Fifteen homes for Ukrainian and Afghan refugees fleeing war and seeking safety and shelter in Woking will be made available following the allocation of government funding.
The homes will be instrumental in ensuring the council continues to provide shelter to families with housing needs who have arrived in the UK via Ukrainian and Afghan resettlement and relocation schemes.
Woking has been allocated over £2 million in funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) who introduced £500 million for councils across England to acquire housing for those fleeing conflicts in Ukraine and Afghanistan.
Since the conflict in Ukraine began, Woking has seen over 250 Ukrainian refugees resettle in the borough, which is already home to five Afghan refugee families and 50 Syrian refugee families.
Cllr Will Forster, Deputy Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: “Woking is keen to do what we can to help Ukrainian and Afghan refugees in these difficult times. We need to do our utmost to ensure our new residents feel safe and welcome here in Woking.
“These 15 additional homes will allow us to continue making a difference to the lives of many seeking safety and refuge whilst alleviating the impact of new arrivals on existing housing pressures.”
Homes for Ukraine Scheme
On the first anniversary of the scheme, Woking Borough Council is urging local residents to come forward to support Ukrainian refugees fleeing their homeland and seeking safety.
The Homes for Ukraine Scheme matches local hosts with refugees who are fleeing the war. A host family receives £350 per month for providing a home and support to their guests. This is increased to £500 per month after a year.
Cllr Forster added: “I’d like to thank the hundreds of kind-hearted Woking residents who have opened their doors to warmly welcomed those Ukrainian refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
“With the conflict now into its second year, we continue to need new hosts to come forward. Your act of kindness could make an incredible difference to someone’s life and provide someone a home.”
Roy Butcher and wife Blanqui are just two of the many local residents who have welcomed Ukrainian refugees to their home during this crisis.
Explaining his experience as a host, Mr Butcher, said: “Having one or more people join a household does cause changes in routines and responsibilities and requires the forging of new understandings and relationships. However, if you have the space I recommend anyone considering being a host to sign up. Ukrainian people are very family oriented, respectful and polite. It is a very rewarding experience.”
Since arriving in Woking, Ukrainian refugee, Ivanna, has settled in well to the way of life with Roy and Blanqui and has found full-time employment. She adds: “On behalf of Ukrainians I would like to thank British people for supporting us in such a difficult time. You are helping refugees like myself feel like we’re not alone in this world.”
If you are interested, whether in your capacity as a resident or landlord, in housing refugees through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org