In recognition of the tremendous support that has been shown to Ukrainian refugees by Plymouth residents through the Homes for Ukraine scheme over the last six months, Plymouth City Council has announced it will be implementing an additional housing support package.
The package is aimed to alleviate some of the financial pressures experienced by hosts as a direct result of offering their homes to Ukrainian guests as well as the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
Homes for Ukraine hosts have been receiving a £350 a month ‘thank you’ payment from the government since guests started to arrive in Plymouth six months ago. The Council has now agreed to offer an additional payment of £150 per month to all hosts who commit to their guests staying beyond six months to cover increased household expenses.
The increase will also be funded by the Government Homes for Ukraine grant. Payments are tax-free and can be either a single long staying guest, or multiple groups.
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Chair of the Plymouth Ukraine Crisis Task Force, said: “We are pleased to announce this additional support package which will enable local hosts to cover their increased cost of living while continuing to provide a safe home to Ukrainian refugees.
“As the atrocities in Ukraine continue, we want to make sure Ukrainian guests in Plymouth are supported as much as possible.
“We hope this increased financial support will give Ukrainian guests, many of whom have seen these atrocities first hand, more time to settle into communities, find employment and restart their lives. At the same time, it is crucial to stand by Ukrainian refugees that have settled in Plymouth and are ready to take their next step.
“The Council continues to work closely with residents, voluntary and community groups and partner authorities to ensure both hosts and Ukrainian guests receive the support they need. This includes helping guests find suitable move-on accommodation and support reviewing tenancy agreements, managing deposits and accessing white goods and furniture.”
As of today, there are 98 active hosts in Plymouth that have provided a home to 168 guests. However, despite a large number of Plymouth residents initially expressing an interest in opening their homes to Ukrainian guests, there is still a need for additional sponsors across the city.
Councillor Rebecca Smith, Cabinet Member for Homes and Community for Plymouth City Council, added: "It has been shocking to see the ongoing situation in Ukraine and upsetting to see people driven from their homes in fear. We are proud that so many Plymouth residents have been able to open their homes and offer support for those fleeing conflict.
“We are using the Government funding to directly support both the sponsors and the Ukrainian guests to ensure that they can successfully find a home in Plymouth, but we now need even more people across our city, who can provide a home for Ukrainians to consider being sponsors and come forward.”
For more information, or if you are interested in supporting Ukrainian refugees, go to: www.plymouth.gov.uk/ukraine for more information.