Can you offer a home?

More than 30 residents have so far contacted Bath & North East Somerset Council pledging accommodation for Ukrainian refugee families fleeing the war being waged on their country.

Offers of accommodation have ranged from complete houses to rooms in homes as well as offers of paying for housing where people don’t have spare space in their own properties.

The Home Office announced yesterday it is rolling out the Homes for Ukraine programme which allows individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to offer accommodation to Ukrainian refugees for at least six months. 

Sponsored Ukrainians will then be granted three years’ leave to remain in the UK, with entitlement to work and access public services. Someone is eligible for the scheme if they are a Ukrainian national or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national, and were resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022.

People can apply online to the Government’s Homes for Ukraine and offer accommodation and the council has set up a dedicated Ukraine refugee support webpage      

If you have a named person who you wish to sponsor you should get in contact with them directly and prepare to fill in a visa application with all their details and yours. The visa application will go live on Friday 18 March.

If you don’t know anyone who you wish to sponsor you may wish to get in touch with charities, faith groups or local community organisations who are starting to make connections between individuals.

You can also record your interest as an individual or as an organisation (for example charity, business, community group).

Bath and North East Somerset has many excellent local partners, such as Bath Welcomes Refugees and Julian House, which the council has worked with on previous humanitarian crises and will continue to work with to help Ukrainian refugees.

Councillor Kevin Guy, B&NES council leader, said: “The council is committed to playing its part and doing whatever it can to respond to this humanitarian crisis. I want to thank all those people who have already stepped up and contacted us with offers to open their homes to Ukrainian refugees, I’ve no doubt many more offers will follow.

“While not everyone is able to offer a room or a house, we are still asking you to please consider donating what you can directly to the British Red Cross or UNICEF or the Disasters Emergency Committee, which are highly experienced in providing effective on-the-ground support during critical humanitarian situations.”