Hosting guests from Ukraine

Become a host for Ukrainian guests who are already in the Country but need a new host.

Over 1,000 guests from Ukraine fleeing war have been supported by people from Leicestershire for their visas and accommodation.

A number of these initial hosting arrangements are coming to an end, and while some guests are seeking and finding private rented accommodation, others are in need of new hosts.

We are looking for people who may be able to provide accommodation for Ukrainian families already in this country?

As well as receiving a monthly thank-you payment, and being able to support people in need, hosts say they have appreciated the opportunity to make new connections with people, learn more about other cultures.

Hosting explained

Hosting is providing a safe space for Ukrainian families to call home. Guests should be otherwise financially independent. You're not expected to feed or clothe guests.

Many who have hosted families describe making “friends for life”, as it opens the door to a whole new world of culture and language of eastern Europe.  You are not just offering a place to live but also safety, stability and wellbeing to people whose peace has been broken so suddenly.

We ask for hosts to commit to a minimum of 6 months hosting their guests, though in some cases we have guests who are only looking for a host for shorter periods.

Support for hosts and guests

Leicestershire Council has a dedicated team to support Ukrainian families and their hosts.

We provide support in the matching process for hosts and guests to meet and work out if and how the arrangement will work, and work out a plan for move in.

We will speak to hosts and give hosts the opportunity to hear from guests’ previous hosts (where available) and will look to understand hosts needs and circumstances to make sure it will be suitable for them.

Once guests have moved in we carry out welfare visits to ensure hosting arrangements are working well and provide help with any further support needs or enquiries, such as employment, wellbeing or onward housing. We send out further helpful information in our regular newsletters and our team are available to help with any queries or concerns that arise.

The government offers a monthly Thank you payment for each property where guests are hosted. In guests’ first year this is £350 per month, when Ukrainian guests have lived in UK for more than 12 months the payment to whoever is hosting them goes up to £500. Hosts can ask guests to contribute a reasonable amount towards the utility bills.

Register to become a host

If you, or someone you know wish to sponsor, you can register your interest to host.

If you would like to find more about hosting you can read the latest government guidelines.

Frequently asked questions

What checks will council need to do?

We are required to carry out checks to make sure the property is suitable for hosting, and DBS and other safeguarding records checks on those living in the household to make sure the hosting arrangement will be safe for the guests. These are all free of charge.

Is there a reason why her current hosts do not wish to continue hosting?

The circumstances for each guest and sponsor are different. Some only commit for 6, 9 or 12 months and some had a change of circumstances. We encourage to chat with the current sponsors and find out as much as you can on how hosting went for them.

How do I know if I will get on with the potential guests?

You will be encouraged to meet with the potential guests either in your home or in your area and get to know each other. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions about the guests and find out as much as possible about their hobbies, jobs, preference etc. We have Welfare Officers that will visit you and your guests at home and check on how hosting is going and answer any questions you have. You will also be provided with a contact number and an email address to get in touch for any further advice.

What are the benefits in hosting?

Make use of your spare room(s) by not just offering a roof over someone’s head but also safety and security. Many Ukrainians who are fleeing need a safe space to call home in the coming months, and people to help them integrate within the local community. Simple things like showing how to use public transport can help your guest maintain a sense of freedom.

Are the potential guests financially independent?

Most guests are financial independent and either in receipt of Universal Credit or/and have a part/full time job. Each guest’s circumstances are different please talk to your Re-matching Co-ordinator to find out more.

What is their level of English?

Your guests might have a basic level of English or a more advanced one. This is again personal to their circumstances and experience. When guests register with Job Centre Plus, they have the opportunity to access ESOL (English as a Second Language) lesson in local colleges or libraries, they are held at weekly basis. They will need to access the lessons weekly, so a good idea is to find out what public transport they will use for that.

Do they have children and what education they have access to?

If guests have children they might be in one of the schools in your area or will be moving to one in your area. If you know the information about schools, ie. school buses, walking distance, any children in the neighbourhood that go to the same school, please feel free to share this with the guests.

Moving homes is an unsettling event in children’s life so having some information about the school it will help them cope with their worries. Some Ukrainian children will still access online education from Ukraine as well.

If the potential guests do not work yet what other things do they do during the day/week?

This will depend on their personal circumstances.  Guests who do not work yet may look for an employment or volunteering. Many will be independent and will already have some links with other Ukrainian guests in your area who will be able to advise, others will need some support in that. Local Councils will sometimes organise Job Fairs and Job Centre periodically send latest job adverts.

Will we be financially compensated for hosting someone, if so, what is the amount? 

The standard 'thank you payment' provided by the government is £350 per month for each accommodation provided.  In the situation when Ukrainian guests have lived in UK for more than 12 months the thank you payment to whoever is hosting them goes up to £500. These are the current amounts in Leicestershire. Hosts can ask the guest to contribute a reasonable amount towards the utility bills, but cannot charge rent.

Are we expected to cook for someone we host?

No, it all depends on your arrangements that you wish to put in place with your guests. There is no expectation to cook and buy food for them

For how long are we expected to host?

We are asking for a minimum 6-month commitment. If you are in the position to extend further or not, talk to your guests at least 2 months before the end of the initial date given and let them know.  Some guests may only be looking for hosting for a shorter period.  Thank you payments are available for hosts up to the end of guests’ second year in this country.

Will my guests receive any support towards independent living? 

Yes, we have housing options officers in our team and offer regular drop-in support sessions in local areas where the guests will have support and a tailored pathway to help them towards renting privately.

It is worth mentioning that we also offer housing related financial advice (explaining Universal Credit, expected bills and other costs), provide practical support (with viewings and form fillings and setting up accounts with energy providers if necessary) and follow up visits to ensure guests are settled and stable.

Why does the council need to carry out a welfare visit?

We carry out welfare visits to ensure our guests are fully informed of their rights and entitlements, options of support and future opportunities. We also want to ensure placements are working well, and address any further queries or concerns from hosts or guests.