People displaced from Ukraine - interviews: summary report

Key themes and observations from in-depth interviews with people displaced from Ukraine living in Scotland and their hosts.

This document is part of a collection

2. Key Themes and Observations from Interviews with Hosts

Introductory observations

Host interviewees included a mix of those currently offering accommodation to guests who had entered Scotland via any entry route, and those about to host people displaced from Ukraine.

Interviewees were asked a variety of questions on their experiences of and motivations for hosting, and their future intentions.

Motivation to host

Humanitarian reasons were given by many as the primary motivation for choosing to host. While the monthly host payment was welcomed to reduce the financial burden of hosting, it was generally not reported as a primary motivator. ONS also found the key motivation (for 94% of Homes for Ukraine Scheme sponsors) was to 'help people fleeing a war zone'.

Communication during matching and pre-arrival

Many interviewees reported that they had expected better communication from and between official channels during the guest matching process and had found this a frustrating experience. They also reported expecting the matching process to have been quicker.

Most hosts interviewed reported finding a match through third sector organisations, or privately through social media or informal connections, rather than through the Scottish Super Sponsor Scheme and associated matching services. A third (33%) of respondents to the ONS sponsor survey reported meeting their guests directly through social media. Other commonly reported routes included through a matching service (23%) and being introduced by a friend, neighbour or colleague (21%).

Sources of information and support

Lack of information and support on how to prepare for guests arriving and how to get help after they arrived was a common frustration. Participants obtained most of their information – both in terms of emotional support and factual information – from social media, rather than official sources. From the perspective of a participant, an official source could include Scottish Government, UK Government, local authorities, or any other source considered official.

Some found official information helpful, but in general, not comprehensive enough to meet their needs. Other interviewees were more critical of official information. More than half of ONS survey respondents said that advice about providing support or dealing with challenges, signposting to available information, and information about Ukrainian culture would be useful.

Prior expectations and preparations

Hosts' expectations in relation to their guests shaped how they prepared for their arrival. Some anticipated that their guests would have experienced trauma, there would be cultural differences, and / or challenges communicating. Others gave thought to establishing 'house rules' and how they might manage any conflict that arose. Many had not fully considered what hosting would be like or the impact it would have on them and their families.

A range of preparations were undertaken by hosts in anticipation of their guests arriving and what their needs might be, with some investing a significant amount of time, effort and expense in preparing. Most undertook preparations of a practical nature (buying items or making modifications to their home, or the way they used their home, to accommodate guests).

How the hosting experience turned out

Interviewees had varied experiences of hosting. For some it was positive overall, with some reporting it had turned out better than anticipated, while others' experiences were a lot less positive, some from the start of the hosting arrangement, others had deteriorated over time.

Some felt the arrangement succeeded because their guests were living in a separate property, while others enjoyed having other people living in their home and (where it was the case) liked the familial aspects of communal living, eating and spending time together. Some hosts had expected they would spend more time together with their guests than they had done.

Even when the experience had turned out well, some participants described the 'psychological toll' of hosting.

Some of the challenges interviewees reported reflected challenges also identified by respondents to the UK-wide ONS survey including: agreeing house rules and arrangements with my guests (32%); getting to know and building relationships with my guests (31%); sharing a kitchen or other living space (31%); and, agreeing length of stay (22%).

Provision of Practical Support

Host interviewees reported providing assistance in a range of ways, from help with forms and applications, to accompanying guests to appointments, and providing assistance with shopping and cooking. They were generally surprised at the amount of time and effort they felt they needed to spend to help their guests get set up with life in Scotland.

These findings are also reflected in the ONS survey which found that almost all current or previous Homes for Ukraine Scheme sponsors (99%) regularly provided some form of support beyond accommodation, such as: showing guests around their new surroundings (reported by 92%); helping guests settle into the community (84%); taking guests to appointments (84%); helping their guests set up services such as a phone or bank accounts (93%); helping guests to register with healthcare providers (91%) and apply for their £200 grant (90%).

Pastoral Care and Support

Some hosts found themselves in a pastoral care role for which they felt unprepared. Some reported they felt guests were not getting adequate support from elsewhere. Some hosts were conscious of needing to allow space for guests to talk about their experiences and/or had sought information to help them support their guest emotionally.

Relationships with hosts' family, friends, and community

Interviewees spoke about how their own local networks had been largely supportive of them hosting. Examples were given where the hosts' social relationships and community had helped them directly access support and/or opportunities for their guest that might otherwise have been harder to come by. However some spoke about how it had caused tensions with neighbours, and for some it had created tensions between different family members within the host household.

Extending the hosting commitment

Some hosts indicated they would consider continuing to host beyond 6-12 months if their guest needed them to; with ongoing receipt of the monthly payment particularly important in the context of the rising cost of living. Negotiations for ending or extending hosting arrangements at the end of the initially agreed term had placed some hosts and guests in a difficult position. Some expressed a desire for additional guidance on this. Some hosts expressed concern about the barriers and the lack of options available for their guests to move into their own accommodation in Scotland.



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