Information for hosts

The content below relates to the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Before finding refugees

What accommodation you can offer

Before finding refugees to welcome into your home you need to think about how many people you can host. Government has provided guidance on who can share a room and how many people can share a room.

As well as offering a spare bedroom it’s worth considering how additional people in your household would affect your shared spaces. Is it possible for your new guests to comfortably share the kitchen and living room, for example?

Connecting with refugees

Finding refugees to host

Phase one of the Homes for Ukraine scheme requires hosts to find their own sponsee.  

There are various ways of finding a sponsee:

Unfortunately, many con artists are taking advantage of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and the generosity of those who have offered their homes and money to help people escape the dire situation.

When speaking with potential sponsees, make sure you have a video call with them to make sure they are who they say they are, ask questions, and add them on Facebook, and make sure you feel comfortable having them in your home.

Although a new Facebook account doesn’t mean your potential sponsee is a scam artist (many accounts were set up as Facebook was the easiest way for Ukrainians to find hosts for a while) it’s worth considering whether a brand new account without much history is a sign of a scam artist. If your potential sponsee asks for money right away, consider whether they are a scam artist. 

You could potentially check if their Facebook account name matches up their passport name. 

What to do once you’ve found a refugee to host

Once you have found a refugee family to host, ensure that both parties are happy with the accommodation offered and that it meets the standards set out by the government. The last thing you want to do is have your new guests come to the UK and find themselves homeless. 

Filling out the visa form

Once you have found a family to host you will need to start the visa application process. This is a time-consuming process that requires one application per person. If you are sponsoring a family of four, you will need to repeat the process four times. 

During this process, you or the refugee family will be required to disclose personal information such as passport information and birth certificates, amongst other things.

Because the visa application form is written in English, it’s usually easier for the host family to fill it out on the refugee family's behalf and this is perfectly okay to do so. While filling out the form and gathering information, the host family could screen share with the refugee family.

Before filling in the form take a look at this visual guide of the visa application so you know what to expect when filling in the form. 

You will need scanned copies of passports and any other documentation you can provide for the visa application. If the scanned copies are not in the correct format you can use online converters to convert the file type for example by googling ‘jpg to pdf convertor’ or using Adobe converter.

As of 8/4/2022 there is no clear information about what the refugee family can provide for ‘Proof of residency on or before 1st January 2022’ but you could consider things like exit stamp on a passport, a screenshot of a bank statement or a purchase that they've requested to be delivered to their home (so the home address is visible on the invoice).

You'll also need to know if any member of the refugee family has ever been deported or worked for any government agency, such as the police, as well as the dates for both of these.

If you are sponsoring children who are travelling with just one parent you may need to have written proof that the other parent is okay with their child leaving the country. This could include the fathers name, childs name, passport number of both and written confirmation that the other adult is okay to allow their child to be taken to a safe country. If this is not possible you may be able to leave a note on the application which states why this is not possible for example if the father has stayed in Ukraine to fight in the war and is unreachable.

Once you are ready to start the visa process read through the official Government Visa Application Guidance before applying (you can find a link to the visa application on the government guidance).

Preparing to host refugees

Hosting refugees can be overwhelming, and with information scattered throughout the internet, it's difficult to know where to begin. The information in this guide will help you to prepare for hosting a refugee.

The guide will help you to understand what accommodation you can offer under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, what we know so far about council checks, what to include in a welcome pack and a house guide, how to learn some Ukrainian or Russian language and what to do if you need further help or guidance.

What we know so far about council checks

Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme councils are responsible for running accommodation and DBS checks. Although the government has released a checklist on what you need to do to make sure your home is suitable for your guest it is worth contacting your local council to see what checks take place or what you need to do in your home as each council is running checks slightly differently.

Welcome pack

Some refugees may arrive in the UK with little to no belongings and will require help in obtaining some basic essentials. It could be worthwhile contacting local charities and community groups, as many organisations are already collecting goods. 

Here are some suggestions for what to include in your new guests' welcome package. 

Adults welcome pack:

  • Keys to the property
  • Trolley coin and bags for life
  • Adaptors
  • Sim card and smart phone
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste 
  • Soap and sponge
  • Face wash
  • Make up remover and pads 
  • Sanitary products
  • Deodorant and body spray
  • Perfume and aftershave 
  • Hairbrush and hairspray
  • Hair bobbles
  • Shampoo and conditioner 
  • Nail clippers and nail file
  • Razor and shaving foam
  • Tweezers
  • Underwear, pyjamas, slippers, socks
  • Communication board and icons
  • Chocolate bar / sweeties
  • Towels

Also consider providing a hairdryer and hair straighteners in the bedrooms for your new guests.

Children welcome pack:

  • Hairbrush
  • Hair bobbles
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap and sponge
  • Face wash
  • Nail clippers
  • Underwear, pyjamas, slippers, socks
  • Toys and books
  • Communication board and icons
  • Chocolate bar / sweeties

Babies welcome pack and essentials:

  • Cot, cot mattress and bedding
  • Baby monitor
  • Night light
  • Dummies 
  • Toy box
  • Play mat
  • Playpen
  • Toys
  • Burp clothes
  • Bibs
  • Formula milk
  • Breast pump and storage 
  • Milk storage pots or bags
  • Feeding bottles
  • Bottle warmer
  • Bottle sterilising gear
  • Bottle brush
  • Changing mat
  • Nappies
  • Nappy rash cream
  • Wipes
  • Calpol
  • Soothing bath stuff
  • Nappy sacks
  • Baby clothes (babygrows, cardigans, vests, socks, sun hat, woolly hat, mittens)
  • Baby bath
  • Cup or jug for bath
  • Towels
  • Washcloths
  • Car seat
  • Pushchair or pram
  • Baby carrier
  • Nappy changing mat
  • Sunshade for vehicle
  • Baby blankets
  • First-aid kit
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Baby nail clippers
  • Sunscreen
  • Hairbrush

Household information guide 

You may want to provide your new guests with a printed guide to your household. 

Having a printed guide ensures that your guests can operate things in the house without needing to be directed by the host. If you are away at work, your guests will be able to use things in your house with confidence.

Your household information guide could include: 

  • Information about the hosts (picture and basic information about the hosts)
  • Emergency contacts (hosts, emergency police, fire or ambulance, non-emergency medical advice, non-emergency number for the police)
  • House guide (Address and telephone numbers, WIFI, smoking, house alarm, shower, heating, oven, hob, microwave, dishwasher, TV, washing machine, dryer, how to unlock any padlocks on gates)
  • Bins and recycling (Collection dates and what can be recycle)
  • Local transport information (where are the nearest bus stops and train station and what towns or cities are easy for guests to get to)
  • Things to do locally
  • Address of nearest supermarket and shops
  • Local map

If possible have your household information guide translated to Ukrainian and/or Russian for any guests who aren’t confident reading English.

Learn Ukrainian and Russian language

You might find it useful to learn some basic Ukrainian and/or Russian words to make your new guests feel welcome.

It is worth checking with your guests which language they prefer; in general, Ukrainian is dominant in the west while the more eastern regions have higher levels of Russian speakers. Some Ukrainians speak surzhik, a mix of the two. 

Both Ukrainian and Russian use the Cyrillic alphabet, with a few letters different. If you don’t want to read and write in Cyrillic, you might still want to learn some key phrases verbally. 

If you would like to join a free online language session, please express your interest via this form. We are hoping to offer short interactive lessons aimed at complete beginners to help hosts learn key phrases for communication with their guests. 

Other guidance and resources

Understanding Ukrainian culture

Ukrainian food

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