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Hertfordshire County Council
Ukraine flag colours (blue and gold)

 

Ukraine sponsors

Thank you for generously supporting the Homes For Ukraine scheme in Hertfordshire.

Upcoming events for sponsors

Information for Ukrainian guests

 

Getting started

There are certain key actions that your guests need to take as soon as possible after their arrival – check the Welcome! Guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK.

Homes for Ukraine: sponsor guidance (GOV.UK) – includes responsibilities and how sponsors may support their guests.

Once all your checks have been completed, we'll contact you to arrange your monthly £350 thank you payments (if required).

If your guests leave your home for any reason, do let us know immediately.

 

Let us know your guests have arrived

Until we have been notified of your guests’ arrival, we can’t proceed with their £200 subsistence payment

Email H4Ukraine@hertfordshire.gov.uk once your guests have arrived to confirm:

  • their full names and dates of birth
  • the date their visas were issued
  • the date they arrived at your home.

We’ll make a £200 payment (per person) once you have informed us of your guest arrival. These payments will be in the form of Post Office vouchers which don't require a bank account to use. A unique code will be sent to the email used by your guest in their Homes for Ukraine application. They can then visit any Post Office branch to scan the code and receive the cash payment. Find a Post Office

Accommodation

 

Many Ukrainian guests have now been living in Hertfordshire for almost 6 months and will be looking to the future and their longer-term housing arrangements

The main options for accommodation beyond the 6 months are:

  • continue with their original host sponsor

  • find a new host sponsor

  • get their own private rented accommodation. 

 

There's currently a shortage of affordable housing in Hertfordshire. This will affect options available and most guests will find it extremely challenging to find affordable private rented accommodation within the area that they are currently settled in.

The reality is that living with a host is likely to be the best, most affordable option (and in many cases, the only option).

 

Changing from the Homes for Ukraine scheme to becoming a landlord

Under the Homes of Ukraine scheme, you can't charge your guests rent.   However, it is possible to change the arrangement with your guests so they become a tenant and pay rent.

If you do this, you will no longer be part of the Homes For Ukraine scheme and your £350 payments will stop. There will also be implications for you and your guest.

 

What hosts need to do if their sponsorship is coming to an end

Some current host sponsorship arrangements may need to come to an end for a variety of reasons, and new accommodation will need to be found.

Government guidance states that, wherever possible, hosts should provide 2 months’ notice to guests when ending hosting arrangements. 

If hosting is finishing, email h4ukraine@hertfordshire.gov.uk with the following information:

  • full name and address of host

  • full names of all guests

  • reason for requesting a re-match – including any issues or concerns

  • date hosting will finish

  • details of education settings that any children attend

  • location of any employment that guests have

  • any other useful information about the guests that will help with re-matching, for example level of English, employment status, hobbies and interests, any local connections or support networks they have.

Moving to a lodging arrangement

Hosts and guests may wish to consider moving to a ‘lodging arrangement’ either after the initial 12 month period ends. Switching to a lodging arrangement is likely to offer sponsors a longer-term and increased income stream.

For many guests, this will also be an affordable option as it will either be more affordable than private rented accommodation or, if they get Universal Credit, they would become eligible for housing benefit.

Sponsors and guests should have an open and honest conversation before putting any arrangement in place. Guests and hosts will need to consider:

 

What a lodging arrangement is 

  • It's a commercial arrangement where the sponsor charges rent to the guest and, in return, the guest has access to a room or certain, specified parts of the home. 
  • It's governed by a lodging agreement also known as a residential licencing agreement. 
    When to use a Licence To Occupy or a Tenancy Agreement (including templates) 

    What is a licence? (Shelter England)

  • Legally, a lodging arrangement is different from a landlord / tenant arrangement – it has fewer legal considerations. A sponsor who converts to a lodger / landlord arrangement would have no additional legal constraints beyond what's in place under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. 
  • If the guest is getting Universal Credit (whether in work or not), there are limits on the number of rooms a person is entitled to rent as a ‘licensee’ or ‘lodger’. It depends on the number and ages of their family group. For example, a single parent with one child aged 10-15 would be entitled to rent 2 bedrooms under this arrangement, whereas as couple with no children would be entitled to rent 1 room. Calculate how many bedrooms you're eligible for.

