In March, the government announced plans to give UK households £350 a month if they open their homes to those fleeing Ukraine through a scheme called ‘Homes for Ukraine’.

So far, over 4.1m people have fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations, and since the Homes for Ukraine scheme launched, 150,000 Brits have already expressed interest in taking part and helping.

The scheme allows UK households to nominate Ukrainian individuals or families to stay in their home, or a second home if they own one, rent free for a minimum of six months. In addition, by being part of the scheme Ukrainian refugees will be granted three years leave to remain, so they can work, claim benefits and access public services such as the NHS during this period. There is currently no cap on the number of people that can take part in the scheme.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme is the latest government proposal to help Ukrainian refugees, as the initial government proposal, the Ukraine Family Scheme, only allowed immediate and extended family members of British nationals, people settled in the UK, and certain other residents, to come to the UK.

The government launched the Homes for Ukraine website on Monday 14 March, where households and organisations can record their interest for the scheme. 

How the Homes for Ukraine scheme works​

The scheme is designed to offer a route for any Ukrainian refugees who want to come to the UK to be provided with a home. Individuals, charities, community groups and businesses are able to sign up as ‘sponsors’ to provide appropriate accommodation for a minimum of six months.

Anyone in the UK with appropriate accommodation is able to take part in the scheme and will be paid £350 in recognition of the costs they might incur. The information on the scheme is being updated frequently, with the government recently clarifying exactly what appropriate accommodation is deemed as. The list seems extensive, and while many people will likely keep their homes in a good state of repair, you might have to make a few changes to make sure you meet the criteria. The list of requirements currently includes:

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There should be enough space for the number of people you are prepared to accommodate

Individuals who don’t know each other should not be offered a room to share and two people should not be in one room unless they are:

  • adult cohabiting partners
  • a parent and child
  • two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10
  • two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10.

Provide a basic standard of living and security

Although the detail is scarce, the outline asks that your property have an adequate kitchen and bathroom space for the number of people you intend to accommodate, access to drinking water, heating to maintain a comfortable temperature, which is around 18℃ according to the World Health Organisation, be almost entirely free of damp or mould and have windows and doors at entry-level that lock properly. With the soaring cost of living, it’s worth considering the impact maintaining these levels might have on your bills and whether the £350 thank you money will help cover the extra cost.

Be in good condition with relevant health and safety measures in place

Most people shouldn’t have too much trouble meeting the requirement that the accommodation should be kept clean and be in a reasonable state, but you might need to get someone in to meet the health and safety measures which outline that you must have:

  • Working smoke detectors on every floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building e.g. fire doors or escape routes as appropriate. You can find the government information on how to make your home safe from fire here.
  • Working carbon monoxide detectors in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire o wood-burning stove).
  • Safe gas appliances, fittings and flues and have undertaken a Gas Safety check within the last year. This is something that most landlords will be familiar with but is not usually something residential homeowners would undertake. You can read more about Gas Safety Checks here.
  • Have safe and working electrics. There isn’t more information than this, with the government suggesting you contact a qualified electrician if you are unsure. It doesn’t appear that you need to provide any certification, but if you live in an older property, you have that one light that flickers on plugs that don’t work, then you might want to get someone in to have a look.
  • A home that is easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm.

You do not need to own your home to be eligible for the scheme, but if you are renting, it’s essential to get your landlord’s approval (preferably in writing) before you commit to the scheme. The expectation is that if you sponsor someone you only need to provide accommodation and not meals, but it is entirely up to you if you want to feed them as well.

Security and safeguarding checks will be carried out on both the sponsors and those arriving from Ukraine, as well as on all adults living in the sponsoring households. Your local council will also check the suitability of the accommodation you are offering.

