“Safety involves more than just a roof over their heads” - readers discuss whether they would open their home to Ukrainian refugees

Earlier this week, the government has announced a new Homes for Ukraine Scheme, which will see Brits receive a £350-a-month ‘thank you’ payment for housing Ukrainian families escaping war.

Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 12:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 12:35 pm

We asked our readers what they thought about the scheme and whether they would be wiling to open their homes to Ukrainian refugees who are trying to escape from the conflict back home caused by the Russian invasion.

Here are a selection of their varied views on the matter, but it’s important to note that each of the comments highlighted is a representation of the view point of that individual and is not a reflection of this publication:

One of the most popular responses came from Mel Machin, who said, “If I had a spare room most definitely. We could fast-track the illegal immigrants who are currently taking up all the hotel rooms across our country and in sending these back would allow us to host many of these poor souls from Ukraine.” This comment received more than 39 thumbs-up emojis in support.

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Ukrainian refugees walk a bridge at the buffer zone with the border with Poland in the border crossing of Zosin-Ustyluh, western Ukraine on March 6, 2022. - Over 1.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine in the week since the invasion by Russian on February 24, 2022, with over half going to Poland, according to the UN refugee agency. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Understandably Mel’s comment did not go down with all of our readers, Claire Yeomans responded saying, “they are not illegal immigrants but refugees from war too who can't claim asylum until they get to uk, and the only way is by boat as all legal routes require paperwork they can't get until they arrive in UK. Its our asylum system that is broken causing people to make these dangerous crossings in desperation.” Like Mel’s comments, Claire’s were equally supported with multiple thumbs-up and heart emojis in support of her reply.

It seems that the divisive comments were set to continue with Tracey Ledger, who said, “This country as already given £220 million to Ukraine? Why are we now being asked if we’d house people? We are paying so much tax and national insurance and they want to give you £350 a month!! My bills have just gone up that each month without an extra person living with us! How much do we keep in giving? This war as been on the cards for quite a long time why are we being made to feel guilty now?”

Dawn Guirdham noted that, “Richard Madeley asked Sajid Javid if he would house them. He said he wouldn't have the time. Not on my doorstep comes to mind.”

And, Jon Myers says that households, “Couldn't afford to keep a family for a measly 350, they need heating, showers, food… we will end up paying out of our own money.”

Meanwhile, Martin Dixon added, “We have just spent billions on Nightingale hospitals that weren't used. Could these not be adapted to temporarily accommodate these refugees.” His comments seemed to strike a chord with over 42 people indicating their support for Martin’s view.

Anna Saripo followed up saying, “That is such a good idea - why hasn't this occurred to our government?” before going onto add, “Plus, they are going to be so traumatised, they should be able to stay as a community to support each other, not have to try and fit into other people's lifestyles.”

Toni Pickering pondered this, “Are celebs going to open up their mansions n spare rooms? try using n sorted some buildings that are left to sit as ruins when theyre perfectly fit.”

Andy Davies gave his view, “Haha a ‘thank you’. Probably forgot to mention they'll get you to pay it back somehow. Tories give you nothing for free. They'll get you to pay it back + some.”

And, Amber Khan said, “Wonder if it would count as income and hence affect people on any benefits?” That is a pretty interesting point there.

Bryan Swift was at pains to point out that, “Most of these Ukrainians will be women children elderly while their men are fighting for their lands they’re not looking for anything other than safety.”

Judith Toulson responded to Bryan, asking, “How are these people going to be vetted, it’s open to all sorts of scams. As these refugees are women and children care is needed that they’re placed safely. With Covid cases high, are we going to offer them vaccines on arrival? Their safety involves more than just a roof over their heads.”

Bryan replied saying, “I agree, but we can’t turn our backs on these people.”

Concerns over the vetting of Ukranian refugees and potential temporary households was a point that was brought up repeatedly and often wrongly, case in point being Trish Dillon, “Shockingly, there will be no DBS checks on the host families. This raises all kinds of safe guarding issues for the children placed in their homes.”

This is incorrect, according to the Home for Ukraine Scheme government site FAQ section;

"Those arriving will have met standard security checks. Sponsors will also be subject to checks.

Those in the sponsoring households will also be subject to security checks and may be subject to safeguarding checks too. Checks may be carried out on a rolling basis.

Your council will want to check that the accommodation you are offering is appropriate in the circumstances.”

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Homes for Ukraine Scheme

It further states that, “Security checks for both you and your sponsor will be undertaken as part of the visa application process.”

Alan Evans noted that it was, “Nice to see the humanitarian concern from all the small-minded people on here. Little Britain at its finest. "Will they speak English", "will they be police checked?", "Would they do the same for us?" Yes, yes and yes.”

Finally, Denise Booth added her view on the matter, “If you don't have the space or feel £350 isn't enough to cover extra expenses then don't bloody offer. No- one is being forced to do it and no- one has to explain their reasons so stop whinging.”

The Homes for Ukraine Scheme is set to come into effect from Monday, with hosts receiving £350 a month for a miniumum six-month long stay, but you will have to find your own refugee. For more information about giving support to those in need here, go to: Homes for Ukraine Scheme

Or, if you prefer to donate to the wider cause then you can do so here: https://www.dec.org.uk/