 

Implications for sponsors

  • The sponsor / host would become a landlord and would be required to put a lodging arrangement in place.
  • The landlord would get monthly rental payments. These would generally be higher than the £350 thank you payments that hosts receive in the first 12 month period after a guest has arrived in the country.
  • The host would leave the Homes for Ukraine Scheme so monthly thank you payments and any associated Homes4Ukraine support would stop. Currently, the thank you payments expire 12 months after guests’ arrival.  You'd need to decide how much rent to charge and what it covers (fuel, food, laundry etc). Rent would mean an income stream beyond the first 12 months.
  • No tax is payable on rental income under this arrangement unless it exceeds £7,500 per year (roughly £625 per month). If you earn more than this under the lodging arrangement, you must complete a tax return.
    The Rent a Room Scheme (GOV.UK)
  • Becoming a landlord can impact Council Tax reductions you might currently get (for example, a single person discount). Speak to your local district or borough council about this. 
  • If you get Council Tax support (for example, if you're on a low income), then this will be affected but the lodger would be expected to pay a ‘non-dependent contribution’ to make up for the loss of Council Tax support.  See Help with Council Tax
  • There are different requirements for houses in multiple occupation, where a house is rented by more than 3 tenants who are not from 1 household (family) and they share toilet, bathroom and kitchen facilities. Private renting: Houses in multiple occupation

 

Sponsors' benefits

If the host / landlord is in receipt of benefits, there may be some implications when changing to a lodging arrangement:

  1. If a host is currently receiving housing benefit, this would be impacted if they were to start to receive rent from a lodger.
  1. If a host is in receipt of Universal Credit or pension credit, there would be no impact unless they were running a commercial ‘lodging house’. 
  1. There is no impact on any State pension, Employment and Support Allowance, disability benefits, carers allowance or bereavement benefits that you receive.  

 

Implications for guests

  • The lodger will be required to pay rent each week / month once the arrangement is in place. However, no deposit or advance rent is payable by the lodger (unlike with private rented accommodation). 
  • This option will enable guest to stay in the area where they have settled and experience less disruption employment and schooling, something which may be less likely if they move to private rented accommodation.
  • It's likely the cheapest rental option in Hertfordshire, considering the lack of affordable housing in the private rental sector and shortage of social housing. 
  • The guest will no longer part of Homes for Ukraine Scheme but will still be able to access local and government support and services. 
  • If the lodger is out of work, the rent would be taken into account for any existing Universal Credit payment.
  • If the lodger is in work, they may have previously been told that their income is too high to get Universal Credit as a top-up to wages. But adding rent to what the lodger needs to live on may bring them within scope of Universal Credit.
  • The lodger will be expected to pay a small contribution towards any Council Tax support that the landlord gets, possibly making up the single person discount that some landlords will be receiving. This discount wasn’t affected by the Homes for Ukraine scheme but is affected by having a lodger. Speak to your local district or borough council about this.

 

Guests' benefits 

Switching to a lodging arrangement impacts any Universal Credit claim the guest / lodger might be making. 

It's worth remembering that Universal Credit is not just for people who are out of work and even guests / lodgers who are in employment may be eligible to claim Universal Credit.
Citizens Advice: Universal Credit  
Universal Credit: Money Advice Unit factsheet 

Universal Credit is made up of 3 elements: 

  1. Personal allowance for parents and children 
  2. Housing costs (rent) 
  3. Specialist elements, for example, carer or disability.

Whilst in the Homes for Ukraine scheme guests do not receive any housing costs element of Universal Credit as they don’t have rent to pay. If a lodging arrangement is put in place, guests may become entitled to the housing costs element of Universal Credit. This could make this arrangement more affordable for the guest / lodger than more expensive privately rented accommodation. 

The Local Housing Allowance sets the upper limit that can be included as housing costs in the calculation of Universal Credit in each area. The Local Housing Allowance varies by area (NB: these areas don’t exactly match local council boundaries).   

Search for Local Housing Allowance rates by postcode or local authority : DirectGov - LHA Rates (voa.gov.uk)

These are the monthly maximums that the DWP would be willing to meet as the housing costs element of Universal Credit.  

Broad Market Rental Areas

 Single room 1 bed 2 bed 3 bed 4 or more

Aylesbury

£341.49 

£674.99 

£800

£1,049.98 

£1,399.99

Chilterns

£389.99 

£749.99 

£974.98 

£1,249.99 

£1,650.02 

Harlow and Stortford

£332.41 

£720.01

£899.99

£1,124.98

£1,300.01

Luton

£341.49

£625.02

£775.02

£974.98

£1,150.01

North West London

£491.49

£1,000.01

£1,249.99

£1,549.99

£1,849.99

Outer North East London

£441.52

£899.99

£1,150.01

£1,375.01

£1,730.01

Outer North London

£491.49

£1,069.97

£1,300.01

£1,600

£1,900

South East Herts

£356.48

£749.99

£925.01

£1,199.98

£1,399.99

South West Herts

£416.49

£800

£1,000.01

£1,300.01

£1,699.99

Stevenage and North Herts

£341.49

£674.99

£850.02

£1,049.98

£1,300.01

The single room figure only applies to single, childless people under 35. 

