Council offering support to Ukrainian guests taking steps to find their own housing in Wiltshire
Wiltshire Council is offering further support for Ukraine guests as they take the next steps into finding their own housing.
Wiltshire Council is offering further support for Ukraine guests as they take the next steps into finding their own housing and moving on from host families.
Wiltshire has warmly welcomed 1,374 guests into the county so far and is one of the top authorities in England for taking in Ukraine nationals due to the war. Out of the 1,374 Ukrainians who have settled in Wiltshire, 165 families have now moved into private rented accommodation, whilst the council's Homes for Ukraine team has secured 67 rematches with new hosts from within Wiltshire and a further 27 who have been matched into Wiltshire from other local authorities; this is a mixture of community led, independent and Homes for Ukraine facilitated matching.
The council is working with hosts to ensure as many Ukraine families as possible can be retained within the Homes for Ukraine scheme when they are asked to leave. This involves finding another host who will be able to continue to provide accommodation.
Every Ukrainian household has a named Case Worker assigned to support the guests to integrate into the community. This can include supporting guests to access health and education services, English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) provisions, assistance applying for support with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and other key services. The support offered is tailored to meet the individual needs of each guest and a collaborative approach is taken to ensure their personal goals are reflected in holistic support planning and delivery.
However, there are now a number of Ukrainians seeking private accommodation and for those who do not have the means to support themselves, Wiltshire will use government Ukraine funding to provide the first month's rent in advance and a deposit. The scheme only applies to people who have found a property with a reasonable rent which may be at the local authority rate or at a rate which is deemed as affordable for the family in the longer term. The council is also using government funding to provide a one-off lump sum moving grant for the physical costs of moving including purchasing furniture.
Government funding is being used to provide accommodation, with the council successfully applying for a Local Authority Housing Fund grant for the purchase of properties to be used for Ukrainian housing. The grant funding will allow for 24 properties to be purchased and so far nine offers have been accepted.
Stone Circle Housing Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wiltshire Council that was set up for the benefit of Wiltshire residents, have submitted two draft Business Plans for 2023/24 to purchase homes across Wiltshire. The business case, which has yet to be agreed by the council as a shareholder, has indicated a target of 150 homes by March 2024.
Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council said:
Wiltshire residents have provided a safe place to stay for many Ukraine people fleeing their own country. They have shown a generous, welcoming nature and I want to thank them for everything they have done.
We've just marked the first anniversary of the Homes for Ukraine scheme and while we want as many hosts as possible to continue providing a home, we are aware many of them are working with their Ukraine guests to look at other solutions. As required by the government we are now taking additional steps using available funding to provide a bridge to moving into private accommodation for Ukraine guests. We are also using the funding in an innovative way to purchase homes with the Local Authority Housing Fund and through Stone Circle that can be used for Ukraine nationals now and for wider use for Wiltshire residents into the future.
People who have queries on Ukraine matters can find information on our website at Wiltshire stands with Ukraine - Wiltshire Council. If there are specific questions related to being a host or providing community support people can email the dedicated Ukraine inbox which is H4U@wiltshire.gov.uk.