A number of individuals from across the Diocese, including clergy, have been in touch wishing to know how they might be able to use their homes to support the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. This page hopes to provide some early initial guidance.
Update: 9am Sunday 20th March - clarification the HMO (Homes of Multiple Occupancy) Rules will not apply as 'rent' is not being paid under this sceme.
The Homes for Ukraine Scheme
This bespoke scheme will offer a route to those who want to come to the UK who have someone here willing to provide them with a home. It will enable individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to volunteer accommodation and provide a route to safety for Ukrainians, and their immediate family members.
Sponsors should provide accommodation for as long as they are able, but there a minimum expectation of 6 months. 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. The UK Government will welcome as many arrivals as possible, based on the number of sponsors.
People arriving under this scheme will be able to:
- Live and work in the UK for up to three years
- Access healthcare, benefits, employment support, education, and English language tuition
Applications are be invited through an online portal, with the Sponsors being vetted and the Ukrainian refugees being required to go through security checks. The Sponsor will also receive what is being called a "thank you" payment of £350 a month.
- Access the Portal here - Access the UK Government Homes for Ukraine website by clicking here
- Access the Portal - F&Q page here
- Homes for Ukraine: guidance for councils - further guidance including clarification on not requiring HMO status
Church of England Guidance
The Church of England has published a ‘toolkit’ of resources for parishes seeking to help refugees and evacuees from Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion of the country.
The material, available online, brings together advice on how churches can welcome people arriving from Ukraine through giving, longer-term practical support such as community sponsorship, prayer and advocacy, as well as links to other sources of information including safeguarding.
Access the Church of England (CofE) Resources
- The CofE Press Release - click here
- The CofE "War in Ukraine: responding" page (including the toolkit) - click here
- View safeguarding guidance - Homes for Ukraine (safeguarding e-manual page)
Ely Diocesan Board of Finance (EDBF) Guidance
The Ely Diocesan Board of Finance (EDBF) also wish to offer initial guidance that seeks to balance the interests of clergy and their families, the EDBF, and the Ukrainian refugees.
Within the newly proposed scheme, there is a plan to support refugees (without a personal connection to someone in the UK), a “home” environment.While it is possible the offer of vacant parsonages could be considered, the thrust seems to be to ensure that a responsible UK individual is the key to better support any refugees into ‘normal’ life locally.
The nature of the proposed scheme, offering payment support for Sponsors for up to three (3) years, also strongly suggests that this is not envisaged by the government as being a short-term solution.
Matters that those in Clergy housing might wish to consider
This is a summary of some of the broader considerations those in clergy housing might wish to consider.
Clergy housing – Lodgers and Guests: The broader considerations for those in parsonage housing with regard to Lodgers and Guests is laid out in the “Living in a Parsonage House” booklet, page 26, linked to on this page - https://www.elydiocese.org/church-roles/parish-clergy/clergy-housing/. This should include matters such as:
- Please note the HMG Guidance for Councils States: "as no rent is payable for accommodation under the scheme, we therefore do not expect councils to require such accommodation to obtain an HMO license (per the HMO definition in the Housing Act 2004, S.254 (2)(e)". We therefore consider the relevant section in the "Living in a Parsonage House" with regard to HMO status can be disregarded for those considering this scheme.
- This is NOT a tenancy, ensure your agreement is one of a lodger License. Contact the Diocesan Property Manager (link here), who will be able to help support you in this if required.
- GDPR and Data Security; If you are inviting people to stay in your home for the first time, be mindful of your own obligations under security of sensitive data you might hold.
- Health and Safety
- Home Insurance
Keep the Diocesan team Updated: If you choose to go ahead with the scheme, be mindful of the various considerations under the broader guidelines of Living in a Parsonage House, and do also please inform the Diocesan Property Manager by email so that we are aware of any personal changes - https://www.elydiocese.org/church-roles/parish-clergy/clergy-housing/.
Safeguarding: We would expect the scheme to include checks on sponsors and individuals, but it should be noted that refugees are vulnerable. If you already have children or vulnerable adults in your home, or visiting household, you will need to take this into account in your decision-making.
The Church of England support pages also offer safeguarding guidance and can be viewed by clicking here.
Additional ways to help
The Homes for Ukraine scheme may not be appropriate for everyone. If you would like to help, you are encouraged to consider a donation via the Diocese of Europe Ukraine Appeal here.
Another effective way to help is by donating to the Disasters Emergency Committee (note: this is how the Red Cross asks for donations and the UK Government have said they will match public donations (pound for pound up to £20 million).
You can also support Christ Church Kyiv through Just Giving (name Christ Church Kyiv)