Some Ukrainian refugees face homelessness after arriving in Scotland, MSPs informed

There have been cases of people that have fled Ukraine ending up homeless in Scotland, MSPs have heard.

The disaster within the war-torn nation was mentioned by Holyrood’s Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee on Thursday, with MSPs listening to from native authority representatives.

The committee was informed that whereas there’s a “really strong structure” in place for resettling refugees, there have been instances already the place difficulties in securing appropriate lodging has led to them presenting as homeless.

Cosla coverage supervisor Gayle Findlay mentioned the issues with the household visa construction haven’t essentially arisen from breakdowns of relationships between members of the family, however moderately from points comparable to an absence of house to accommodate them.

The solely route for these folks whose placements break down is to current as homeless inside their native authority space

Gayle Findlay, Cosla

She added that fundamental elements, such because the individual discovering they’re allergic to pets within the family, may contribute to the issue.

Ms Findlay mentioned: “Currently, unfortunately, the only route for those people whose placements break down, or they’re unable to stay with their family, is to present as homeless within their local authority area that they may be in.”

She mentioned the Homes for Ukraine scheme, working beneath a visa-driven system, means folks can arrive in Scotland simply because the native authority internet hosting them receives the data required to establish appropriate housing – placing strain on councils.

This was echoed by Hazel Chisholm, housing coverage officer for Highland Council, who informed the committee her native authority has already recognized somebody as homeless after their placement broke down.

Local authorities have reported quick timeframes for figuring out obtainable housing for refugees (Victoria Jones/PA)

(PA Wire)

She mentioned: “We’ve already had one of our placements fail after just a couple of days, and there’s real concern that those guests didn’t present in Highland.

“They actually travelled through to, I believe, Renfrewshire and found accommodation with some friends and are going to be travelling to England.”

Pat Togher, from the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership, mentioned such a state of affairs is one which has been given “quite considerable thought”, however he mentioned it’s “unlikely we would be able to mitigate against that in its entirety”.

Ms Chisholm steered the state of affairs is “not in control”, with some councils reporting having been contacted by people who find themselves already in Scotland.

She identified that with the coronavirus pandemic nonetheless ongoing, groups set as much as establish obtainable housing have been hit by workers sickness, additional inflicting delay to the method.

Neil Gray informed MSPs on Wednesday that he has heard of some folks having to return to Ukraine resulting from visa delays (Steve Welsh/PA)

(PA Media)

The impression of workers shortages on timeframes, Ms Chisholm added, is a selected subject in her native authority, which covers an enormous space and homes needing to be surveyed are sometimes in very rural areas.

“Sometimes we’ve been contacted by families who were hosting to say ‘my family is already here’, and the data will maybe arrive on the same day, so we’ve people in properties we haven’t property checked, and we’re not in control of that,” she informed MSPs.

Neil Gray, the minister with particular duty for Ukrainian refugees arriving in Scotland, informed MSPs on Wednesday that there was “anecdotal evidence” of individuals having to return to Ukraine on account of delays to visa processing.

Ms Findlay mentioned there may be “frustration” amongst folks concerned within the rehoming course of resulting from confusion over who is working the Homes for Ukraine system.

She mentioned: “I think there is very little information in general for lots of people because we’re working at pace, almost retrofitting systems to a scheme that’s already been established.”

A UK Government spokesperson mentioned: “The Ukraine Family Scheme has helped more than 32,000 people fleeing the barbaric invasion of Ukraine, enabling them to be reunited with family in the UK.

“Our expectation is people arriving through the family scheme will be initially supported by their loved ones, so they can find work and integrate into the UK. In the exceptional case that someone is left without support from their families, they will be able to access local council support.”

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