Cheshire East Council is urging more householders, landlords and second home property owners to come forward and register their interest in the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
On the first anniversary of the unprovoked assault on Ukraine today (Friday 24 February) safe and secure homes are still needed, especially for Ukrainians already living in the borough, as well as for people still fleeing their homeland, as the horrors of the war in Ukraine continue.
To reduce the risk of homelessness for Ukrainians already living in the borough, there is an urgent need for new or existing sponsors to step in when an original sponsor placement cannot continue.
There are many benefits for Ukrainian guests to stay in the local community they have already settled in, so children can continue to go to the same school and keep their friends, guests can continue to build local community ties and support networks and, continue to go to the workplaces they have secured.
Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: "The Russian invasion of Ukraine last year has caused terrible destruction and we are still witnessing ongoing scenes of devastation and human sacrifice on our screens each day.
"Cheshire East will continue to stand alongside the Ukrainian people and, along with partners, offer all the support we can to help those now residing in Cheshire East or having to flee this unimaginable conflict in their homeland.
"We are inviting interest from Cheshire East residents who are able to provide sanctuary and a safe home as hosts, especially for those people already living in the borough who need to move on from when their initial sponsorship arrangement ends."
More than 100,000 Ukrainians have sought sanctuary in the UK through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and approximately 20 to 30 people a month are still coming into the borough looking for residents to open their home, such as a spare room or unoccupied residential self-contained unit.
Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: "Along with fellow councillors and council staff, we will be joining the national one-minute silence at 11.00am on Friday, marking a year since Russia's barbaric invasion of Ukraine.
"As a sign of our ongoing solidarity and to pay tribute to the bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian flag will be raised at our office buildings in Crewe, Sandbach and Macclesfield."
Anyone in the UK who has not been matched with a Ukrainian person or family can register their interest, if:
After the application has been completed and approved, the sponsor will be contacted by the council who will carry out:
Once the visa is granted, the refugees are free to travel to join their sponsor.
If you take part in the scheme, you will be asked to provide a home or a spare room rent-free for as long as you can, with a minimum stay of at least six months. In return, you can claim a payment of £350 per month or £500 if you can support current Ukrainian guests who have already been in the UK for more than twelve months.
If you are a landlord and have a property or properties to rent out, then the council can offer a financial incentive as a thank you to landlords who can help support Ukrainian guests, with guests also eligible for payments to help make the house a home. All properties will be subject to an inspection.
People arriving under this scheme from Ukraine, will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years and able to access healthcare, benefits, employment support, education, and English language tuition.
If you want to offer a home to Ukrainians already living in the borough or to those just arriving, you can become a sponsor as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Register your interest, by going to the Cheshire East Council support for the Ukrainian crisis web page at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ukraine firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0300 123 5034.
If you have a property to rent out to Ukrainian guests, then please email: email@example.com or phone 0300 123 5017 – Option 1.