Havering Council – Information regarding Ukrainian refugees

As well as a request for information on any council finances relating to Russia (see previous post), Cllr Gillian Ford, the Havering Residents Association (H.R.A) chairman, also asked what provisions were being made by Havering Council with regard to Ukrainian refugees. She received the following reply – 

Dear Cllr Ford

Thanks for this. We have now discussed as the Senior Leadership Team

There is as yet no government guidance specifically for local authorities at the moment, no doubt because of the fast moving and very distressing unfolding of events in Ukraine itself. London Councils on behalf of all London LA’s is in urgent liaison with the Home Office and the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities at present, to clarify what and when action will be required of us, and for us to alert back to London Councils if we have anyone present to us as in need of assistance, ahead of guidance being clarified.

The primary focus at present has been on sorting the visa and entry arrangements which as you will know from the news, has started with extended family members of British Nationals and of those who have settled status in the UK (such as EU nationals who were required to regularise their status ahead of the UK leaving the EU). We are still waiting on guidance as to whether things such as recourse to public funds etc will apply.

As soon as a clear role for local government is announced we will of course play our part, as this devastating crisis continues to unfold. We are likely to be asked to support with resettling individuals and families into their own new homes, rather than matching residents with spare rooms that want to help and offer board to Ukrainian refugees .

For the residents who seeking to assist with an offer of a room in their home, there is unlikely to be any role for local government, as this is a complex area, particularly the care required in matching hosts and guests, and how to manage things where for example the relationship between host and guest breaks down.

There are specialist charities that work with people who wish to for example offer a room in their property –

Refugees At Home 

Room for Refugees 

Ongoing outreach for the host and the placed individual is a key component to these what these charities do, as is an onboarding process for new hosts, and a matching process with potential guests.

AirBNB is also seeking new hosts to support people fleeing Ukraine – See Airbnb.org – Get Involved

Your residents may wish to explore these options in order to host someone from Ukraine, certainly the two charities do offer the additionality of ongoing support for host and guests that could make it an attractive option. And there are other ways to help too set out on their websites.

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