Homes for Ukraine scheme: accommodation and emergency accommodation
This page has information about accommodation offered under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme and how people can access emergency accommodation if needed.
Your sponsor is there to help you get used to life here. The first thing they will do is try to make sure you are comfortable in your accommodation and have access to basics such as food, bedding and toiletries.
It is understood that it may be a difficult time for you when you have had to relocate under challenging circumstances.
Time and space may be needed to reflect on the experience of leaving Ukraine in the first few days whilst you're settling in.
Let the sponsor know that you might need some quiet time to take in what has happened.
Once you feel more settled, you might want to talk about basic house rules with your sponsor. For example, cooking and cleaning or preferences over things such as whether smoking in the house is acceptable.
You will not be asked to pay rent whilst you live with your sponsor.
Sponsors should make sure your accommodation is safe and in a suitable condition for you to live.
Two people should not be in one room unless they are:
- adult cohabiting partners
- a parent and child
- two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10
- two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10
- individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room
The accommodation should:
- be kept clean and in a reasonable state
- have adequate kitchen and bathroom space
- have access to drinking water
- have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building, such as fire doors or escape routes as appropriate
- have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (such as a coal fire, wood burning stove)
- have enough heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature
- have safe gas appliances, fittings and flues and have had a gas safety check within the last year
- have safe and working electrics
- be almost entirely free of damp or mould
- have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly
- be easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm
Soon after arrival at your sponsor’s home, you will receive a home visit by Extern or Barnardo’s. They are carrying out these visits on behalf of government, to make sure everything is okay.
This is nothing to be worried about. This is to make sure you and your sponsor are satisfied, that you are in a safe environment and that there are no welfare concerns.
Occasionally things do go wrong. If they do, it may be something simple that can be resolved with a conversation with your sponsor.
To make sure there is continuing support, a system of locally-based support workers and volunteers has been set up, who will be able to help and advise you.
If you decide you can no longer live with your sponsor or your sponsor asks you to leave, you should contact the Make the Call team and give as much notice as possible:
- phone: 0800 232 1271
- email: email@example.com
If there is a need to secure other accommodation urgently, you can also call the Northern Ireland Housing Executive emergency number on:
- 034 4892 0900 (during office hours)
- 034 4892 0908 (after 5.00 pm Monday to Friday, or at the weekends)
If you are having problems with your accommodation
If you have come to the Northern Ireland through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, your accommodation is provided through a sponsorship arrangement in the home of a host.
Although sponsors are asked to commit to supporting their Ukrainian guests for six months or longer, in some cases this will not be possible.
If you are having any problems in your accommodation or with your host, you should contact Homes for Ukraine to find out if these can be resolved.
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If for any reason either you or your host does not want to continue with the sponsorship arrangement, there are other accommodation choices available and you will get help to find different accommodation.
A process to ‘rematch’ Ukrainian people with a new sponsor or host has been put in place where the initial arrangement can’t be sustained.
There are people in Northern Ireland offering accommodation through the Homes for Ukraine scheme who have not yet made a connection with a Ukrainian person who wants to come here. So, it may be possible for you to move to different accommodation with a new sponsor or host.
Before a new match is made, a visit to the new sponsor’s home will be made to assess suitability of accommodation and all the necessary checks will be carried out.
A second home visit after you have moved into the new accommodation to check the new placement is working will also be made.
If you wish to find out about this choice, support will be given to try and find accommodation that meets the needs of your family. This will only be arranged with your full agreement. If you would like to find you another sponsorship arrangement email Homes for Ukraine:
- email: email@example.com
Private rented accommodation
In Northern Ireland there are properties available to rent from private landlords.
There are differences in the availability of properties and in levels of rent across all regions in Northern Ireland.
If you wish to find out about choices in the private rented sector, an officer from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive will be able to offer some help.
Estate agents and websites have information on available properties and typical rent levels for the area in which you wish to live.
Depending on your circumstances, you may also be able to receive some financial help towards the cost of your rent. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive officer can give you some advice on this.
You may also be able to apply for a social housing tenancy in Northern Ireland. This is rented accommodation provided by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive or registered Housing Associations at affordable rent levels that can be typically lower than average market rents.
Access to social housing is achieved through a single application and assessment process. You would be helped through this application process by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive who will carry out a Housing Solutions assessment to explore your accommodation choices.
If you choose to apply for social housing, checks will be carried out on your eligibility under immigration rules and may need your documents to do this. Your application will then be assessed based on your family needs and circumstances and points will be awarded based on these. Social housing tenancies are then awarded to those with the highest level of points.
You should be aware that there is a large demand for social housing in Northern Ireland with over 40, 000 people on the social housing waiting list.
You may need to wait some time before you are offered social housing but tenancies are allocated based on need and to those with the highest level of assessed points.
In extreme circumstances a situation may arise where the relationship with the sponsor breaks down suddenly and you become homeless or are at risk of homelessness.
The Housing Executive is legally responsible for helping people who are homeless and preventing homelessness in Northern Ireland. You can get help if you have nowhere to live or are likely to have nowhere to live within the next 28 days, because:
- you don’t have permission to continue to stay where you have been living and have been told that you need to leave that home
- you are afraid to go home because of violence or the threat of violence from someone who lives there
- you don’t have somewhere that you can live with everyone who normally lives with you or who wishes to live with you
- you have a home but you cannot gain access to it, for example, because you have been illegally evicted
- your landlord has taken you to court and the date by which the court has said you have to leave has passed
When you contact the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, an assessment to understand your situation will be carried out. The support available will depend on your personal circumstances. Your eligibility under immigration/asylum rules will need to be checked and supporting information will be requested to confirm this.
If you think that you are homeless or may become homeless, you should contact the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. You can do this by speaking with Housing Executive staff at a Ukraine Assistance Centre, or by telephone or email:
- phone: 03448 920 900 (Lines open 8.30 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday)
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you find that you need emergency accommodation outside of Northern Ireland Housing Executive working hours (Monday to Friday after 5.00 pm, weekends, and holiday periods), then you can contact the Out of Hours Emergency Homelessness service:
- phone: 03448 920908