In recent weeks, our matching team has heard from a growing number of hosts and guests asking questions and voicing concern over the future of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and the lack of certainty surrounding government messaging about what will happen to funding for hosts and guests next year.
At present, there are very few concrete answers from government, something Reset, other civil society organisations and local councils have been calling for more clarity on. While Reset cannot provide answers for many of these questions, we can share what we know and how we understand the situation; and importantly, what we expect to see in the near future.
Last week the National Audit Office (NAO) released its report on Homes for Ukraine. This resulted in The Guardian publishing a piece about the scheme’s future, which suggests that all funding for the programme will end in March 2024. While the piece provides some great insight and summary of the report, it implies that the scheme will come grinding to a halt in a matter of months, which we believe is unlikely to be the case.
In reality, the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is awaiting confirmation of funding for the programme for the next financial year, beginning 1 April 2024. Although funding isn’t confirmed, it’s unlikely that funding will be cut entirely. We expect to have a clearer answer about how much funding is allocated to the programme, and about the future of thank you payments by the end of 2023, which we will be sure to share with you. It could also be helpful to note that funding for Homes for Ukraine goes directly to local councils and is not ringfenced – meaning they can spend the money as they see fit.
We’ve also received questions about whether or not the government will extend Homes for Ukraine visas when they come to an end. The Homes for Ukraine visa runs for three years for each individual, meaning the first visas are due to expire in March 2025. We know that the lack of clarity around visa extensions is causing distress for many Ukrainians who don’t know whether to invest in a future in the UK. This is something we have relayed to DLUHC and will continue to do so. We are hoping for answers to these questions soon.
While I recognise we’re not providing concrete answers, I hope this provides you with a better understanding of where we are in terms of the future of the scheme and the answers we expect to receive from the UK government in the near future.
From all of us at Reset, thanks for everything you’re doing to support the scheme.