Hundreds of Ukrainian nationals welcomed to England classed as homeless

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Hundreds of Ukrainians welcomed to England since the invasion of Russia have been made homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless, according to new figures.

Families allowed to come to the country either to join relatives or through the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship program have instead found housing unavailable or seen their housing arrangements fail.

According to the Department for Leveling Up, Housing & Communities, a total of 660 Ukrainian households have been made legally compelled to be homeless by local authorities in England until June 3.

This means that they had been assessed as homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Some 180 were single households, while 480 were households with dependent children.

The figures do not reflect the scale of homelessness across England as more than a quarter (26%) of local authorities did not respond to the survey, which was not mandatory.

A government spokesperson said: “More than 77,200 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK since Putin’s invasion and all arrivals have access to public benefits and services, as well as the right to work or study, from the day of their arrival.

“The overwhelming majority of people settle well, but in the minority of cases where family or sponsorship relationships break down, councils have a duty to ensure that families are not left homeless over their head.

“Councils also have access to a rematch service to find a new sponsor in cases under the Homes for Ukraine programme.”

Ukrainian refugee Kira Ryndova, three, holds a soft toy as she sits on the steps of 10 Downing Street in London after visiting her family to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson, following their arrival in the UK United (Victoria Jones/PA)

Since Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February, two schemes have been put in place to allow refugees to travel to the UK.

The Homes For Ukraine sponsorship program allows Ukrainian nationals and their family members to come to the UK if they have a named sponsor.

Figures released on Thursday show that 90 households in England admitted under the scheme have been assessed as homeless or at risk of homelessness because their accommodation arrangement is ‘broken’, along with 55 other households whose the accommodation was “not available or suitable on Arrivals”.

Under the separate Ukraine Family Scheme, which allows applicants to join family members or extend their stay in the UK, 175 households in England have been assessed as homeless because arrangements have been broken, as well as 280 whose accommodation was unavailable or unsuitable.

There were 55 households for which the reason they were assessed as homeless or at risk of becoming homeless was categorized as ‘other’ or ‘unknown’.

Of the total 660 households under legal homelessness, just over half (345) were recorded as being in temporary accommodation when the figures were compiled.

This includes bed and breakfasts, youth hostels, housing association properties and other types of accommodation used by local authorities to fulfill their legal responsibilities towards homeless people.

The figures also show that 20 households avoided being classified as homeless because they reappeared with other hosts.

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