Advice for confirmed sponsors
If you've been confirmed as a sponsor via the Homes for Ukraine scheme, you may have questions about supporting your guests.
Making sure your home is suitable
All accommodation will be different and while there is no set expectation, your accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards. You should make sure your home is safe for your guests and that it is in a suitable condition.
You should also consider how many people you can accommodate so they have enough space.
2 people should not be in one room unless they are:
- adult cohabiting partners
- a parent and child
- 2 siblings of the same gender if aged over 10
- 2 siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10
Individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room.
We ask that accommodation:
- be kept clean and in a reasonable state
- have adequate kitchen and bathroom space
- have access to drinking water
- have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building, for example, fire doors or escape routes as appropriate (further information on making a home safe from fire
- have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (for example, a coal fire, wood burning stove)
- have enough heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature
- have safe gas appliances, fittings and flues and have undertaken a Gas Safety check within the last year
- have safe and working electrics, which a qualified electrician can help with if you are unsure;
- be almost entirely free of damp or mould
- have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly
- be easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm
Accommodation checks on properties
We will start to make appointments to check properties over the coming days.
We will prioritise properties where we know your guests have arrived or are arriving soon, based on the information we have from you.
During that visit we will verify the documents that we need for your DBS application – we will have sent you links for the applications in advance of the visit.
Welcoming your guest
If you are unable to meet your guest, you should provide them with instructions on how to reach you from their chosen point of arrival.
Your guests will be eligible for a single onward journey via national rail, light rail, bus and coach, free of charge to your destination anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales.
They will only need to show their Ukrainian passport and boarding pass or ticket showing arrival into the country within the last 48 hours.
For more information see the Ukrainian Displaced Persons Travel Scheme.
Factsheets and guides
Download factsheets and guides to help Ukrainians arriving in the UK:
Barnardo’s free helpline to support Ukrainian families
Following discussion with the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Barnardo’s has set up the Ukrainian Support Helpline - staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers. The helpline is available to anyone fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
Call the helpline free on 0800 148 8586 on:
- Monday to Friday (10am to 8pm)
- Saturday (10am to 3pm)
Helping your guest settle in
As a sponsor, the first thing to do will be to make sure guests are comfortable in their accommodation and set up with the basics. They should have enough food and essential supplies like toiletries and it’s worth checking they’ve got access to a mobile phone and the internet so they can stay in touch with family and friends.
Your guest is unlikely to be familiar with the layout of your local area or how to get around easily. Some practical advice on things like getting to and from your home, where the local shops are, and where to catch buses and trains will go a long way. As a sponsor, you’re not expected to provide transport for your guests throughout their stay.
It would be helpful to direct your guests to public services. For example, this could involve helping your guests to contact and register with a local GP and NHS dentist. Additional guidance on how to access public services can be found on the Gov.UK website.
Supporting and living with your guests
There is no minimum English level for Ukrainians coming under this scheme. Those arriving from Ukraine may want to access English as a second language classes.
You are only expected to offer accommodation.
However, there is nothing stopping sponsors offering meals should they wish. You will not be expected to cover the costs of food and living expenses (although you may wish to offer this philanthropically).
Every guest will be entitled to a £200 interim payment to help with subsistence costs which will be provided by West Northamptonshire Council.
You should help your guest(s) to adjust to life in the UK as much as you can. You should make sure they are comfortable in their accommodation, and that they have access to basics such as food, bedding and toiletries.
Your guest will be able to access support from your local council for instance for helping children access school places, as well as from Jobcentre Plus. It would be helpful if you could assist them in registering with a GP.
There may also be local voluntary groups who can offer support.
Please email [email protected] for assistance or more information.
The Government recognises that many people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine will not have been able to complete the full health preparations required for their pets, especially in relation to rabies.
Read more about emergency support for people bringing pets on Gov.UK.
The Government has put in place a new streamlined process for people bringing their pets from Ukraine. The Animal and Plant Health Agency will provide quick approvals and relevant quarantine arrangements, for which the Government will cover the costs.
Before arriving they or their carrier should contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency who will confirm their approval and will then organise any necessary stay in quarantine which is required to complete the rabies treatment process.
The maximum stay in quarantine for a pet which has received no rabies treatment is four months. Pets will be considered case by case, and those which have already received some treatment would spend less time in quarantine.
It’s recommended that you set a few clear expectations between you and your guests. As a sponsor you may want to draw up an agreement with your guests that sets a few ground rules, such as sharing use of common areas of the house, or concerning things like smoking, alcohol or noise.
When you want to bring this arrangement to an end, you can ask your guest(s) to leave by giving reasonable notice. As you will not be charging rent an assured shorthold tenancy is not created but if the arrangement changes from sponsorship to one where rent is charged, the position will be different.
If you have changed your mind or your circumstances have changed, please email [email protected] to advise the team and we will contact you for any more information if we need it.
If nothing more is required, we will remove your details from our database to ensure you are not contacted again in the future.
Finance, payments and benefits
To open a bank account in the UK guests will usually need to show proof of ID such as passport, biometric residency permit, driver’s licence or recognised identity card.
Some UK banks ask for proof of address although this is not required by law to open a bank account and the Government is working with them to encourage them to relax this requirement.
The following banks have information about setting up an account:
You should not charge any rent. We appreciate people’s generosity and do know there will be costs associated with helping out, and so the Government is providing an optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month to people who can accommodate one or more household (subject to the accommodation they have). This will be paid to you from West Northamptonshire Council.
The ‘thank you’ payment is limited to one payment per residential address. You will continue to receive payments for as long as you sponsor somebody and for up to 12 months. This payment will be made in arrears.
The UK government is ensuring ‘thank you payments’ do not affect benefit entitlement and will remain tax-free. Prior to payment, checks will be carried out which will include a visit to your home by West Northamptonshire Council officers.
Council tax discounts will not be affected if you sponsor and host a Ukrainian household in your home. As stated above, the Government is offering a £350 a month ‘thank you’ payment to all sponsors – this will not affect any council tax discounts.
The UK has a welfare system which is designed to help those who face financial hardship, or who have specific needs. All those from Ukraine coming to the country under the scheme will be able to seek and take up employment.
Your local Jobcentre Plus will be able to help you find out which benefits your guest may be able to access.
This may include:
- Universal Credit: a payment for those of working age, to help with your living costs if you’re on a low income - you could be working (including self-employed or part time) or be out of work
- Pension Credit: extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age which is 66 in the UK and on a low income
- Disability benefits: extra money to help with additional costs for those who have a long term physical or mental health condition or disability
- Carer’s Allowance: extra money if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week
- Child Benefit: extra money to help with the cost of raising a child
Our website has information on support to find a job.
The sponsorship scheme assumes no rent will be paid.
Where someone wishes to rent privately, or when the sponsorship ends, guests will have access to public funds and will be able to rent a property like anyone else. If they need to, they’ll be able to claim the housing part of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.
The UK Government has useful information on renting property on the Gov.UK website.
Find out how to claim for Universal Credit on Gov.UK.
Once the claim is started, the nearest Jobcentre will contact you to arrange an appointment. It is important to start the process quickly as the claim will only normally be paid from the date the claim is made.
If your guests need support with this process please email [email protected]. If your guests already have a resettlement support worker, they will help them with this if needed.
You do not need to:
- wait for a Biometric Residence Permit before starting the claim process
- open a bank account before claiming Universal Credit
- apply separately for a National Insurance Number if making a claim for Universal Credit
Last updated 20 January 2023