Seven in 10 Homes for Ukraine hosts find support hindered by cost of living

Almost all current or previous sponsors said they have provided extra support to their guests and have incurred extra costs due to hosting.

10 August 2022

Seven in 10 previous or current UK sponsors of Ukrainian refugees say their ability to provide support has been hindered by the cost-of-living crisis, figures have suggested.

Some 21% of people who have or are currently hosting Ukrainians in their homes said the rising cost of living has affected their ability to provide support “quite a lot”, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

A further nine per cent said it affected their ability to help “very much” while 41% said it had been affected “a little”.

Some 26% said it had not affected their ability to help at all while three per cent replied “don’t know”.

It is the first time the ONS has published data on sponsors under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and it cautioned that the figures are experimental.

The Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme allows Ukrainian nationals and their relatives to come to the UK if they have a sponsor who can provide accommodation for at least six months.

The body surveyed all UK adults registered with the scheme as of July 7 in collaboration with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

Some 17,702 people responded, with almost three-quarters (74%) currently hosting, four per cent having previously hosted, 18% with their first guests due to move in and three per cent planning to host in future.

One-third (33%) of those with current or previous guests reported meeting them through social media while 23% used a matching service.

More than half (56%) of registered sponsors were female and the most common age range was between 50 to 69 years.

Some 43% of registered sponsors were working full-time while 21% were retired.

Almost all (99%) of current or previous sponsors said they have regularly provided extra support to their guests, such as food, childcare, taking them to appointments and financial help.

The same proportion said they have incurred extra costs due to hosting.

These include higher water, gas and electricity costs (91%), additional food spending (73%), costs of purchasing bedding and toiletries for their guests (71%) and extra transport costs (66%).

Some 10% of the hosts said their guests had contributed financially, with nine per cent saying this was towards food or groceries.

The survey identified variation around how long current sponsors want to continue hosting – six per cent said they want the arrangement to last less than six months, almost a fifth (19%) expected it to last six months, while 23% intended to provide a home for longer than a year.

Of current sponsors who want the arrangement to last six months or less, 23% said they did not plan to continue hosting because of the rising cost of living or because they cannot afford it.

More than half (58%) said they had only intended to provide short-term accommodation.

Of those who planned to provide accommodation for between six and 12 months, 70% said continued £350 “thank you” payments each month would encourage them to host for longer.

When asked what originally encouraged them to apply for the scheme, most people (94%) said they wanted to help people fleeing a war zone.

A minority (10%) said they were motivated by the monthly £350 thank you payments.

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