The government website that lets Brits offer up their home to Ukrainian refugees crashed ‘almost immediately’ after it launched yesterday (14 March), according to The Times, with almost 90,000 people now registered for the Homes For Ukraine scheme.
Anyone wanting to give refuge simply has to fill out a registration form to explain what they’re able to provide.
People are able to accommodate a single adult, multiple adults or families in their home, and are also able to offer properties for refugees rather than serving as a live-in host.
According to the government website, individual sponsors will be asked to ‘provide homes or a spare room rent-free for as long as they are able’, with a minimum stay of six months. In return, they will receive £350 per month.
Those who have a ‘named Ukrainian they wish to sponsor’ should contact them directly and ‘prepare to fill in a visa application’, launching on Friday 18 March.
📣NEW - UK individuals, charities, community groups & businesses can now record their interest in supporting Ukrainians fleeing the war through our new Homes for Ukraine scheme.— Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (@luhc) March 14, 2022
Express an interest in becoming a sponsor now ➡ https://t.co/Tnh1cpJEle#StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/vbbINAz3XP
After the scheme was announced, it seems people were so eager to help that the online form ended up crashing just after it launched, with The Times reporting that users were unable to fill it out ‘for up to an hour’.
ITV’s UK Editor Paul Brand tweeted just after 6.30pm to say that thousands had already applied to host Ukrainian refugees.
He wrote: “Wow. 20,000 people have already signed up to offer their home to a refugee according to government sources.”
Brand added: “Which, to be fair, explains why the website keeps crashing.”
Later that evening, Sky News confirmed that 43,000 people had signed up by 9.30pm.
The outlet’s Chief Political Correspondent Jon Craig tweeted: “Michael Gove’s Levelling Up dept tell Sky News that at 9.30pm over 43,000 people had applied to house Ukrainian refugees under Mr Gove’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, up from 20,000 at 6.30pm.”
This morning, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities confirmed the latest figure sits at 88,712.
A spokesperson said the Homes for Ukraine website 'temporarily stalled' after it went live late on Monday afternoon, saying this was due to the 'enormous generosity of the British public'.
The spokesperson also added that the total number of offers was continuing to rise, saying offers were doubling within hours.
As the scheme was launched yesterday, the department's Secretary of State Michael Gove, called on Brits to consider opening up their homes.
He said in a statement: “The courage shown by the Ukrainian people in the face of devastation caused by the invasion of their great country is nothing short of remarkable.
“The United Kingdom has a long and proud history of helping others in their hour of need and our new Homes for Ukraine scheme offers a lifeline to those who have been forced to flee.
“I’m asking people across our country who can provide a home for Ukrainians to consider being sponsors.”