Information for hosts and community groups

Thank you for signing up to be a host as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme. We hope the information on this page will be useful for you, but if you have any urgent questions related to supporting your guest(s), please email duty.communities@scambs.gov.uk

There is information for guests on our guest information hub, which may also be useful. The Government has added a Ukrainian translation to the guidance on what Ukrainian guests need to do before they travel to the UK and what to do after they arrive.

There is further information below to explain how and when we will contact you - once you have been 'matched' as a host, the Home Office will share your contact details with us. Please note that we will be sending a regular e-newsletter to hosts (and community groups) with information related to the Homes for Ukraine scheme. The e-newsletter will likely be sent on a weekly or fortnightly basis, depending on how much information there is to share.

Please read our Support for Ukraine privacy notice [PDF, 0.2MB] for information about how we will use any additional data you share with us.

Key processes - when we will contact you

We are contacting hosts directly within a couple of days of being given your contact information by the Home Office. We are only provided with host contact information once hosts have been successfully 'matched' with guests. We are receiving updated information regularly from the Home Office, sometimes daily, and we will email each new cohort of matched hosts with information about next steps.

When you receive this information from us, please do not share it with anyone else. We need hosts to provide us with information at the right time to streamline our process.

This initial welcome email will provide you with information to start the process of getting a Disclosure and Barring Service check for every eligible member of your household. We will also be able to start organising your accommodation check. These can both happen before your guests arrive (although in some instance guests may arrive before they are complete - this is fine).

We will then need you to notify us once your guests have arrived. This is because we cannot make host payments (£350 per household per month in arrears) or guest payments (£350 per guest, as soon as possible after arrival) until guests have arrived at your address.

Information about how to notify us about all of the above will be sent to hosts direct by email. 

When your guests arrive

Thank you to a current host who shared some insights with us that may be useful for other hosts whose guests are yet to arrive.

"When your guests arrive they might be traumatised and exhausted so, rather than rush them and organising their lives, we wrote a list of essential ‘to dos’ and said to them that they could tell us what they wanted to do and when. Examples included getting SIM cards, bank accounts, applying for Universal Credit, registering with doctors etc.

"We had an honest conversation and said from the outset that we came from different cultures and backgrounds and so we should be open with each other so that neither of us ever offended or upset the other ... and our bond has just become deeper and deeper.

"We had a 'build your own pizza' evening where we all made pizzas, it became a competition and we all tasted each other's. Even not being able to speak English was not a barrier to communication doing that together. It also helps to have Google translate on during meals."

Additional optional £150 host monthly payment

Following on from feedback from our hosts about the increasing cost of housing Ukrainian guests, coupled with rising cost of living that is impacting all households, we are now offering hosts an optional extra £150 monthly payment. This is a separate payment to the existing £350 monthly payment which hosts already receive as part of the national scheme. All hosts are sent an email notifying them of this additional opt-in payment, along with details about how to request it. Should you have any queries about this additional payment, or if you have not been sent detailed information about opting-in to receive it, please do not hesitate to contact us on duty.communities@scambs.gov.uk

In-person checks

We will soon begin the in-person checks with guests that we are required to complete in line with the Government’s guidance for the Homes for Ukraine scheme. These are due to take place around the time when a guest has been staying with a host for six months. To facilitate these checks, Council staff will visit each host property for a quick conversation with guests and your support in arranging these quick check-ins will be really appreciated.

Intercultural awareness

It is worth remembering that people have different cultural norms, and sharing your home with people who may not have the same cultural norms will not only provide lovely opportunities to learn about another culture, but also some possible challenges. 

Some things you may want to bear in mind are that people may have different diets (some preferred items may be found in Polish shops locally). They may only be used to drinking bottled water, may not be comfortable with 'small talk' such as about the weather, may not be used to saying 'please' and 'thank you' as much as some in the UK will, and they will not know about local recycling conventions, and so on. 

We suggest asking your guests (while being mindful that people may have recently experienced significant trauma and, even if not, may not be comfortable being too open with a stranger) whether there is anything they need, and regularly checking back in with them about their comfort and needs. 

A company called Thrive LDN provides useful online resources that support the wellbeing of displaced Ukrainians. The information is to help those supporting people affected by the Ukraine crisis. They have also produced a guidance document to help families create a safe and welcoming environment for displaced Ukrainian people and avoid the potential for further harm.

Guests moving on?

If your guests are planning to move on into alternative accommodation, or have already done so, please let us know, so that we can update our records and adjust any payments being made accordingly. If this is the case for your guests, please email duty.communities@scambs.gov.uk as soon as possible, and include your name, address and details of the guests who have moved elsewhere.

Looking ahead

Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, hosts have committed to providing accommodation for guests for a minimum of 6 months, but hosts may wish to continue with the arrangement beyond the initial 6 months, if both parties wish to. If hosts do not want to continue the arrangement beyond 6 months (or at any time after that), they should let their guest(s) know at least 2 months before either the end of the first 6-month period or at any date afterwards.

Guests will have access to public funds and, after leaving your home, will be able to rent a property like anyone else. If they need to, they’ll be able to claim the housing part of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. The UK Government has useful information on renting property which is available in the How to Rent Guide.

If guests need further support, we can support them to help them find alternative accommodation. We can:

  • Provide advice to help them rent privately
  • Support applications for Universal Credit and other benefits
  • Work with other organisations to give advice and support for tenancies
  • See if any of our private sector self-contained or shared properties are available and a good fit for guests’ needs
  • Give details of our Tenancy Deposit and Rent In Advance schemes - these schemes can help those guests who are not in work, or on low incomes, to rent privately
  • Consider shared housing and lodging options as an affordable way to find new accommodation
  • Give advice on joining the housing register for social housing. Guests need to be made aware that they should not rely only on council housing as a route to getting accommodation due to high demand and a general lack of social housing
  • We can refer people to Emmaus and other charities who can help with furniture, should guests find themselves suitable unfurnished accommodation at the end of the scheme
  • More information can also be found on the homelessness advice pages of our website

Our housing team advises that:

  • Guests start saving as soon as they are able, with a view to being able to pay part or all of the cost of moving out, when the time comes
  • Hosts and guests have open and honest conversations together, particularly if hosts do not wish to continue beyond the first 6 months. This will give guests the time to consider their options, with our support

As a last resort, and in the event that all avenues have been unsuccessful and guests have to leave without having somewhere else to go, they are entitled to make a homeless application to us. This process is the same for anyone and may not always result in a positive or rapid outcome. Getting in touch with us at the earliest opportunity will give both ourselves and the guests more time to consider options.

Support from community groups

Volunteers and community groups welcoming refugees from Ukraine

If you are involved in a community group that wants to support new arrivals from Ukraine, or if you're an individual volunteer wishing to help, we would invite you to sign up to our regular e-newsletter for helpful updates. The e-newsletter will likely be sent on a weekly or fortnightly basis, depending on how much information there is to share.

The team will keep a list of willing volunteers. Please provide your location, as well as any skills you may wish to offer, such as speaking Ukrainian. Please be aware that we may share these details with your local community group leader. 

To sign up to our regular e-newsletter please email our Communities Team.

We really value insights from volunteers and community groups who are supporting their community.

Please share your experiences with us as we move forward with welcoming refugees from Ukraine. 

If you are already supporting new arrivals and need questions answering, or help to solve a local issue, please email our Communities team who will try to help.

Please read our Support for Ukraine privacy notice [PDF, 0.2MB] for information about how we will use data you share with us.

Parish toolkit

The Church of England has created a parish toolkit which may be useful.

Related Information

Contact Details