Support for Ukraine – Community update

February 16, 2023

Support for Ukraine community update for hosts in South Cambridgeshire, as well as District Councillors, community coordinators and parish council colleagues.

National moment of silence to mark one year since Russian invasion of Ukraine

A national one-minute silence will take place across the UK at 11am on Friday 24 February, marking a year since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. South Cambridgeshire District Council invites you to join with us in this moment of reflection to pay tribute to the courage of the Ukrainian people. For more information please see: National moment of silence to mark one year of Russian invasion of Ukraine – GOV.UK (


This week’s newsletter focuses on options available to all Homes for Ukraine guests when they are ready to consider Moving On to live more independently, or if their host has asked them to leave. We would be very grateful if you could share these details with your guests and help them to think about their options. Where we have the relevant contact details, we will be emailing this information direct to guests and will also be posting out printed versions to them in English and Ukrainian. We will also be running two information events where guests can discuss their options and ask questions, detailed here:

Information events: 9 & 23 March, 2023

In person event:

Date: Thursday 9th March, 6pm – 7.30pm

Venue: Henry Morris Hall at Sawston Village College, New Road Sawston, Cambridge, CB22 3BP

There will be short presentations in Ukrainian and English which will detail the Moving On options in this document. The remaining time will be set aside for a chance to talk to other guests and ask questions with Council officers. The event is principally for guests, but hosts and relevant organisations are also welcome to attend.

We are planning to provide some snacks and refreshments. To help us cater for the right number of people, we would encourage you to complete the registration form if possible. Visit

Online event:

Date: Thursday 23 March. Time: 6pm to 7.30pm

Venue: Zoom link to join (no need to book, just log on) –

Moving On

Support for Homes for Ukraine guests to move on to live more independently

The information below sets out the options available to all Homes for Ukraine guests when they are ready to consider Moving On to live more independently, or if their host has asked them to leave. This includes:

  • Applying for social housing
  • Rematching
  • Renting privately
  • Renting with another family
  • Lodging
  • Rent Deposit Scheme
  • Rent in Advance
  • Help with essential items
  • Council tax discounts
  • Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

Private rental in South Cambridgeshire is very expensive, and residents with moderate and sometimes good incomes still require some form of support. For those on lower incomes, and for people who receive Housing Benefit, this can be even more challenging. As this is the case, we would urge Homes for Ukraine guests to consider all the possible options to ensure you have thought about your circumstances and available budget to ensure it will be affordable for you. We recommend that you try to save money during your stay with a host, as this will make finding your own accommodation easier when you are ready to do so.

The maximum amount of housing benefit you can receive for a 2-bed property in South Cambridgeshire is £782.48 per month. This level is set by the Government. However, as rent for a 2-bed home is often in the region of £1,000, this means there is a shortfall between housing benefit and market rent.

The options and support listed below aims to try to help everyone access housing that will be affordable.

Applying for social housing

Social housing is rented to a tenant at a lower monthly rent than it would be if it was privately owned. Home-Link is the choice-based lettings scheme for Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk. Every week, Home-Link advertises the available Council and Housing Association properties across the area. To be considered for one of these properties, you first need to make an application to Home-Link to have your housing need and priority assessed (this is called your housing band). You can make an application online at

If your application is approved to join the housing register, you will then be able to bid on properties within Home-Link. It is important to remember that we have a waiting list for homes, and it is often wise to also consider other options as well as making an application.

You can bid on up to three properties per week. You may only bid on properties that are located within South Cambridgeshire, as you will have a local connection to South Cambridgeshire. You will only be able to bid on properties within Cambridge City and other surrounding authorities if you have a local connection with them. Please visit the Home-Link FAQ webpage which explains local connections. There is also more information on Home-Link about the prioritisation of housing and banding.

You can also contact our Housing Advice and Homes for Ukraine Liaison teams to discuss any questions you may have. Please email


If your host has indicated that they can no longer provide you with accommodation and given you notice to leave, or if there has been a relationship breakdown between a host and guest, we can help to rematch guest/s to a new host. This option is best suited to those who are not yet ready to move on to live more independently. Please note that due to the lack of additional new hosts, it is very unlikely we will be able to rematch you to a new host in the village or town where you are currently living. We will do our best to find the best match we can from the hosts we have available.

As there is such a small number of potential hosts, we will only facilitate rematches where it is absolutely necessary. If you wish to be rematched for reasons that are not detailed above, we encourage you to approach local charities and community groups. If a rematch is sourced through this method, it is vital you inform us in advance of any possible move so we can ensure the correct checks are completed on the new host.

