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An extra £250 is being paid to people in Portsmouth who have committed to housing refugees in the national Homes for Ukraine scheme to thank them and cover additional costs at Christmas.

Portsmouth City Council has made the payment this week from funds allocated to cover the costs of about 150 Ukrainians who have arrived since April under this visa.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness, Cllr Darren Sanders, said: “This is my opportunity to thank all 80 hosts who have housed Ukrainians during the year and to wish them and our guests a merry Christmas.

“The Homes for Ukraine scheme has been an important, if entirely unexpected, part of our work during 2022, and so I hope the additional £250 contribution we have made to the hosts will help at this time of year when our Ukrainian guests face a difficult Christmas away from home.”

This is the second time the council has pledged extra money for visa scheme hosts. The council announced in September that it would top up the £350 monthly payment made by the government by £100 for six months. This runs from the sixth to the 12th month that the hosts are involved.

There is the opportunity for more Portsmouth households to join the Homes for Ukraine scheme as hosts, either receiving new arrivals from Ukraine or providing new homes people who are already in the UK. If you have any spare bedrooms and are interested in making the commitment, email to start the process.

The government has also announced extra funding for hosts who remain in the scheme for a second year, increasing the monthly payment from £350 to £500 from the 13th month, as well as other measures for refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan.

This includes a £500m council housing fund to provide additional homes for refugees fleeing conflict in Afghanistan, Ukraine and elsewhere from which Portsmouth will receive a share.