The UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine programme allows Ukrainians without ties in the UK to resettle using a sponsorship scheme. But because sponsor households need to already be in contact with the individual or family they want to help, many cannot move forward because they have no existing connections.
The US is also opening its borders, initially to 100,000 fleeing Ukraine. Details of this program are still to be announced, but it can be expected that large numbers of Americans will open their homes to refugees. Canada, similarly, has committed support. Again, however, it is likely that the lack of any existing connections to Ukrainian citizens will act as a barrier.
This is where Rehome Ukraine comes in.
The concept is simple. We connect Ukrainian home-seekers with households offering accommodation. We are not the only ones endeavouring to do this, but we believe we offer a better solution in three important ways:
- Our networks in Ukraine mean that we have not just set up a platform and hope that people notice. Using the same channels that in normal times help blood collectors communicate with millions of blood donors (see ‘about us’ section) we are proactively offering registration to large numbers of Ukrainians. This gives households wishing to offer their home a much better chance of being paired.
- With large numbers normally comes complexity, and showing hundreds or thousands of potential matches could easily become overwhelming. That is why we don’t work this way. Rather, we ask similar questions of the home-seekers and sponsoring households and then run these answers through a sophisticated AI algorithm to come up with the best match. Some responses are hard coded (for example, if someone says they can only rehome 2 people they will never be offered a match of 3 or more; a household unwilling to take a pet will never be matched with a Ukrainian family with a dog, and so on). Other considerations – for example a preference for a certain gender or children of a certain age – are built in as preferences. We don’t think that people would necessarily turn away a match that is good in many other ways based on these factors, but it seems to make sense to account for these things where we can.
- As an organisation with a footprint in the US as well as the UK (we are a registered charity in both) we are well placed to take advantage of opportunities arising on each side of the Atlantic. This increases the chances of rehoming for Ukrainians engaging with this platform.
Once the match is made – and we run the day’s registrations overnight so this usually takes 24-hours or less – we email the home seeker with the profile of their potential new household.
If the match is accepted, the Ukrainian individual or family is introduced by email to the rehoming household. If accepted, at this point the respective contact details are shared and the role of Rehome Ukraine ends. Both parties are now responsible for managing the next steps in a way that works for each side. In the case of the UK, the government’s Home for Ukraine scheme will now need to be navigated. There is lots of online advice around this, so we will not repeat it here.