Homes for Ukraine: guidance for organisations making matches
Information for voluntary and community sector organisations (VCS) looking to responsibly make matches between sponsors and guests as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
The Homes for Ukraine scheme helps people who are fleeing Ukraine to seek sanctuary and who have no family in the UK to be sponsored by named individuals who can offer them a home, such as a spare room or unoccupied residential self-contained unit for at least 6 months.
Charities, businesses and faith and community groups have a key role to play in welcoming individuals arriving in the UK. Through this scheme, organisations can also play a role in connecting individual sponsors with those who want to be sponsored (’matching’).
This guidance explains how organisations can safely and effectively make matches as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme. There are different guides for:
Responsibilities as a matching organisation
Organisations that can responsibly and safely match potential sponsors in their networks and communities with displaced people coming from Ukraine are encouraged to do so. However organisations should ensure they have the resources and capability in place first.
If your organisation would like to make matches as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, you should have the following in place:
- Process for making connections between sponsors and guests
- Support for sponsors and guests
- Safeguarding and protecting individuals
- Process for when issues arise
- Ensure profit is not made from individual guests or sponsors
There is no standard format for a matching or hosting scheme, and how you decide to implement these is for your organisation to decide.
Any responsible scheme must meet some minimum requirements, which are shown below as ‘required’.
1. Process for making connections between sponsors and guests coming from Ukraine
Before setting up a matching scheme, you should consider the following factors to ensure you can run an effective and responsible scheme.
Capability and scope
Charities looking to become matching organisations should consider whether their charitable objects allow them to do so. Please see the Charity Commission’s guidance for more details.
You will need to know how to make your services known to potential users of the scheme. This could be through connections to Ukrainian organisations, or organisations on the ground in Europe who can refer guests to your programme.
You should also consider contacting the relevant local councils where sponsors are based, to share information about your scheme and the support you can offer.
Make sure you have the infrastructure and resources in place to facilitate matches before offering a service, to ensure that you can deliver this effectively.
You should decide how you will attract and vet potential sponsors. You could be open for any interested sponsors to join, or may focus on supporting existing members.
Whether sponsors are known to you or not, you should take steps to ensure they are suitable for hosting.
Decide if your scheme will focus on initial matching, or whether you will also provide longer term, wraparound support. Once you have decided, be honest and open about what you will offer and what you will not. Matching organisations do not have to provide longer term support, as local councils and other organisations can provide this see support for sponsors and guests.
Every matching scheme looks different, and there is more than one way to facilitate matches.
The Homes for Ukraine scheme matches sponsors and guests for at least 6 months, so it is important that matches are strong, and that all parties are committed to the match and aware of the responsibilities and expectations on them.
To ensure you are arranging effective and long-lasting matches, you should consider:
- the location, size and type of accommodation the sponsor can provide - for example, access to a proper space and privacy is important, are there beds/bedrooms for each individual. More detail on accommodation requirements can be found in the Homes for Ukraine: sponsor guides.
- the makeup of both sponsor and guest families, including age, gender, special requirements, children and pets. For example, it is not appropriate to match an individual male with an individual female.
Individual applicants must be 18 or over on the date of application, unless applying with, or to join in the UK, a parent or legal guardian)
Once a match has been made, sponsors and guests will need to complete the visa application process online through the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship scheme.
2. Support for sponsors and guests
As part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, sponsors and guests will be supported by their local councils, who will provide:
- an interim payment of £200 per guest for initial subsistence costs, and an optional £350 per month thank you payment to sponsors
- education services, including school places and access to training
- advice and referrals to specialist public health services
- access to local Jobcentre Plus appointments for benefit assessments and job-seeking
- community integration support
For more information on the role of local councils, see the guidance for councils.
As a matching organisation, you should consider contacting the relevant local councils where sponsors are based to establish a communication channel and ensure you are linked in to the support councils are providing.
Beyond this, it is up to your organisation how much additional support you provide to sponsors and guests as part of your matching scheme, and whether you provide support beyond the initial matching. You should be open and upfront about what you are able to offer and not offer.
As a minimum, you should ensure that sponsors and guests review the government guidance.
You should consider whether you can provide training for prospective sponsors ahead of matching, or before the guest arrives in the UK. Training will increase the likelihood of a successful 6 month match.
This training could cover: the sponsorship process; responsibilities of the sponsor; how to set and maintain boundaries between sponsors and guests; confidentiality; safeguarding; communication; and support.
You should not attempt to provide legal/immigration advice unless you are a regulated provider.
In the UK only OISC registered immigration advisers (or solicitors, barristers and members of approved professional bodies) are legally able to provide immigration and asylum advice and services to the public.
Various UK legal firms have teamed up to provide pro-bono immigration advice under the Ukraine Advice Project UK, which is staffed by qualified immigration lawyers.
