Fears Ukrainian refugees will be left homeless as hosts cannot afford cost of living crisis
Miranda Allen, who is hosting refugees in Meersbrook, presented a petition with 307 signatures calling for more financial support at the latest full council meeting.
Hosts like Ms Allen were given monthly payments of £350 to help them look after those in need but she said this was not enough and urged Sheffield Council to follow other local authorities in boosting funding without delay.
On behalf of hosts and guests, she said: “Amidst the cost of living crisis many hosts are struggling to manage the extra costs involved with housing extra people which may result in hosting ending earlier than it needs to.
“We feel the cost of increasing the thank you payment would be more cost effective in the long run than the council having to find accommodation for guests who no longer have hosts because it is no longer affordable for people.”
She added: “The government guidance may never come and in the meantime, more and more Ukrainians are finding themselves homeless – often families with children and elderly or sick relatives.
“This is not acceptable, especially after what they have been through already so we ask you to look at this again, taking into consideration the costs of increasing the thank you payment compared to the ever increasing number of homeless Ukrainians and the effect this will also have on their wellbeing.”
Councillor Douglas Johnson, chair of the housing committee, said the scheme was a nationally-run project out of their control but following consistent lobbying, the government last week committed to increasing the payment to £500 a month for two years from next year.
But there was criticism the payments will come too late for many as it will only be given when the Ukrainian guest has been in the UK for a year – meaning March at the earliest.
Nearly 3,000 of the 100,000 refugees who arrived in the UK under the scheme or family visa schemes had since become homeless, according the latest government figures published this month.