A Ukrainian refugee household may have faced homelessness after arriving in Oxford, according to new figures.

Home Office data has shown that one refugee household in Oxford may have been homeless or at risk of homelessness as of June 3.

Although the data does not show whether they have since been matched with new hosts.

Ukrainians fleeing Putin’s war can apply for a visa to stay in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme and Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

The family Scheme allows Ukrainian nationals to stay with relatives already living in the UK, and the Sponsorship Scheme, also known as ‘Homes for Ukraine’, allows individuals to host refugees for a minimum of six months.

Read more: Oxfordshire's children of refugees offered free ballet sessions

But the schemes have been beset with delays to processing visas, and there have been reports of safeguarding issues and mismatches between hosts and refugees.

Shadow levelling up and housing secretary Lisa Nandy said: “The situation is shameful. The British people showed amazing generosity in stepping up in their thousands to provide the care and sanctuary that these people – many of them families with young children – needed and deserved in such awful circumstances.

“But the government has failed miserably to play its part.”

Across England there were 660 Ukrainian households facing homelessness as of June 3, including 480 with children.

Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said: “We’re concerned that Ukrainians arriving on family visas are running into problems as not all relatives will have the space or the resources to support their family members.

“Which is why there needs to be the same level of funding available to them and local councils as is provided under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.”

The data also shows that as of June 14, more than 64,000 visas had been issued under the Homes for Ukraine scheme for English hosts, with almost 43,000 refugees arriving in the UK as of the day before.

In Oxford, 257 visas had been issued by this point, and 171 refugees due to stay with sponsors in the area had arrived in the UK.

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “All arrivals have access to benefits and public services, as well as the right to work or study, from the day they arrive.

“The overwhelming majority of people are settling in well but in the minority of cases where family or sponsor relationships break down, councils have a duty to ensure families are not left without a roof over their head.

“Councils also have access to a rematching service to find a new sponsor in cases under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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