3. Safeguarding and protecting individuals (Required)
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and organisations must be clear in their legal duty of care to those using their services.
While the majority of people using the scheme will want to genuinely help, there is a risk of both intended and unintended harm to guests. As a matching organisation, you must ensure that sponsors and guests are safe and protected as far as possible. Guests arriving in the UK through the Homes for Ukraine scheme may be part of vulnerable groups who are most at risk of harm.
As part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the Home Office will conduct standard security checks on all sponsors and guests, as well as all adults aged 18 and over who will be living in the same household as the guests, prior to the visa being granted.
Local councils will also complete checks on the accommodation and living arrangements after the individual (or family) arrives. The local council will also decide which type of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are required in line with government guidance.
More detail can be found in the Homes for Ukraine sponsor guides and council guides.
In addition to these checks, you need to have the following in place, as a minimum, in order to run a responsible matching scheme.
You should ensure that you have appropriate safeguarding policies and procedures in place, which are followed by all staff, trustees, volunteers and beneficiaries.
Safeguarding means protecting people’s health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, exploitation or abuse.
Safeguarding children includes protecting them from maltreatment or things that are bad for their health or development and making sure they grow up in circumstances that allow safe and effective care.
Safeguarding adults includes protecting their rights to live in safety, free from harm, exploitation or abuse, with people and organisations working together to prevent the risk of harm, exploitation or abuse, and to stop them from happening, and making sure people’s wellbeing is promoted, taking their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs into account.
You should have a clear system for identifying, referring, recording and reporting to relevant agencies as soon as concerns are suspected or identified.
If you believe someone is in immediate danger, call 999 straight away.
Charities should follow statutory guidance, good practice guidance and legislation relevant to their charity. For more information, please refer to the Charity Commission’s guide to safeguarding duties.
For advice on safeguarding policies and reporting procedures, see NCVO’s safeguarding guidance.
Refugees and vulnerable individuals are at a higher risk of modern slavery. Your organisation should have a statement setting out the steps you take to prevent modern slavery in your organisation. This is a requirement for certain organisations under section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
For more information on Modern Slavery statements, see NCVO’s Modern Slavery guidance.
Your organisation should have privacy and data protection policies in place, to ensure information is used fairly and transparently, in line with data protection requirements.
For more information on writing a data protection policy, see NCVO’s data protection guidance.
At times of heightened international tension all organisations need to be vigilant to the risk of cyber compromises and follow National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) best practice guidance. Please refer to the relevant guidance below:
- Cyber action plan for sole traders and micro businesses
- Small business guide: cyber security and Cyber essentials scheme for SMEs
- Board Toolkit for larger organisations
4. Process for when issues arise
You should ensure that you have a system in place for managing complaints from sponsors or guests, and that this is clearly signposted on your website and in communications to individuals.
What to do if a sponsor/guest relationship breaks down?
If for any reason a sponsor needs to end the sponsorship arrangement early, relevant parties should inform the local council as soon as possible. Local councils can support guests in finding alternative accommodation.
Local councils can act as a triage point if matching arrangements fall down and offer potential provision of overnight hotel accommodation.
There may be some cases where the sponsor/guest relationship breaks down and the guest is homeless or at risk of homelessness. Councils’ statutory homelessness duties will apply in this instance.
DLUHC will provide further advice on this in due course.
5. Ensure profit is not made from individual guests or sponsors (Required)
Homes for Ukraine is a humanitarian scheme supporting people fleeing Ukraine and seeking sanctuary.
Sponsors and guests should be treated with respect and dignity, and matching schemes should not be run to make a profit from individual guests and sponsors.
Visas given through the Homes for Ukraine scheme are granted to guests for up to 3 years. Visas require a named sponsor, and cannot be conditional on employment.
Organisations should not:
- charge sponsors or guests for access to matching services or training
- charge for rent or goods
- financially exploit guests. This could include requiring someone to work for you for free, provide domestic services, or minimal payment in exchange for accommodation or items
- ask sponsors to give your organisation any of the £350 thank you for taking part in the scheme
Homes for Ukraine Recognised Provider Scheme
Organisations that provide matching or matching related services can be recognised by the government as Homes for Ukraine Recognised Providers. The contact details of these Providers will be displayed on GOV.UK so that guests and potential sponsors can identify responsible schemes.
To qualify for the scheme, your organisation should be delivering, or able to deliver a matching service that meets the minimum standards set out in the sections above.
The government has published an initial list of Recognised Providers for sponsors and guests from Ukraine. You do not need to have Recognised Provider status to run a matching scheme, but if your organisation would like to apply to become a Recognised Provider, please download the and send after completing to email@example.com.
Last updated 16 January 2023 + show all updates
Included a downloadable application form to become a recognised provider.