More refugees due to stay in Wigan arrive in UK – amid warnings of surging homelessness across England

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More Ukrainian refugees due to stay in Wigan have arrived in the UK in the last month, as charities warn more support is needed to prevent them from becoming homeless.

Refugees have been invited to stay in the UK under the Ukrainian Sponsorship and Family schemes, with the former setting them up with hosts for an initial period of six months.

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New figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show 119 Ukrainian refugee households due in Wigan – from 145 successful applications – had arrived in the UK by October 4.

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Families from Ukraine are seeking refuge in WiganFamilies from Ukraine are seeking refuge in Wigan
Families from Ukraine are seeking refuge in Wigan

This was up from 106 arrivals on September 6, when 138 visas had been issued.

In the month to October 4, 96,800 refugees had arrived in the UK, with 136,600 visas approved under the scheme.

But the figures come amid warnings about surging homelessness across England, as the cost of living increases and the initial six-month hosting period comes to an end for many.

Separate DLUHC figures show 1,915 households across England had been made homeless or put at risk of homelessness across both refugee schemes as of September 23 – up 22 per cent from 1,565 four weeks earlier – although Wigan Council did not submit data on homelessness.

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Stan Benes, a trustee for charity Opora, which helps Ukrainians settling in the UK, said Government support has "too often fallen short", and that charities and other organisations have been left to fill in the gaps.

He said the cost-of-living crisis was a "factor", but the lead reason for hosting arrangements breaking down was "the health of the relationship between guests and hosts".

Opora is also concerned there are more homeless refugees than the figures suggest – almost 30 per cent of councils did not provide data for September.

The DLUHC said it has been in contact with councils that have repeatedly not submitted data and is currently looking into how it can increase response rates.

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A spokesman said: “We are grateful to the British public for opening up their communities to the people of Ukraine and the generosity they have shown.

“The majority of sponsors want to continue hosting for longer than six months. Where guests do move on they have a number of options, including to enter private rental or find a new host to sponsor them."