain, the number of homeless Ukrainian refugees is increasing, social organizations and the media are alarmed. Although, according to government data, the vast majority of newcomers are welcomed, there are increasing cases of even mothers with children being evicted by Britons who have accepted them under the government’s Homes for Ukraine.

Elżbieta Sobolewska-Farbotko – Radio Bobola (Great Britain)

Reports from mainstream UK media have been confirmed by local offices where a Ukrainian woman is asking for help, sometimes without a home or livelihood overnight. The Association of Local Self-Governing Authorities reports the “alarming increase” in homelessness among Ukrainians.

Charities fear the show will crash because the hosts are unaware of the enormity of the task they have undertaken. Practice has shown that the self-search for sponsors via social media is a means that gives rise to great abuse. The British press describes stories of mothers with children who have been ordered to find a new godfather after a dispute arose at home. Sometimes a refugee is sent home by text message. Another case is that you are ordered to move “as soon as possible” due to the host’s vegetarian diet, which does not tolerate cooking meat at home. Often the British do not realize that they have to house people who have been badly affected by war. The media describe cases of Ukrainian children falling to the ground after hearing loud noises, mistaking them for bombs. Another issue is the lack of prospects for refugees after the expiry of the six-month period during which the farm receives funding for the refugee. According to reports, the government is in the process of developing a system for “rematching” refugees and hosts after a minimum of 6 months of declared sponsorship.

Sara Nathan from Refugees at Home told MailOnline that her organization has already helped many Ukrainians after their relationship with their hosts collapsed. Refugees rely on assistance to access public health care, to apply for benefits or to enroll in courses that would help them obtain the qualifications needed to find a job. “We hosted a woman whose host decided that the expectation of this type of support was too high, and the accommodation turned out to be too small for a longer stay”, reports the activist. Another story concerns Olga and her 3-year-old son who were kicked out of their host’s house after Nikita scared one of the other children.

Ukrainians who turn to the local office for help are given temporary accommodation in a hostel until authorities find them a new sponsor. Marta Mulyak, president of 1st London Plast, a group of Ukrainian scouts who have taken in several Ukrainian families in the past, told the Guardian that in her experience the Homes for Ukraine scheme will “eventually lead to a complete collapse” in the admission of Ukrainians. refugees in the UK. from Ukraine. Iryna Terlecky from the Board of Directors of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain also confirmed that cases of relationship breakdown are becoming more frequent. In early May, the media published figures showing that “30% of sponsors in the UK are single men over 40”, including those with a history of domestic violence. The Guardian reports that “hundreds of Ukrainian refugees” have been driven from their homes by “inappropriate” sponsors. Reasons for relationship breakdown include cost, personality and culture clashes, hosts not setting house rules, misunderstandings, and communication issues.

The alarming tone is cooled on the government side, saying that the vast majority of Ukrainian refugees are welcomed. A spokesperson for the Department of Housing and Community said: “Strict safeguards are in place regarding the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Data shows that very few sponsorships are down. When this happens, local councils are able to provide support or find a more suitable sponsor. More than 26,000 refugees have arrived in Britain through the Homes for Ukraine programme.

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