Charity concerned over lack of sponsors for Ukrainians arriving in UK

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By Euronews
Nataliia Parkhomenko with her sponsor.
Nataliia Parkhomenko with her sponsor.   -   Copyright  DANIEL LEAL/AFP

Since the war in Ukraine began more than 146,000 Ukrainians have found a temporary home in the UK.

Nataliia Parkhomenko came to the country with her two sons through a sponsorship scheme which relies on the good will of strangers to house them for at least six months.

"Now I live here and I'm happy to be here. I'm lucky to have found a really nice woman. She helps me, she's like my mum," Parkhomenko said. 

But others have not been so lucky. Some local authorities have had to step in to help 2,175 Ukrainian families in England to avoid them ending up on the streets.

And 45% of people have had problems finding the money to be able to rent accommodation. 

Ellada, an architect from Kyiv, is one of those who has struggled to pay rent.

"Single women like me, either don't work or work but earn a minimum wage that doesn't allow them to fully cover rent, and in this case they either obtain homeless status and trust in the state," she said. 

"Or they try to find a new sponsor, which is now almost impossible, or they decide to leave England forever and return to Ukraine."

While there was an initial wave of public interest in housing Ukrainians at the start of the war, the number of sponsors has since dropped.

Now there are reportedly only 30 sponsorship offers for every 1,800 requests.

"There aren't very many sponsors left, one way or the other," said Stan Benes, a trustee for the Opora charity, a group that works with Ukrainian refugees.

"It's not even to say that there was some downward slope in interest, there was a lot of interest at the beginning. And a lot of those people took people in. Since then, there haven't been that many people coming forward unfortunately, for various reasons."

Adding to the problem is the country's cost of living crisis which continues to deepen with a knock-on effect on the cost of housing people, potentially leaving refugees in desperate need out in the cold

Additional sources • AFP