Information for hosts

Thank you for applying to be a sponsor/host under the Government’s Homes for Ukrainians Scheme.

Now that you have signed up for the scheme

Safeguarding checks

The Council is required to carry out a check with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) on every person over 16 who will be living in accommodation offered to a Ukrainian guest.

There are two types of DBS check (Basic and Enhanced) and which one is required depends on whether you will be hosting children or vulnerable adults.

You or someone living with you may have undertaken a check previously. If you or they have a current DBS check and are registered for the update service, please provide the reference number(s) by emailing them to us. If anyone in the household does not have an appropriate current check and/or has not subscribed to the Update Service, they will need to complete a new DBS Check.   

Every adult in the household will receive an email which contains access details for our online system to enable them to complete their DBS application online and submit it electronically. If you don’t have access to complete this DBS check online we can provide paper forms but this will make the process much slower.  

Before completing the DBS Application Form you are required to have read the Standard and Enhanced check Privacy Policy. Please ensure that all the required fields are completed, in particular, a full and complete address history to cover the last 5 years. Once you have completed your part of the application online, you will all need to produce the relevant documents to us to verify your identity before we can submit the application for the check to be carried out.

Everyone who has completed the application should call 020 3045 4061 to arrange an appointment to complete the necessary process. We can meet everyone in your household at the same time or separately, whatever is more convenient.

The DBS Identity Document Checklist that will be provided details the original documents which will need to be provided in-person to complete the verification process. Each person being checked will need to bring these to the Civic Offices.

Checks that your accommodation is suitable

All accommodation will be different and while there are no set expectations, your accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards and suitable for the guests you intend to accommodate.

We also need to know the names, dates of birth and sex of all occupants of any age (including anyone who is living there for part of the time e.g. where children spend time with each parent or carer or students who may be away at college and return for holidays). This is so we can check that the proposed arrangements for sharing rooms meet government guidance.

Complete the People living in host accommodation form (PDF)

You will be contacted by a Council Officer so that accommodation checks can be carried out. Council Officers will always be happy to identify themselves and show their identity pass when they visit. They will only ask questions and carry out an inspection of your property as is necessary to meet the Government’s requirements.

When your guests arrive

We need you to confirm as soon as your guests have arrived at your accommodation.  

Please email HomesforUkrainians@bexley.gov.uk providing your name and address, the date your guests arrived and their names. This information is needed because sometimes the details are different from what is provided to us by Government.

Initial payment for your guests

Each of your guests is entitled to an initial payment of £200 that will be provided by the Council on a prepaid card with a PIN number.  

Your guests can collect this payment in person at the Civic Offices, 2 Watling Street, Bexleyheath, DA6 7AT during office hours (no appointment is needed). They will need to present their passport and the passport of any children. This payment is only available to guests under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

“Thank you" payment for Hosts

You have the option to receive a monthly payment of £350 for up to 12 months, paid in arrears, for as long as you are hosting your guests and provided that the accommodation provided is of a suitable standard. There can only be one payment per residential address. The payment will be paid providing all checks have been completed and will be tax-free and not affect any benefit entitlement.

If you wish to receive this payment, you will need to provide your bank information.

Apply to receive the "Thank you" payment (PDF)

You should then submit a claim at the end of each month that your guests are residents of your property. We will process the claim and pay you by the third week of the following month.

Complete the "Thank You" payment monthly claim form (PDF)

What if I decide not to proceed with hosting?

If you decide not to proceed it is important that you withdraw your application as quickly as possible and in any event before permission to travel is granted to anyone that you are matched with.

You should inform those that you are matched with that you wish to withdraw and also notify the Council.

You can withdraw your sponsorship by logging into the Homes for Ukraine website where you registered your interest in hosting. This will allow your potential guests to be rematched.

Other information

There is a range of support and advice for sponsors and your Ukrainian guests available on our website.

We are also identifying volunteers who will be able to support you and your guests to register for services and carry out tasks such as opening bank accounts, looking for work etc and helping your guests settle into life in Bexley.

The Government has also produced a Welcome Guide which may be of assistance to your guests.

Home fire safety visits

The London Fire Brigade would like to offer you a free home fire safety visit. They believe that successful firefighting starts with prevention. So they have introduced a service where they can visit you, a loved one or someone you care for at home to provide personalised advice about fire safety. It's totally free and available 24/7.

Home fire safety visits provide fire safety advice, this includes information on prevention, detection and escape. Free smoke alarms and specialist alarms (hard-of-hearing alarms) can also be fitted where needed all free of charge.

