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This breaks my heart... 21:05 - Feb 23 with 600 viewsArnoldMoorhen

Tears pouring down my face reading this:

I am fortunate to have a big enough home to allow me to house a family of three from the Ukraine. It's a quirk of my circumstances.

I was on holiday when I saw a piece on Newsnight about a Polish teacher who went to the station with a sign saying "Ukrainian families are welcome to live with me" painted on a piece of cardboard. She found a young mum and a couple of children, and took them back to her flat.

The punchline was that she had moved her own children into her bedroom and had already housed two other Ukrainian families.

At that moment I knew that I had a moral obligation to turn an unheated "attic" second floor into accommodation for a family from Ukraine.

If she could do that in her flat, what excuse did I have to keep an entire floor storing my son's old Lego and Match Attax cards?

So work began to put in heating and convert the top floor so that it had a kitchen and bathroom and two bedrooms, and for the last 13.months we have hosted a wonderful family from Ukraine.

We are so lucky. The family who live with us have been incredibly unobtrusive. There is a door to the staircase to "their floor". I haven't so much as stepped onto their landing since they moved in. It is their space. We can go a couple of days without seeing each other

Tomorrow we are going with them to a photographic exhibition at Edinburgh Anglican Cathedral, followed by a concert by Ukrainian and Scottish musicians, to celebrate the resilience of Ukraine and the support of the people of Scotland for them.

Because of their unique circumstances they are only 13 months into the Homes for Ukraine scheme, hosted by us.

But others who came soon after the invasion are just over a month away from completing the two year Homes for Ukraine sponsorship with their hosts.

And they aren't stupid. They know that their hosts are making a big sacrifice letting them into their personal space. And they know that fuel costs, and the general cost of living have gone up hugely, in large part directly due to the war in Ukraine. And they know that the £350 a month, in the first year, and £500 a month, in the second year, payment from the state helps to balance all of those things.

And they know that there is no agreement as to whether these payments will continue into the third year. And, like the Mum and daughter in the linked article, they don't want to be a burden on their hosts, who they appreciate, and not do they want to scrounge and leech from UK taxpayers. So many are making this decision in advance of their two year anniversary with their hosts, to save their hosts from the embarrassment of having to say "I can't afford to keep you."

The shocking thing here is that it is way more cost effective for the Government to announce that the scheme will continue into a third year, than to risk hosting placements coming to an end and families and couples and individuals declaring themselves homeless and adding to the burden of critically over-stretched local authorities, who will have a duty of care to them.

It's so simple.

Just extend the scheme.

Or more people like Svitlana and Hanna will choose to go back to the possibility of death in a war zone rather than become dependent on means tested benefits in a country which they are grateful to, or become a disproportionate burden to a family, couple or individual who welcomed them when they were most in need.

Extend the scheme!

Do it now, Rishi. Just fcking do it!
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