Please contact us on  to discuss rematching.

Renting privately

As mentioned above, renting privately in South Cambridgeshire can be very expensive. To increase your chances of both finding a property and being considered as a prospective tenant, we recommend that you register your interest with several estate agents that cover the district. This will greatly increase your chances of finding a private rental property.

Renting a property is not just about paying the rent. Please consider the other commitments that come with renting a property, such as utility bills and other expenses.

There is financial support available for those who need it to help with some of the initial costs of moving into a private rental property. This includes us paying for the first months’ rent in advance, paying the deposit, support with essential items and discounts on Council Tax.

You can find further information on these under the ‘Additional financial support’ section.

Renting with another family

Renting a property with another family will reduce the cost and make it more affordable. For people claiming benefits, there is a significant gap between Local Housing Allowance (LHA – the maximum amount of housing benefit you can receive to rent a home) and the actual cost of renting privately. We have launched a buddying scheme to help connect families (up to a maximum of 6 people) to come together to rent one property. This is achievable as between the two families there will be sufficient housing benefit to cover the rent on a far wider range of homes and there is still enough left to pay bills and live on. The property will have to be rented under a joint tenancy for this to be able to work (this means both families coming together and both responsible for paying rent).

If you are a family who would wish to be buddied with another family, please get in contact with us at so we can try to help you.

Sharing a home may also be a better option for working families, so anyone wanting to consider this option is encouraged to get in touch.


The current Homes for Ukraine scheme provides thank you payments for up to 2 years to hosts for opening their home to guests. There is the option for hosts to become resident landlords if they chose to set up a lodging agreement, or an alternative to this for the guest to rent a room in the property from the host at the local housing allowance rate. This will involve setting up a tenancy between the host (who will be the landlord) and guest. The Government’s website has several webpages on how to set up a lodging agreement, more details about the scheme, and further information on tenancy types. You can visit the Government’s website for more information.

Additional financial Support

Due to the high cost of private rental in this area, we have allocated money received from Government for the Homes for Ukraine scheme to help guests access rental properties. The main schemes are:

     Rent Deposit Scheme

  • If you cannot afford the deposit for a private rental, we will pay this for you (up to a maximum of one month’s rent).
  • This scheme will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and has qualifying criteria.
  • The payment will be made directly to the landlord and/or agent.
  • The deposit we pay does not have to be paid back to the Council and will be paid back to you at the end of the tenancy (if there are no deductions to your deposit).

For more information contact us on

     Rent in Advance

  • Landlords or agents usually ask for one month’s rent in advance. If you are unable to pay this, we will pay it for you to help you secure the property.
  • This scheme will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and has qualifying criteria.
  • The payment will be made directly to the landlord and/or agent.

For more information contact us on

Help with essential items

We have created a scheme that will help guests with some of the costs of essential white goods and furniture needed to rent accommodation. An assessment will be carried out to consider the household’s income and expenditure to ascertain if a family is unable to meet the costs themselves. The maximum award per household is £2,000. The essential items we will consider funding are:

  • 2-seater sofa
  • 3-seater sofa
  • Double bed with mattress
  • Single bed with mattress
  • Wardrobe
  • Bedding (double and/or single), including pillows and duvet
  • Cooker, including fitting
  • Fridge freezer
  • Under counter fridge and/or freezer
  • Washing machine.

For more information contact us on

Other initial financial barriers to accessing rented accommodation

We can also consider other costs that might be a barrier to a guest accessing rented accommodation. This includes things such as moving costs. You can discuss these barriers and potential support with our Homes for Ukraine Team.

For more information contact us on

Council Tax discounts

Ukrainian guests are eligible for a discount on their Council Tax if their property is only occupied by those who have been living in the district under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Please contact our revenues team on to discuss this.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

  • Our Homes for Ukraine DHP fund has been set up to help Ukrainian guests who have a short-term period of hardship once they have already begun renting a home. The hardship will mean they are struggling to pay their rent.
  • We had an existing Discretionary Housing Payment scheme and the details and way you apply are the same.

To qualify for this payment, you must be in receipt of Universal Credit or housing benefit, and you have a shortfall in your rent.

Thank you in advance for your help in communicating this important information to your guests, and for your continued support.

Gareth Bell
Communications and Communities Service Manager
South Cambridgeshire District Council