If you would like to book a home fire safety visit contact martin.cuthbert@london-fire.gov.uk or you can call freephone 0800 028 4428.

Things to consider when thinking about hosting

The generosity of the British public has been celebrated in the media and the government has expressed their delight that so many have come forward to support refugees under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

As of 20 April, 39,300 Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme visas had been issued and nearly 7,000 Sponsorship Scheme visa-holders had arrived in the UK, with many more expected in the coming weeks.

This is wonderful news, but it is just the beginning of the journey. As an agency with some experience in training those who support refugees in a range of contexts, we thought it might be helpful if we offered some insights to host families - and those supporting them.

So we address this to all of you who are hosting - and supporters of hosts

It may be that when you saw families fleeing Ukraine on your screens, your heart went out to them as you imagined what they were going through. Perhaps you thought that once they were safely in Britain, they would recover from their terrible ordeal - and you would help them to get on with their lives.

The reality may prove somewhat different

The war is still going on and some refugees’ trauma might be deepened at any time by a news bulletin or a message from home. The impact of this ongoing trauma on those living in a culture not their own, communicating in an unfamiliar language, may threaten to overwhelm even the strongest characters. We see that some Ukrainian families deal with this terrifying situation by holding on to whatever normality they can, proving to themselves and others that they are coping. So they may want to keep to their routines, trying to do things their way - whether it’s eating a meal late in the evening or scouring the shops for familiar foods. In some ways, the ideal living arrangement for many refugee families is likely to be more house-share than host and guest - but that parallel living may not be practical in your home. So, do ask at the outset about mealtimes and other routines, particularly for their children, so that there can be some collaborative planning and compromise, if necessary.

Those of you who pick up on your guests’ trauma may struggle emotionally yourselves; how do you deal with the stress of witnessing human suffering? Are you able to stay resilient, knowing that this is not your suffering but theirs and you are doing all you can to help? You may need to take ‘time out’ sometimes and do whatever it is that relaxes you (walking the dog, visiting a friend, some retail therapy - or join a Facebook group and talk with other hosts who might have similar experiences to yours).

If you are the sort of empathic person who is good at listening, then, by all means, make it clear to your Ukrainian guests that you are available and happy to listen - but put no pressure on them to share. It may be that they feel that the only way that they can hold their family safe and hang on to sanity is by keeping everything to themselves at this stage.

If you are still in the honeymoon period, where everyone is trying incredibly hard to be accommodating and meet each other’s expectations, the little issues and niggles which might compromise harmony in the home may well not have emerged. To avoid them happening, it might be helpful to draw up a guide to life in your home; such a guide might include, for example, the wi-fi password, what to do in an emergency, the time at night when your house is silent so that people can sleep, any necessary routines around using the bathroom, saving electricity etc.

Again, if you know of areas of potential tension early on, a hospitality breakdown is less likely to occur. What follows is in no particular order:

  • you are likely to have less quality time with your partner - if you have one - and your children may not want to share their toys or their space with another child. Be prepared for this and - regarding your children - negotiate in ways that are age-appropriate to reassure them of your love and attention.
  • you may well have underestimated the amount of responsibility you will need to take on and the time that is needed - for example, arranging schools, registering with a doctor etc.
  • Ukrainian culture doesn’t value ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ to the same degree that British culture does. So, requests may come across as quite brusque - ‘I want this,’ rather than, ‘Please may I have this’. It is not intentional - just a cultural difference.
  • it will be vital for refugees to maintain contact with family and friends they have left behind. So a key requirement for them is going to be reliable wi-fi.
  • Ukrainian women who have left partners behind are likely to want to be in a location where there is the prospect of work so they can earn money and support their family back in Ukraine. This may be difficult if you live in a rural area and may perhaps cause tension if work is in short supply.
  • if the person you are hosting does get a job, you might find it helpful to ask at the outset what they plan to do about childcare during school holidays etc? Can you offer advice or help them to access child care services?
  • while 7% of the adult population in Britain have been fully covid-vaccinated, the figure for Ukraine in January this year was 44.9%. If this concerns you, address the matter early on.
  • Ukrainian refugees may not be able to return home for years. The current provision allows for them to stay here for three years and, during that time, to have free access to healthcare, education, benefits and employment support. Some members of the community may become unhappy at longer-than-expected demands on local resources, particularly if Britain continues in economic crisis. This may not be your mindset at all, but if you have thought about it, you will be better prepared should you encounter a different response in your community.

Getting in contact

Should you want further information on any of the above, or would like to commission training for host families, please contact AC Education by: