Financial matters under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme can be confusing. We’ve made this resource to help you get a better idea of finances related to the scheme. For most people, talking about financial matters can be uncomfortable and daunting, especially with new guests in your home that you want to make feel welcome. We encourage hosts to be as open as possible regarding financial matters which relate to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme to avoid awkward and uncomfortable situations in your household.
It’s likely that the person or people you sponsor will be on a low income initially in the UK
and offering assistance in budgeting and understanding living costs in the country will be useful.
For more information on helping your guests understand the cost of living, click here.
You will receive a £350 monthly payment from the council toward your costs whilst you sponsor. You may not charge your guest rent whilst you sponsor them in your own home.
If you are providing a self-contained property, the government do not intend for you to charge them rent for the initial 6 months. If they do have a tenancy, you will not be eligible for the £350 payment from the government. Remember, if you are offering a self-contained property, you will need to pay council tax if you are not already. This can be paid for by you or your guest. If you want your guest to cover this cost, it’s important that you either state this in your profile or tell them on your initial call.
When your guests arrive, your Local Authority will provide a £200 initial cash payment while they wait for their bank accounts and benefits to process. If you are hosting a family, each member of the family will receive £200, no matter how old they are.
In the first month of your guests arriving, they need to apply for benefits. This will be Universal Credit for people under the age of 66, and Pensions Benefits for anyone over the age of 66. Keep in mind that benefits can take 6-8 weeks to process.
Your guest may need your help opening a bank account when they arrive. Because your guest is new to the UK, it will be more complicated than your experience of opening an account, however, having a UK bank account is essential for receiving benefits. A useful guide to opening a bank account for refugees has been put together by Refugee Council which you can access here. Whilst those you sponsor will not have refugee status; it will still be useful.
If your guest approaches you for assistance, be ready to support and to discuss options. This could include:
For most refugees, integration and financial security are interlinked, especially when they are resettled to a relatively wealthy country like the UK. Many refugees arriving to the UK are surprised and disappointed when they find that they will be living on a small amount of money each month through benefits payments. Here are some suggestions as to how you can help you guests deal with any difficulties or disappointments:
Simple things like letting your guests know which supermarket is the cheapest, or that purchasing a weekly bus pass is cheaper than buying a ticket every day can help your guests navigate their finances