Published: Thursday, 20th October 2022

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has today called on the UK Government to act urgently to help Ukrainian guests facing homelessness.

Since March 2022, the Royal Borough of Greenwich has welcomed 514 people from Ukraine with nearly 1,000 people in total expected.

So far, 25 individuals and 38 families have approached the Council on the brink of homelessness – approximately one in five of those who have arrived since March. The Council is deeply concerned that more families will present as homeless in the coming months, as the Homes from Ukraine scheme comes to an end.

In a letter to the third Secretary of State this year, the Council criticised the piecemeal nature of government measures to support arrivals from Ukraine, forcing local authorities, charities and members of the public to shoulder responsibility.

The letter comes after a previous call for help in July 2022, to a former Secretary of State, received no reply.

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult’s Social Care, who also lead on the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s response to Afghan refugees last year said: “Following last year’s dismal response to people arriving from Afghanistan – nearly 10,000 of whom are still stuck in hotels totally unsuitable for long-term occupancy – we hoped the Government had learned from its mistakes.

“Sadly, this is not the case. While we wait for the Government to offer direction, Ukrainian guests, who have already gone through unimaginable turmoil, have been left in the dark.”

The Council has called for a long-term housing plan for Ukrainian guests on three-year visas; more support for local authorities; and an uplift of the financial support for families to help during the cost of living crisis.  

Cllr Pat Slattery, Cabinet Member for Housing said: “We understand the government is currently distracted, but we urgently need them to step up, provide real leadership and fix the UK’s broken housing system.

“We remain deeply concerned about the fate of those from Ukraine after the scheme comes to an end.”

Read our letter to the new Secretary of State.