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What is the Homes for Ukraine programme?

The government’s Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme allows people to offer Ukrainians fleeing the war a home, even if they have no ties to the UK. 

To apply, you must register directly on the gov.uk website and include details of a named Ukrainian individual or family for whom you can provide accommodation. (We recommend visiting Help And Kindness website which lists charities matching British sponsors with Ukrainians). 

What do I need to consider as a sponsor? 

Please think carefully about the commitment needed to be a sponsor – you’ll need to offer accommodation for at least six months.  

Accommodation should be safe and free from health hazards, be heated and give guests adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities. Guests need their own bedroom (i.e., cannot sleep on a sofa bed in a communal area) and sponsors will need to offer accommodation for at least 6 months. 

More details about accommodation requirements can be found on the gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions 

I have a named contact and have applied through the gov.uk website. What happens next? 

Once you have a named contact in Ukraine and have applied, your details and that of your guests will be provided to Dorset Council by the government. They will contact you directly to arrange checks and ask you to notify them once you have more details on when you are expecting your guests to arrive.  

Dorset Council will undertake an accommodation and DBS check. This free DBS check will apply for every adult that lives in your home (not the arriving refugees). If you are using an unoccupied property for the scheme, Dorset Council will still need to do a free DBS check on you but may not need to check other members of your family.  

Dorset Council can complete these checks even if the visas have not yet been confirmed. They will prioritise your checks if you already have a Ukrainian national staying with you. 

What other home checks will you undertake? 

Dorset Council will arrange a convenient time to undertake a home inspection. This will ensure your property: 

  • is in a reasonable state  
  • has working smoke detectors on each floor of the property 
  • has a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance 
  • has a Gas Safety Certificate (if you have gas appliances). You can find out more about these on the HSE website

You can find out more about home checks on the Homes for Ukraine gov.uk website.  Dorset Council will make at least one in-person visit either before or shortly after a guest has arrived, to confirm the accommodation is suitable and the guest is well and that there are no serious safeguarding or welfare concerns. 

For those arriving, how will visas be arranged? 

The Home Office is processing visas for all those arriving to the UK. Currently there are delays for those arriving through both the Homes for Ukraine scheme and Ukraine Family Scheme.  

Information on visa applications and working in the UK can be found on the gov.uk website.  

How much will I receive for being a sponsor?  

Sponsors can opt in to receive £350 a month tax free for up to 12 months, with one payment made per address, not per individual. This will be paid directly by Dorset Council one month in arrears once the guest has arrived. 

Dorset Council will also provide Ukrainian refugees with a one-off £200 payment and will process this as soon as possible. 

Will it impact my council tax if I’m a sponsor? 

Your council tax will be unaffected if you are a sponsor registered under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. This includes council tax discounts for single persons. 

In addition, there will be a 50% discount for empty or second homes that are used to house Ukrainians on the scheme. 

The government is currently working closely with local authorities on how the scheme is rolled out across the UK.  

If you are a sponsor registered under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, please call 01305 221000 and select council tax.  

Will it affect my home insurance? 

The Association of British Insurers has confirmed that sponsors will be protected from any changes to their home insurance costs, with their cover remaining the same for the first 12 months, even if your policy is due for renewal. 

What if I’m sponsoring a child? 

If you are hosting a family that has children in need of a school place, Dorset Council asks that you go to the following webpage to make the application: Moving school during the school year (in year admissions) – Dorset Council.  

You can assist the parent in completing, however all applications must be made with the consent of the mother/father/guardian. Copies of their entry visas will be needed as soon as soon as they are available. 

Applications can be made in advance but will not be processed until all documentation is received and will not be processed more than half a term in advance of the requested start date. Dorset Council will also require something from yourself as the sponsor to confirm the family are living with you and a utility bill to confirm your home address.  

This is a fast-moving situation, and the council will do its utmost to place children into schools as swiftly as possible. They cannot guarantee that school places will be made available close to the sponsor’s accommodation due to availability within schools.  

The school admissions team at Dorset Council can be contacted by email: customerservices@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk or tel: 01305 221000. 

What additional support is available to me as a sponsor and to those arriving? 

#HelpAndKindness has established a network group for local sponsors, offering a forum for sponsors to stay connected with each other, and provide community support to refugees. Further details can be found at https://www.helpandkindness.co.uk/support-for-ukraine 

The government has also issued a welcome pack which includes specific information on those arriving on the Homes for Ukraine scheme. In addition, the council has produced a Dorset-specific welcome pack

The Homes for Ukraine website is also regularly updated with useful information. The Red Cross has advice on coping with the Ukraine crisis including support for those suffering with trauma.  

Local organisations or groups that are not currently part of the Dorset Together network who can offer additional support and help should contact our customer services team on tel 01305 221000 or by email at customerservices@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk 

What happens if I can no longer sponsor due to a change in circumstances (personal issues, health, etc)? 

If you can no longer sponsor, or your circumstances have changed, please ensure that you inform your matched guests in the first instance. 

Please then notify the council by contacting Dorset Council on tel: 01305 221000 or by email – customerservices@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk 

We would also recommend that you contact those charities that are supporting the matching of sponsors and guests. Local voluntary organisation Help And Kindness has a list: www.helpandkindness.co.uk/support-for-ukraine.

What can I do to help other than hosting?

  • Donate money – One of the best ways to help is by donating cash through trusted charities and aid organisations. The Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal is made up of 15 leading UK charities which are working together to provide emergency aid in Ukraine.  We recommend donating money rather than goods. Cash can be transferred quickly to areas where it is needed, and individuals and aid organisations can use it to buy what is most needed. Unsolicited donations of goods, although well-meant, can obstruct supply chains and delay more urgent life-saving assistance from getting through.
  • If you would like to volunteer in some capacity, please contact the Volunteer Centre Dorset by emailing info@volunteeringdorset.org.uk
  • Do you speak Ukrainian or Russian? Please contact us if you can offer interpretation and translation skills customerservices@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Can I hang up a Ukrainian flag to show support?

Yes, you are able to display a Ukrainian flag from your property.

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