Ukraine update

Dear Town and Parish councils

I thought it would be helpful to update you on our latest work regarding Ukraine.

We are offering further support for Ukraine guests as they take the next steps into finding their own housing and moving on from host families.

Currently Wiltshire has welcomed 1374 guests into Wiltshire. Ukraine hosts continue to be paid a monthly sum of £350 by the government which increases to £500 a month for those who are hosting guests who have been in the UK over 12 months.

Out of the 1374 Ukrainians who have settled in Wiltshire, 165 families have moved into private rented accommodation, whilst the council’s Homes for Ukraine team have secured 67 rematches with new hosts from within Wiltshire and a further 27 who have been matched into Wiltshire from other local authorities; this is a mixture of community led, independent and Homes for Ukraine facilitated rematching.

The council is working with hosts to ensure as many Ukraine families as possible can be retained within the Homes for Ukraine scheme and where they are asked to leave, find another host who will be able to continue providing them with accommodation.

However a number of Ukrainians are seeking private accommodation and for those who do not have the means to support themselves, Wiltshire will use government Ukraine funding to provide the first month’s rent in advance and a deposit. The scheme only applies to people who have found a reasonable rent and it can be confirmed the property they are moving into is both suitable and affordable for the family afterwards. The council is also using government funding to provide a one off lump sum moving grant for actual physical costs of moving including furniture.

The latest use of the government funding is alongside other innovative ways to provide accommodation including the council preparing to buy up housing for individuals to stay in once their hosting arrangements have come to an end. The Council have successfully applied for a Local Authority Housing Fund grant for the purchase of properties to be used for Ukrainian housing. The target grant allows for 24 properties to be purchased and as of 28 March, 9 offers have been accepted and 7 of these are in the conveyancing process.

The council is enabling Stone Circle Housing Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wiltshire Council that was set up for the benefit of Wiltshire residents, to purchase homes across Wiltshire. These will become available over a period of time. By doing this, we are also using the government funding in an innovative way to purchase homes through Stone Circle that can be used for Ukraine nationals now and for wider use for Wiltshire residents into the future.

Many Wiltshire residents have provided a safe place to stay for many Ukraine people fleeing their own country. They have shown our generous, welcoming nature and I’m sure you will want to join me in thanking them for everything they have done.

We’ve just marked the first anniversary of the Homes for Ukraine scheme and while we want as many hosts as possible to continue providing a home, we are aware many of them are working with their Ukraine guests to look at other solutions. We do however, continue to need people with space in their home to step forward and join our Homes for Ukraine heroes to help support the rematching of guests. Becoming a host is hugely rewarding for hosts and is very much appreciated by guests. Please continue to encourage people to register their interest with Homes for Ukraine.

Thank you

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council