Long delays in Ukrainian refugee schemes have led to a house offered for free by one generous landlord remaining empty.
The pebble-dashed property in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester (main pic), has been made available rent-free for a year, thanks to the efforts of retired estate agent Steve Gooderson who has also raised £40,000 to cover the cost of a year’s rent for 30 refugees.
He has collected food and clothes along with offers of other accommodation, even persuading one landlord to donate one of his houses.
Gooderson, of Stalybridge, Tameside, told the Mail Online that he’d made his offer two weeks ago but had still not heard back from the government.
He slammed the Homes for Ukraine scheme organisation for being incredibly frustrating. “We have the money in place, the houses, food, clothes and interpreters with the help of the local Ukrainian community,” said Gooderson.
“Everything is in place without a penny in costs to the taxpayer. We have made the offer to the government, then nothing. I think this whole government scheme is a complete sham. It is not an exaggeration to say these delays are costing lives.”
He approached local MP Jonathan Reynolds for help, who contacted the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, without success.
Gooderson claims there is a 20-day backlog before the government will even consider offers of help under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, however officials deny this.
A government spokeswoman said: “Thanks to the public’s generosity in offering their homes, more than 39,300 visas have been granted so far with 6,600 Ukrainians arriving safely in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Currently the scheme is open to individuals, but we plan to expand this to organisations and community groups who will be able to sponsor multiple guests.”
More than 150,000 people registered to sponsor people from Ukraine looking to come to the UK. Campaigners have urged the government to cut the red tape for refugees seeking sanctuary.