Warning 50,000 Ukrainian refugees could be homeless by next year, estimates show

ITV News reporter Sarah Corker hears about the difficulties Ukrainian refugees are facing now that their temporary accommodation is coming to an end

Thousands of Ukrainian refugees who fled to the UK for safety after the Russian invasion of their homeland in February may find themselves homeless by next year.

The government's Homes for Ukraine scheme, which provides Ukrainian refugees with a host home for a minimum of six months, is about to run out - leaving many refugees without a place to stay.

One estimate predicts that 50,000 Ukrainian refugees will be homeless by next year, with many already living in temporary accommodation for up to six months as their wait for social housing to become available.

Diana now lives in a hotel room as the person who was giving her accommodation needed the space back

The Local Government Association (LGA) said it is "deeply concerned" about the growing number of Ukrainians presenting as homeless to their council.

Charities are worried that the Homes for Ukraine scheme is being "quietly phased out".

Diana, a Ukrainian refugee, has had to cram her whole life into one small hotel room without a kitchen or fridge, after her host needed their space back.

She receives some financial support from her host, but she is living in limbo in the UK while watching in horror as her city is destroyed in Ukraine.

"There is no life there at all. Every time sirens, every time bombs, so we can't go there," she told ITV News.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that 19% of people hosting refugees under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme intended to provide accommodation only for the initially agreed period of six months.The Scheme opened on 18 March 2022, meaning that for those that arrived early on the Scheme, arrangements will now be coming to an end.

More than 83,000 refugees have arrived on the Homes for Ukraine scheme, so it follows that over 15,000 (19%) could soon need to find alternative accommodation.

One refugee says she has no accommodation so she may have to go back to Ukraine

Hosts currently receive a £350 a month “thank you” payment for hosting a Ukrainian refugee for a minimum of six months, but as the scheme runs out, the thought of homeless refugees is difficult for many hosts.

"They built confidence and trust in me," one host told ITV News.

For now, Ukrainian refugees wait anxiously on their future in the UK. For many refugees, it may mean considering a move back to their war-ridden homes in Ukraine.

"There is no decision. If you have no accommodation or flat or house, we just have to think of living in Ukraine," says Ola, a Ukrainian refugee living in Warrington.

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