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Statement on contract

By December 8, 2022February 7th, 2023Press release

On December 6, members of Birmingham City Council voted to bring its Homes for Ukraine contract with Refugee Action before the authority’s scrutiny committee. 

The motion followed a petition from some hosts who were unhappy with the Homes for Ukraine programme, including questions about some parts of Refugee Action’s service delivery. 

Refugee Action welcomes the Council’s vote and the opportunity to show members that – despite encountering issues while setting up this new resettlement programme in Birmingham – hosts and refugees are now being fully supported. 

However, we acknowledge there have been challenges and delays in delivering some services to people resettled in the Homes for Ukraine scheme and to hosts who have generously opened their homes to them.   

While we have spent years helping Syrian and Afghan refugees resettle in Birmingham, the Homes for Ukraine scheme was a brand-new bespoke programme.  

It meant our resettlement teams have had to work extremely hard with the city council and other agencies to develop the scheme from scratch to support what has been an unprecedented number of refugees build new lives in Birmingham. 

We are now supporting almost 700 refugees and almost 400 hosts in Birmingham. This includes carrying out individual welfare and property checks, supporting Universal Credit applications, helping children access education, delivering mental health training, providing immigration advice and hosting training and support forums among other services.  

In addition to this, we are responding to complex safeguarding concerns to minimise risk to guests and hosts and, where required, we are sourcing temporary accommodation using funding independent of the Local Authority money.  

In the event of a host relationship ending or breaking down, we are either supporting the refugee to access temporary accommodation through the council or finding interim housing while we look at rematching to a new host.  

We provide employment support through our internal Pathways to Work team or through external employment advice experts to help people become independent as soon as possible. 

We have spent 40 years supporting refugees rebuild their lives in Birmingham and across the UK and have worked alongside the city council to deliver resettlement schemes for hundreds of people and families who have fled war in Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine since 2016. 

The focus of our resettlement workers is and has always been to make sure people fleeing persecution and war are supported to rebuild their lives in safety across the UK and we are determined to make sure the Homes for Ukraine scheme is a success in Birmingham.