How to register to host someone through Homes for Ukraine

If you already have the name of someone, or a family that you want to provide accommodation for, then you will need to prepare to fill in a visa application with both your details and theirs. The visa application process went live on 18 March and you can apply online at

For those who don’t already have the name of someone to sponsor, you have a couple of options. The government is currently recommending that those looking for someone to sponsor should contact the various charities, faith groups or community organisations who are organising the matching process, connecting sponsors with people who want to come to the UK. The other option is to register your interest through a form, again onn , which asks you who you would like to offer accommodation to (single adults, multiple adults or adults with children), what type of space you have available, whether your property has step free access, how many single or double rooms you have, where you are based as well as some personal details. Once you’ve registered your interest you will be contacted by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) about your interest, although it’s not clear what will come after this, so if you want to offer someone somewhere to stay now, the first option may be faster.

Once you’ve been paired with someone and you’ve successfully gone through the application process you will be given a support pack.

During the process the DLUHC will carry out checks on you and on the people seeking to come to the UK, including the standard of accommodation which may include a visit to your home. These checks will include Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) on all adults living in the property you are offering . If you have agreed to host a family with children, you will need to go through an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check with Barred Lists check.

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What else do you need to consider when taking part in the Homes for Ukraine scheme?

There have been a number of questions raised concerning the practicalities of the scheme and the impact it might have. Here are some of the key questions answered.

Can anyone be a sponsor?

There are a few eligibility criteria that you will need to meet to be a sponsor, including you must:

  • Be based in the UK with at least six months permission to remain in the country.
  • Be able to provide a form of identity such as UK or Irish passport or passport card, a biometric residence permit or card, a refugee travel document, a UK or Irish-issued driving licence, or one issued in Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man.
  • Confirm you can accommodate someone for at least six months.

As we mention above, on top of meeting the above criteria, you and all other adults living in the home where you are offering accommodation will need to pass the relevant screening processes, depending on who you are offering to host.

Will being part of the scheme mean you lose your council tax discount?

The government has said that taking part in the scheme will not affect any council tax discounts you currently have, and that the ‘thank you’ money you receive will also not affect any discounts you get.

Are there any insurance or mortgage implications?

There might be some insurance implications to consider when taking part in the scheme, depending on your situation:

If you are a homeowner you shouldn’t need to worry about contacting your insurer, but you may want to do so for peace of mind that you’ll be covered. The Association of British Insurers has issued a statement saying that if you own your home and want to take part in the scheme, you do not need to inform your insurer and your cover will remain the same. This applies for the first 12 months of any refugees living with you, including when your policy is due for renewal. After 12 months, if any refugees are still living with you, then you should tell your insurer when you next renew your policy.

If you have a mortgage on your property, you will need to contact your mortgage lender to inform them of your plans and they will let you know if there are any policies that prohibit your participation or that you need to abide by. While the government is working with lenders to ease this process, and lenders have committed to enabling as many borrowers as possible to participate in the scheme, not all borrowers will receive an automatic yes to being part of the scheme.

If you are renting your home, as mentioned, you must get approval from your landlord before applying for the scheme.

What happens after the scheme?

By volunteering to sponsor someone through the scheme, you are committing to host someone for at least six months. After this period of time, you have two options, either continue hosting them, if you both want to do so, or end the arrangement.

If you want to end the arrangement, you should give them reasonable notice (currently a minimum of two months) so they can make other arrangements and move out. Ukrainian people on this scheme have access to public funds and services during their time in the UK so will be able to rent like anyone else. If they are still in need of support, local authorities can help them to find other accommodation.

The government has provided answers to more questions on their FAQ page.

Further support for the people of Ukraine

While this scheme will hopefully help tens of thousands of Ukrainian Refugees, The Refugee Council has suggested that there is still considerably more that the UK government could be doing to support the people of Ukraine and has urged them to waive the visa requirements for the people of Ukraine, a sentiment that has also been supported by the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales.

Support for Ukrainian refugees is building across the country and a group of over 45 UK-based companies have joined forces to offer them paid employment once they arrive in the UK, including Marks and Spencer, Asos, Lush and Sainsburys.

If you are looking for more ways to support the people of Ukraine, have a look at our article How to help the people of Ukraine.

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