Foster Hosts for a Ukrainian household
What is a Foster Host?
On 18 March 2022 the Homes for Ukraine Scheme opened for visa applications from individuals or households fleeing from Ukraine who have named people in the UK willing to sponsor them.
The request was for sponsors to accommodate their guests for a minimum of 6 months, but ideally 12 months. In return sponsors will receive a £500 pcm thank you payment, for a maximum of 12 months.
The Foster Host Scheme follows the same principles. However, Foster Hosts are asked to provide accommodation for a minimum of 4 weeks up to 12 weeks. Foster Hosts will receive a £500 thank you payment for every 4 weeks they have a guest.
A Foster Host provides short term accommodation in an emergency where a guest’s previous sponsorship has ended and a longer term solution is being identified.
Please note this is a scheme running throughout Hampshire and is not a Home Office initiative.
Why are Foster Hosts Needed?
Foster Hosts are need to provide short term interim accommodation in emergencies, where there are no other options available. Some 6 month placements will come to an end without the possibility of being extended or they may come to an end suddenly. In these situations there may not always be an alternative home for guests to access. Rather than the Council relying on bed and breakfast accommodation, which may not be in the same district that guests have settled in, a Foster Host would be able to provide short term accommodation. A Foster Host will be able to provide better accommodation as an alternative to a hotel room, and we would work hard to keep guest in or close to the areas they have already become familiar with, allowing guests to continue with employment, education and maintain contact with friends. On-going support would be provided to the guest with a priority on a securing an alternative longer term housing solution.
Who can be a Foster Host?
Anyone can be a Foster Host as long as they meet the following criteria:
- Registered to be a Host via the Homes for Ukraine Scheme
- Have suitable accommodation they can provide to a guest and their household – this can be self-contained or sharing their own home
- The accommodation available to guests must be within Test Valley
- Pass an inspection carried out either by Children Services at Hampshire County Council or the Housing Team at Test Valley Borough Council
- Have an acceptable DBS check
- Be able to provide accommodation for 4-12 weeks
- Ideally be able to provide accommodation to multiple guests one after the other
- Be able to provide that accommodation at a very short notice – i.e. the same day
How does a Foster Host receive their thank you payment?
Foster Hosts will be eligible to receive the £500 thank you payment from the Government.
You will need to have your DBS check completed and an inspection of your home carried out prior to the arrival of any guests. This inspection will either be carried out by officers from Test Valley Borough Council or officers from Hampshire County Council.
Once guests have arrived you will have follow up contact, which may include an additional visit, from the Council to confirm the guests have been received.
You will need to provide your bank details to Hampshire County Council. It is important that these bank details match the name of the lead of Host.
Your guests have to stay for a minimum of 4 clear weeks in order to qualify for the thank you payment.
You will only receive payment for the time you have guests - you are not paid a retainer.
What is the process to become a Foster Host?
- E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and contact details, an officer from the Council will make contact with you to discuss the scheme.
- Register your expression of interest to be a host via the gov.uk website https://www.gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine
- The Council will ask children services at Hampshire County Council to start their checks and request they carry out a DBS check for you, you may have some forms to fill in at this stage
- The Council will also arrange to come and visit the property you can offer a guest, this visit isn’t anything to worry about. We have an obligation to view accommodation that is being offered to guests to ensure it is safe and available, we also want to make sure you are equipped to take a guest into the property.
- Once the inspection has been carried out and your DBS check has come back clear you will be ready to be a Foster Host.
If there are any concerns at any stage we will discuss these with you.
What support will I need to give my guest?
Opening up your home to another family in need is a very generous and supportive thing to do. The ask is that you will provide short term accommodation to prevent a family from having to be placed in hotel accommodation that is possibly far away from their support network, employment and education.
Whilst you are fostering a guest the Council will provide you both with support. They will ensure your guests have access to an income, can access food and all other essentials they require. You are welcome to provide additional support but this is not a requirement.
Will there be a contract in place?
When signing up to be a Foster Host we will ask you to sign up to a memorandum of understanding. This sets out the expectations and remits of you as the Foster Host and of the Council, it is not a legal contract. We will also share with you our Living in Harmony document which will suggest conversations and things to think about with your guest when they arrive. This can cover things such as cooking, house work, areas of the house you would rather your guest does not access (i.e. your bedroom or children’s bedroom), and house rules you have in place for your own children that you would like other children to follow whilst in your home.
Can I Foster more than one set of guests?
Yes, when one set of guests leaves your household you can foster another household in need. You won’t need to re-register, you will need to wait for the Council to have another household to match you to. You can advise the Council if you need a break between guests.
How much notice will I have before guests are placed with me?
We ask our foster hosts to expect to be ready to take guests at the last minute, however, we would try to give 24 hours’ notice where possible. Guests may require a last minute placement for a range of reasons; sometimes these are not foreseen.
Do I have any say in the guests I am comfortable to accommodate?
Yes, the Council will discuss this with you in advance and understand the type of household you are willing and able to accommodate.
What happens if my guests are with me for 12 weeks and no new home has been found for them?
The Council will work hard to find an alternative home for your guests. There are a number of options that the Council will consider with your guests, including a new 6 month sponsorship with a new host, exploring options in the private rented sector and looking at other forms of temporary accommodation. The Council will monitor dates and lengths of stays and work with you to ensure your guests can depart at the 12 week mark.
What if I struggle with being a Foster Host whilst I have guests staying with me?
Being a Foster Host is a wonderful thing to do but we recognise it won’t always be easy. If you are having difficulties, or your circumstances change, speak to the Council who will have officers available to support you and your guests.