‘Homes for Ukraine’ – our response

17th March 2022

Sanctuary Hosting stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and sanctuary seekers everywhere.

Over the past week, we and other hosting organisations across the UK have received an unprecedented number of enquiries from kind-hearted people wanting to open their doors and communities to those fleeing the war in Ukraine. As an established hosting service providing shelter for homeless refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants across the Thames Valley since 2015, we welcome the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. We are happy to offer advice based on our years of experience but we are not currently able to match sponsors with Ukrainians arriving under the local sponsorship scheme.

We want to see as many refugees as possible housed promptly. However, it is vital that the Government’s emergency response does not come at the expense of the wellbeing and safety of hosts and their guests. Successful hosting depends on a sensitive and thorough approach to the matching process. As ‘Homes for Ukraine’ becomes operational, we will be seeking clarity on the practical aspects: how vetting and safeguarding checks will be done; what ongoing support there will be to ensure an appropriate and trauma-informed response to supporting guests from Ukraine and to minimise the risk of, at best, relationship breakdown between host and guest and, at worst, exploitation and harm.

The Government has given assurances that it will work in partnership with Local Authorities, charities such as ours, faith groups and other local organisations to deliver this scheme. We await further details, particularly around matching hosts and guests, ensuring safeguarding and the provision of support for people to leave their hosting placement and settle independently in the community, or to claim asylum – and we stand ready to play our part.

Whilst we recognise that ‘Homes for Ukraine’ will provide a much-needed emergency pathway to safety, we also cannot and should not ignore the Government’s hugely differential and discriminatory approach to this crisis compared to other ongoing refugee crises. We call on the government to retain and protect their international commitments to refugees, asylum seekers, and human rights by ensuring the amendments made in the House of Lords to the Nationality and Borders Bill are retained in the House of Commons.

Sanctuary Hosting will continue to host asylum seekers and refugees fleeing from conflicts throughout the world as well as provide temporary accommodation for those suffering from homelessness and destitution as a result of their immigration status.

We welcome applications from anyone in the Thames Valley with a spare room to offer and from those who would like to volunteer to support a hosting placement.

For some recent media interviews about hosting and all media enquiries, please visit our media page.

Hosting FAQs

We have compiled some of the frequently asked questions over our many years’ experience of managing a hosting placement scheme.

Tips for hosts

For those interested in hosting a refugee or asylum seeker, we share some tips on some of the practical issues involved in hosting a guest in your home.

A Guide to Hosting Good Practice

If you are considering hosting a refugee or asylum seeker in your home or you are supporting a host and want to gain knowledge on hosting ‘good practice’, you can read our guide to Hosting Good Practice here.