Individuals should discuss the impact on their Universal Credit claim with their Job Centre Plus work coach before entering into a lodging arrangement. 

Although expenses are going up because of the rent, a lodger won’t necessarily be worse off than under Homes for Ukraine if they aren't working, because rent (up to the Local Housing Allowance level) will be met within a revised Universal Credit payment.

If a person is working and moves into rented accommodation of any kind, they will be expected to meet some or all the rent from their wages, possibly with help from Universal Credit. It will help if the rent is kept as low as possible – most private tenants are charged far more than the Local Housing Allowance figure and have to meet the extra themselves.

Understanding trauma

It's common for people who have fled a war zone to respond and act in ways that they would not normally do because of the impact of the trauma they have experienced. Not everyone fleeing from conflict will experience trauma and, if they do, the impact will vary. However, as it can affect day-to-day life, it's worth understanding a little about it.

For some sponsors, an improved understanding will help you to better support your guests. For others who are currently struggling to communicate with or understand their guests’ behaviour, having an insight into what is going on underneath might prevent or ease some tension in the house.

People living with trauma can experience anxiety, fear, irritability, guilt, shame, repeated re-experiencing of past events, mood swings and difficulty in regulating emotions. Concentration levels, judgement, and decision-making skills may also be affected. Often the coping mechanism for trauma is hyperarousal where the body’s nervous system is stuck in overdrive and they may have an exaggerated startle response, sometimes leading to angry outbursts.

Other coping mechanisms include avoidance and numbing, leaving people feeling disconnected and in disbelief. Many guests arrive and spend a lot of time in their rooms sleeping, in a ‘sitting staring at a wall’ type state, or are more generally unable to engage with their sponsors. For hosts who are new to dealing with people who have experienced trauma, this can understandably be misinterpreted as rude or lazy.

The main thing that will help you and them to navigate through these responses, is to take a step back and think about what might be going on for the guest. Try to stay calm as you work through any issues together.

Approaches that you can employ that will help include:

  • predictability – this allows the person to feel safer
  • perspective – being aware when the past is intruding into the present for your guest.
  • space and patience – allowing the person time to calm down and take perspective, which can take longer for a person who has experienced trauma
  • language – be cautious about using phrases such as ‘over-reacting’ or ‘over-sensitive’.

 

Your guest may want to talk about their experiences and you may feel worried about how to handle this. No one is expecting you to become an expert counsellor, or even to have these conversations if you are not keen. But if you do talk about their experiences, it will help to give your guest plenty of time. Let them talk at their own pace and try not to pressure or rush them. Focus on listening and try to respect what they are choosing to share, rather than asking lots of questions. Try to accept their feelings and allow them to be upset about what has happened. Adopt the language that they use, for example, it is their choice whether to talk about they feel like a ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’. Try not to dismiss their experiences, even in a well-meaning way, such as by telling them not to worry. Avoid blaming or criticising their reactions, even if you wonder why they didn’t do something differently or reacted in a way that you do not agree with. The reality is that they survived how ever they could at the time and, to some extent, are still trying.

The Flourish service, provided by the Mind Hertfordshire Network, can provide emotional and practical support for guest and hosts who may be finding the process more difficult than they anticipated. They can also provide information about local services, community resources, help with relationship breakdowns, and support with understanding and responding to cultural differences between guests and hosts.

Other practical support includes assistance and support with:

  • Emotional wellbeing
  • How to improve your health and wellbeing
  • Support with job applications
  • Help to reduce episodes of crisis
  • Support with relationships with hosting families
  • Drug and alcohol support
  • Weekly peer support groups

 

About the Flourish service including how to get their help. Alternatively, you can call 0203 727 3600 to speak to a representative of Mind in confidence.

 

Upcoming events for sponsors

Wednesday 23 Nov 2022, 7–8pm. Webinar: Homes for Ukraine Scheme in Hertfordshire. 
A no obligation information session for anyone in Hertfordshire who may be considering becoming a sponsor.

Register for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme in Hertfordshire webinar

 

Monday 5 Dec 2022, 6–7.15pm. Webinar: Cybercrime, fraud, modern slavery and human trafficking.
Countering manipulation, exploitation and grooming within refugee communities. For existing sponsors and guests. There will be live interpreting during the session.

Register for the Cybercrime, fraud, modern slavery and human trafficking webinar 

 

Tuesday 13 Dec 2022, 6:30pm – 8pm. Webinar: Making the most of your hosting experience
This webinar, delivered in partnership with colleagues from the Association of Family Therapists, is suitable for new and established hosts. It will cover first steps to take when your guest/s arrives as well as information on building good relationships with your Ukrainian guests.

Register for the Homes for Ukraine – Making the most of your hosting experience webinar

 

 

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