Call for more households in Wales to offer homes to Ukrainian refugees
An urgent call for more households in Wales to open their homes to Ukrainian refugees has been issued by the Welsh Government.
More than 8,200 visas have now been granted to people fleeing the war in Ukraine who have sponsors in Wales.
Only around 5,650 of those have so far made it to the UK, therefore homes are needed to accommodate the number of new arrivals expected to grow in the coming weeks.
More hosts are also needed to provide places for those already in the country but can no longer stay living where they are.
Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme hosts initially committed to housing someone for six months, and a survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found a quarter of hosts – around 700 households – said they would not continue hosting past that period.
Social justice minister Jane Hutt said: “In order to ensure a warm welcome to Wales, I’m issuing an invitation to households across Wales to come forward an open their homes to welcome those seeking sanctuary.
“We’re immensely thankful to all those across Wales who are acting as hosts to Ukrainians, but it’s vital that more households to come forward.”
There are currently 2,860 people from Ukraine being hosted in private households.
Hosts receive £350 a month from the UK Government, but there have been calls from the Welsh and Scottish Governments to double the amount due to financial pressures families are now facing.
Ministers and charities have warned that if more support is not offered tens of thousands of Ukrainian families could become homeless as the first six-month placements come to an end.
The Welsh Government is providing accommodation to another 2,804 people across 40 sites, which include a number of activity centres, hotels and holiday parks.
Over the summer, refugees were also able to stay in the student halls of residence at one Welsh university.
The government has also struck up a partnership with Airbnb to provide short-term emergency accommodation for when local authorities are unable to find somewhere quickly enough.
There are now Airbnb properties available within five areas, but more are to become available in the rest of the 22 council areas by next month.
Those who cannot commit to more than six months but could offer their property for up to 30 days at a time are encouraged to sign up to the platform.
The scheme is said to be particularly necessary for when there is a break down in relationship between host and refugee and is a way of preventing Ukrainians from becoming homeless.
A Host Support scheme has now been set up to provide training and advice to people hosting or considering hosting.
Meanwhile, thousands of Ukrainians are said to be settling and integrating well in Wales.
According to the Welsh Government, around 40% of Ukrainian refugees in Wales are now in some form employment, just under 5,000 are registered with GPs and most children who have arrived are now enrolled in mainstream education.
It is believed some of those who have obtained “permission to travel” visas but have not yet journeyed to the UK may have applied in case the Russian war worsens.
Ms Hutt added: “I completely understand that there are those who want to help but may not have the resources to do so, given the circumstances we’re all facing with the cost-of-living crisis.
“But what we all know, and has been proven countless times, is that the people of Wales are one of the most generous across the globe and I’m sure we will step up to the plate once again.”
“We will continue to communicate with those who host Ukrainians, with updated guidance and information to support the valuable role you are undertaking,” she said.
“To all those that are already hosting and to those that are considering hosting, thank you, we owe you all a huge debt of gratitude.”Published: by Radio NewsHub