Home Children and Young People Hosts needed for Ukrainian families
A family smile for the camera at Christmas

Hosts needed for Ukrainian families

by Comms Team

It’s been a year since the Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched. As the war continues, the people of Ukraine still need our help as they find their feet here in the UK, and Knowsley Council appeals to residents, asking more of them to open their doors and their hearts.

Last March, Knowsley’s communities joined the rest of the UK in welcoming more than 116,000 Ukrainians to transform the lives of those who have fled the war, by offering a place to live.

Michael O’Hara from Huyton was one such resident. Michael welcomed Svitlana, who came to the country with her family shortly after the war started. Svitlana brought her sons David (10), Daniel (6) and her parents. Michael said:

“When I saw the horror of what was happening in Ukraine, I opened up my doors as soon as I saw the call out for sponsors. I couldn’t wish for a nicer family to host, and it’s gone from strength to strength. I’d urge anyone, if you have a room in your home to find room in your heart. Hosting Svitlana and her family has been the best thing in the world, and I now have other friends who are thinking of welcoming someone.

“I lived here alone but we’ve all gelled really well, and the kitchen has never been so alive! It’s a family home now. I don’t regret a single thing- I have made friends for life.”

The Homes for Ukraine Scheme is organised and funded by central government and Knowsley Council’s re-settlement team help ensure the Ukrainian citizens are given the best chance of settling into their new lives.

If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, you can find further details here https://apply-to-offer-homes-for-ukraine.service.gov.uk/

Things to consider before hosting or sponsoring

Hosting or sponsoring people from another country is a big commitment. Ask yourself if your property has:

  • Enough space to live comfortably
  • Easy access to affordable public transport
  • Shops and restaurants nearby
  • Employment opportunities in the area
  • Schools and education facilities nearby
  • Opportunities to socialise in the area

It can be a very rewarding experience, but there are some important things you should think about before agreeing to host include:

  • Extra household costs with more people living in your home
  • Communicating with guests who don’t speak your first language fluently
  • Changes in your household when sharing your home with guests
  • Differences in living habits, including household tasks and eating preferences
  • Deciding on boundaries and how you want to live together

Knowsley’s Council’s resettlement team can organise meeting with a guest first to find out more about them and their needs, and to be clear about the terms of the accommodation arrangements.


Will I be compensated for hosting a family?
If you are a host as part of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, you are eligible for an optional ‘thank you payment’ of £350 per month. This payment is tax free and should not affect your entitlement to benefits or Council Tax status. Find out more here www.gov.uk/government/collections/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guides

What happens if the offer of sponsorship breaks down?
If for any reason you need to end the sponsorship arrangement early, Sponsors should inform the  council by emailing: refugee.resettlement@knowsley.gov.uk

If your Guests require emergency housing, please contact us as soon as possible.

How long do they have to stay for?
Sponsors should have an end date in mind and work with Guests to agree this and support them in seeking alternative accommodation to move into when that date arrives.

Guests can stay from 6 months to 2 years (payments increase to £500 per month when your guest has been in the UK for 12 months).

Who is responsible for supporting guests with access to healthcare, employment, education etc?
Sponsors are asked to provide help and Knowsley Council’s resettlement team can help too.

What checks will be undertaken by Knowsley Council?
It is critical that we welcome families to Knowsley safely, in a way that protects everyone from harm by making sure we have the checks and safeguards in place for both those fleeing the conflict and those opening their homes to people they don’t know. To help us achieve this, we will be undertaking a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check as well as undertaking checks against information we hold about you, including through Children’s Social Care and Adult Social Care. We will also be undertaking a visit is to ensure your accommodation and living arrangements are suitable for your Guests. During this visit, we would kindly ask that all areas of your property are made available to the local Council’s Representative.

How do Potential Sponsors register their interest for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme?
Potential Sponsors will record their interest with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) via the Government Portal (www.gov.uk). On receipt of this expression of interest, DLUHC will contact the Potential Sponsor. The Sponsor should make their own arrangements to be matched with a Guest from Ukraine before supporting the submission of a Visa Application to the Home Office.

If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, you can find further details here https://apply-to-offer-homes-for-ukraine.service.gov.uk/

Pictured above: Michael O’Hara (far left) with Svitlana (centre) and her family.