More refugees due to stay in Newcastle arrive in UK – amid warnings of surging homelessness across England

More refugees due to stay with hosts in Newcastle have arrived in the UK in the last month, figures show, as charities warn more support is needed to prevent refugees from becoming homeless.

More refugees due to stay with hosts in Newcastle have arrived in the UK in the last month, figures show, as charities warn more support is needed to prevent refugees from becoming homeless.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in March, refugees from the war have been invited to stay in the UK under the Ukrainian Sponsorship and Family schemes.

The former sets up refugees with hosts in the UK for an initial six months, who receive support from their local council and a stipend of £350.

New figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show 225 Ukrainian refugee households due in Newcastle – from 278 successful applications – had arrived in the UK by October 4 under the sponsorship scheme.

This was up from 204 arrivals on September 6, when 261 visas had been issued.

In the month to October 4, 96,800 refugees had arrived in the UK, with 136,600 visas approved under the scheme.

The figures come amid warnings from charities about surging homelessness across England as the cost of living increases, and the initial six-month hosting period comes to an end for many.

Separate DLUHC figures show 1,915 households across England had been made homeless or put at risk of homelessness across both refugee schemes as of September 23 – up 22% from 1,565 four weeks earlier – although Newcastle City Council did not submit data on homelessness for the month.

Of those facing homelessness nationally, 1,335 households – or 70% – had dependent children, with homelessness being avoided or relieved in only around a third of cases.

Stan Benes, a trustee for Opora, a charity which helps Ukrainians settling in the UK, said that Government support has "too often fallen short", and that charities and other organisations have been left to fill in the gaps.

He said the cost-of-living crisis was a "factor", but that the lead reason for hosting arrangements breaking down was "the health of the relationship between guests and hosts", adding that many hosts did not have sufficient guidance or support when signing up to the scheme.

Opora is also concerned that there are many more homeless refugees than the figures suggest – almost 30% of councils did not provide data for September.

The DLUHC said it has been in contact with councils that have repeatedly not submitted data on homelessness, and is currently looking into how it can increase response rates.

A spokesperson for the department said: “We are grateful to the British public for opening up their communities to the people of Ukraine and the generosity they have shown."

“The majority of sponsors want to continue hosting for longer than six months. Where guests do move on they have a number of options, including to enter private rental or find a new host to sponsor them."

"Councils have a duty to ensure families are not left without a roof over their heads,” they added.