More than 50 Ukrainian families have been given homes in Stafford Borough in the last few weeks - and a senior councillor has said plans are in place to receive more.
Borough Council Deputy Leader, Jeremy Pert, praised the work going on behind the scenes to make sure families fleeing the war-torn country are made to feel welcome, and have access to necessary support, as well as the generosity of local residents in offering help.
But Councillor Pert also warned that they were also prepared for the challenges ahead after revealing that two placements had already broken down leaving the families homeless.
The refugees have come to Stafford Borough via national schemes such as the ‘Ukraine Family Scheme’ which allows family members of British nationals to come to, or stay, in the UK. There is also the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme where individuals can become a sponsor for refugees who wish to come to the UK without having family ties here.
Stafford Borough Council has also been ensuring financial help is made to the Ukrainian refugees and their host families with thousands of pounds already paid out.
However, there is always a small risk that the arrangements breakdown and the local authority is now looking for alternative housing for two families after their hosts no longer wanted to share their accommodation with the refugees. It may mean the Ukrainian families having to move into emergency accommodation while suitable properties are found.
Councillor Pert continued: “It is a very challenging situation and unfortunately, just as with normal family life, people will fall out or placements break down. It is terribly upsetting and more difficult because these are families who may have specific needs and have already fled the horrible situation in their home country.
“We want to do as much as we can to make them welcome and are redoubling our efforts to ensure that our Ukrainian guests and host families feel safe and supported in Stafford Borough.”
He added: “Our officers have been working very hard to make sure properties are suitable, the needs of the families are taken care of, and everyone has the financial help they are entitled to - and this work will continue as more come to our area seeking humanitarian relief.”
More information on supporting families from Ukraine can be found on Staffordshire County Council’s website - Support for Ukraine - Staffordshire County Council
Press Release No 5915