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Europe News

Charity concerned about lack of sponsors for Ukrainians arriving in UK

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, more than 146,000 Ukrainians have found temporary homes in the UK.

Nataliia Parkhomenko arrived in the country with her two sons through a sponsorship program that relies on the goodwill of foreigners 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 mother,” Parkhomenko said.

But others weren’t so lucky. Some local authorities had to intervene to help 2,175 Ukrainian families in England to prevent them from ending up on the streets.

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

Ellada, an architect from kyiv, is among those struggling to pay their rent.

“Single women like me either don’t work, or work but earn a minimum wage that doesn’t allow them to fully cover the rent, and in that case, they either get homeless status and trust in the State,” she said.

“Either they try to find a new sponsor, which is now almost impossible, or they decide to leave England forever and go back 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 plummeted.

From now on, there would only be 30 sponsorship offers for 1,800 requests.

“There aren’t many sponsors left, one way or another,” said Stan Benes, trustee of the charity Opora, a group that works with Ukrainian refugees.

“It doesn’t even mean there was a downward slope in interest, there was a lot of interest at the start. And a lot of those people took in people. Since then there hasn’t been a lot of people who unfortunately came forward, for various reasons.”

Adding to the problem is the country’s continuing cost of living crisis with a ripple effect on people’s housing costs, potentially leaving refugees in desperate need out in the cold.

euronews Gt

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