Ukrainian refugees to be helped into new Nottinghamshire homes through voucher scheme
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Refugees can live and work in the UK for up to three years and access benefits, healthcare, employment, and other support.
But many refugees have now exceeded the expected six-month period living with hosts, and a ‘considerable’ number of sponsors in Nottinghamshire have now hosted for more than 12 months.
As of August 8, 496 Ukrainians are still living with 276 sponsors in Nottinghamshire.
A total 221 of these have been sponsoring for six months or longer.
The council says the goodwill of sponsors ‘cannot be relied upon as a long-term housing solution’, so up to £450,000 from the HFU budget will be used by Nottinghamshire Council to fund vouchers for families.
These will support refugees who are transitioning into new homes between October 2023 and March 2024.
A maximum of £900 in vouchers will be offered to each refugee family for white goods, and a maximum of £700 in vouchers will be offered to each refugee family for furniture.
Since March 2022, 56 families have been assisted with furniture or white goods since March 2022, at a cost of £33,000.
But the authority says that the white goods provider is facing delays of two months.
Documents stated: “This is a challenge for our refugees, who require a quick turnaround of support when alternative housing arrangements are found.
“Many HFU refugees face significant financial and cultural barriers when seeking alternative accommodation.
"Providing housing support, in the form of white goods and furniture, is a crucial way of ensuring a smooth and comfortable transition into independent living.
“Many HFU households include children or babies that require healthy environments to flourish.
"Access to safe food storage, cooking facilitates, and the washing of clothing are basic rights that all refugees are entitled to.
“Refugees often do not have the financial means, or the community support mechanisms in place, to acquire these goods themselves.”
As of August 2023, the authority is set to support 1,625 refugee visa applications, with 1,158 arrivals to date.
A further 235 refugees have had their visas issued or confirmed.