Over 20 Ukrainian refugee households in city made homeless

Council leader Cammy Day laid the blame on the Scottish Government.

Over 20 Ukrainian refugee households in Edinburgh made homeless Google Maps

A total of 22 Ukrainian refugee households in Edinburgh have become homeless since arriving in the country.

New figures have revealed the challenges faced by some displaced families trying to find stable accommodation after fleeing their homes following the Russian invasion more than a year ago.

The council said in most instances of refugees presenting as homeless they have arrived without having secured a place to stay.

Council leader Cammy Day laid the blame on the Scottish Government, saying its scheme for housing Ukrainians hadn’t been “fully thought through.”

He added work was ongoing to find “longer term solutions.”

A total of 22 displaced Ukrainian households have sought help from Edinburgh council’s homelessness services in the last year, a freedom of information request by the Local Democracy Reporting Service found.

Of those, 21 have been placed in temporary accommodation and four families have since been provided with permanent housing.

Homelessness has been rising over the winter amid “big housing challenges” the council said, adding the number of cases which relate to displaced Ukrainians “is very low.”

The local authority said this “tends to be people arriving without having secured a place to stay” or “people moving on from host accommodation and struggling to find somewhere suitable in the private rented sector and again needing temporary accommodation.”

It added they “are not sleeping rough” despite being classed as homeless.

The UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme allowed people to offer spare rooms to refugees in the wake of the conflict, with over 1,000 Edinburgh residents signing up.

A ‘Super Sponsor’ scheme subsequently launched by the Scottish Government removed the need for applicants to be matched with a host before arriving in the country.

However, this was paused in July due to a shortage of suitable accommodation to “ensure that those displaced people who are already here, and those who will arrive in the coming months, will be safe, secure and supported for as long as they need, after the dangers they have faced at home” according to the government.

The scheme is yet to be started up again.

Councillor Day said: “We continue to welcome Ukrainians to rebuild their lives here in Edinburgh. This is their home and we are incredibly proud to support them.

“Unfortunately, the Scottish Government scheme to provide accommodation to everyone who arrives in Scotland hasn’t been fully thought through. For instance, we’ve found that some families fleeing war haven’t always secured a safe place to stay in advance. In other cases they need to move on from their initial host accommodation but Edinburgh’s housing pressures are well known.

“It’s with regret that a few people have found themselves facing homelessness but we will do everything within our means to support them. We’re working with the government to try to find longer term solutions.”

The Scottish Government’s minister with special responsibility for refugees from Ukraine Neil Gray said: “Since the start of the illegal war against Ukraine, more than 23,000 people with a Scottish sponsor have arrived in the UK, the most per head of any of the four nations and equivalent to the population of Arbroath or Bathgate. The pace and numbers of people who have arrived in Scotland is unprecedented and compares, for example, to the 3,000 people who arrived over five years through the Syrian resettlement scheme.

“We are proud of the warm Scottish welcome we’ve been able to extend to them assisted by the voluntary sector and local authorities across the country.

“The Scottish Government is working intensively with local authorities to match people into longer-term accommodation and our priority is to ensure safe and sustainable accommodation can be provided. Our Longer Term Resettlement Fund is making up to £50m available to bring empty and void council and Registered Social Landlord properties into use to increase the housing supply.”

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