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Third of Homes for Ukraine hosts ‘struggling’ with the rising cost of living

Third of Homes for Ukraine hosts ‘struggling’ with the rising cost of living
The vast majority of respondents said they incurred additional costs for utilities such as energy and water

Almost a third of current and previous Homes for Ukraine hosts reported struggling with the rising cost of living, the first ONS survey of the scheme has found.

Some 21 percent of respondents reported that the soaring cost of living affected their ability to provide support to Ukrainian refugees “quite a lot”. A further nine percent said it affected their ability to help “very much”.

The survey, which received responses from 17,702 people, found that some sponsors have had to leave the Homes for Ukraine scheme because they can no longer afford it.

Of the hosts who signed up to house Ukrainians for six months or less, 23 percent said they did not plan to continue because of rising costs of living or because they could no longer afford to.

Almost one in five, 19 percent, of people said they intended to provide accommodation for six months, rather than a longer period of time. The most reported reason for stopping was having only intended to provide short-term accommodation, at 58 percent.

It comes as MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis hit out at Liz Truss’s proposed economic policies, labelling them “a sticking plaster on a gaping wound.”

He warned that soaring energy bills are a “national crisis” which will leave millions “destitute” this winter unless the government urgently steps in to help.

Are you a Homes for Ukraine host struggling with the cost of living crisis? Email holly.bancroft@independent.co.uk

Almost all current or previous Homes for Ukraine sponsors who responded to the ONS survey, 99 percent, said that they had incurred additional costs as a result of hosting.

In particular, 91 percent reported having additional utility costs, such as increased water, gas and electricity costs.

<p> Ukrainian refugees Yaroslav Kryvoshyia (left) and Irinia Kryvoviaz (right) with her son Sasha as they settle into their new home in North Moreton, Oxfordshire under the government scheme  </p>

Ukrainian refugees Yaroslav Kryvoshyia (left) and Irinia Kryvoviaz (right) with her son Sasha as they settle into their new home in North Moreton, Oxfordshire under the government scheme

Most hosts welcomed Ukrainian refugees into their own home, rather than a spare or rented property, and most sponsors also met their guests on social media.

A significant proportion of sponsors were working full time while hosting, with 43 percent of respondents in this position. Whereas just over one fifth of people, 21 percent, were retired.

A slight majority, 56 percent, of hosts were also female.

When asked about the reported challenges of hosting, the most reported issue was helping guests apply to get benefits, with 53 percent of sponsors finding this difficult.

Commenting on the findings, Tim Gibbs from the ONS, said: “As we come up to the sixth months since the Homes for Ukraine scheme was introduced, it is useful to find out what the experience of hosts has been.

“We see a lot of generosity and goodwill in what hosts report doing for their guests. The majority are still hosting and many indicate a willingness to host beyond the initial six months.

“However, we also see the additional work and expense involved in hosting with some saying more or ongoing support would be welcomed.”

Many of those surveyed, 23 percent, intended to provide accommodation for longer than 12 months. They also provided a lot of extra help to families, such as showing them the local area.

Over 43,000 sponsors were invited to take part in the ONS research.

Last week The Independent reported that a Ukrainian family who had been kicked out of their home weeks after arriving in the UK had been helped by a good samaritan.

<p>Olga and Maxim Hyryk say they ‘just want to live a normal peaceful life’ after fleeing their home</p>

Olga and Maxim Hyryk say they ‘just want to live a normal peaceful life’ after fleeing their home

Maxim and Olga Hyryk has been living in fear that they could be made homeless after their landlords in Fareham, Hampshire suddenly told them to leave.

The family had fled Russia’s invasion and come to the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

A British midwife has now offered the family of nine a house, which she was using as a holiday let, rent-free.