Ukrainian refugees living on Edinburgh cruise ship to be moved by July

The contract to use the MS Victoria, docked at Leith, will come to an end on July 11.

Ukrainian refugees living on Edinburgh cruise ship MS Victoria to be moved by July STV News

Ukrainian refugees on board a cruise ship in Edinburgh will be moved into new accommodation by July, a report has confirmed.

A spokesperson confirmed that the contract to use the MS Victoria, docked at Leith, will come to an end.

Around 1,150 people are still living on the ship, which has been docked since last summer, as part of efforts to accommodate displaced refugees who arrived in Scotland following the Russian invasion.

The cruise ship’s contract, which was extended in December, will come to an end on July 11 – with all on board due to be moved into settled accommodation by then.

However, a report given to Edinburgh council’s housing, homelessness and fair work committee revealed “concerns” about sufficient housing within the city.

The report said: “There are currently around 1,150 Ukrainian Displaced People on the MS Victoria, all of whom will require settled accommodation upon disembarkation.

“With the disembarkation of the MS Victoria required by July 11, 2023, there is a concern that sufficient accommodation will not be available in Edinburgh.

“Council officers are meeting regularly with Scottish Government officers, other Local Authorities, Social Housing providers and the private rented sector to resolve these concerns.”

Plans have since been announced to make up to 100 empty council homes available for Ukrainians leaving the boat.

The meeting heard a funding bid would be submitted to the Scottish Government for £1.72m to fix-up the currently void properties for those leaving the ship.

However, it will “not be possible” for all the accommodation outlined within the reports to be available, and hotels paid for by the government will be provided for refugees.

The report added: “As it will not be possible to have all of the accommodation outlined in this report available for disembarkation, alternative plans are being developed to ensure that suitable accommodation is available to Ukrainian Displaced People in the short term.

“This accommodation (which is likely to be mostly hotel accommodation) will be paid for by the Scottish Government.”

Service director for housing and homelessness Derek McGowan said: “The availability of community facilities, of schools, healthcare etcetera is an important point and there is a matching process that would be used in working with the Scottish Government and partners to understand when they’re disembarking the boat where they would go and how we do that most effectively.”

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