Shropshire Council

Homes for Ukraine scheme delays

18 May 2022 Last updated at 08:58

A message from Laura Fisher, the council's head of housing, resettlement and independent living.

Dear hosts for the Homes for Ukraine scheme

I know many hosts are frustrated with delays around the Homes for Ukraine scheme and I wanted to provide an update on work that we're doing, as well as the council’s responsibilities generally under the scheme. Councils have a large remit under the scheme, and have had to mobilise to meet these with limited notice. We have to date made 90+ payments for our Ukrainian guests, with more being made daily. We've prioritised these payments to ensure our guests have access to money whilst waiting for their universal credit claims to be agreed. We're actively working on the £350 gift payments for hosts.

Further to this, we continue to undertake DBS checks for anyone aged 16 or over in the host households, as well as property checks for each host property. The council is also liaising with schools regarding placements, as well as the CCG in regard to GPs and dentists. We also have a responsibility to undertake welfare checks on each host / guest arrival, and will be starting these imminently. Further to this we've commissioned Shropshire Supports Refugees to undertake support across the community and run the hubs in Shrewsbury town centre.

Previously, Shropshire Council has resettled 23 Syrian families within the Shropshire area. We've already exceeded this number of households as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and have an estimated 500+ Ukrainian individuals due to be resettling in Shropshire. We acknowledge that our current resettlement team requires more resource to meet the workload and responsibilities of the scheme, and are therefore actively looking to redeploy council staff, and also to recruit where necessary.

I know that you've all been extremely patient to date, and for that I'm very grateful. I can assure you all that I, and others working on the scheme, are trying our best to keep up with the various workstreams and to ensure that emails and calls are responded to as quickly as possible. We also acknowledge the need to get payments actioned, and this will be my focus over the next few days. Shropshire has been exceptional in its support for Ukraine, and we're expecting one of the largest cohorts nationally, which I feel is something to be extremely proud of.

Laura Fisher, head of housing, resettlement and independent living