Hosts of Ukrainian guests in Oxfordshire who are part of the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme will soon benefit from an increase in monthly support payments from £350 to £550 from 1 December 2022
The decision has been made by the county’s partnership of six councils – Oxfordshire County Council; the district councils – Cherwell, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse, West Oxfordshire; and Oxford City Council – to financially help support existing hosts as a result of the cost of living crisis and to encourage new hosts to step forward.
Leaders of the six councils, Councillor Liz Leffman (Oxfordshire County Council), Councillor Barry Wood (Cherwell District Council), Councillor Susan Brown (Oxford City Council), Councillor David Rouane (South Oxfordshire District Council), Councillor Emily Smith (Vale of White Horse District Council) and Councillor Andy Graham (West Oxfordshire District Council) agreed the following statement:
“As a partnership, we have been working together since the start of the war in Ukraine to respond to the crisis and support refugees coming into the county. All households across the county are facing financial pressures currently. It is hoped that the increase in payment will help existing hosts commit to continuing their partnership arrangements as they reach the six-month mark and enable new hosts to volunteer.
“We’ve been asking guests and hosts who are coming up to this six-month point about their plans. We know and understand that personal circumstances have changed for some, but it is also the case that social and private housing supply in Oxfordshire remains very limited and expensive.
“That is why we want to support existing arrangements wherever possible – they give guests the stability and security they need as they plan their next steps.”
The payment increase will be funded using the £10,500 the government is providing to the county council to support every guest.
The increase will be from November 2022 until March 2023 and will be payable in arrears from the 1 December 2022. It will be paid into bank accounts as a separate payment and will only apply when people host for more than half a full month. The increase will not be subject to tax and will not affect entitlement to any benefits.
Existing hosts or potential new hosts can find out more about the scheme and support available online at oxfordshire.gov.uk/ukraine, by phoning +44 1865 966444 / 01865 966444 (8.45am - 5pm, Monday to Friday) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone who would like to register an interest in hosting can visit gov.uk.
They can also contact the city councils for any housing and community support queries.