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Ukrainian refugee who was sleeping rough in Ealing says council has now housed him after nearly a week on the street
8 August 2023, 13:49
A Ukrainian refugee who told LBC that they were sleeping rough on the streets of West London now says he has been housed by Ealing Council after his plight was reported.
Sergiy, 44, who came to the UK on the Homes for Ukraine scheme, had been sleeping in a sleeping bag next to Ealing Station since last Wednesday night.
When he spoke to LBC on Friday, he was facing another night on the sheet of cardboard he is attempting to use for comfort.
He told LBC: “I am very worried about my safety. How can I sleep? There are lots of strange people passing by.”
But now Sergiy said that after his story was reported "everything started working.”
He added that his new abode “has a bedroom, corridor, kitchen and a garden.
"I now have a desire to be happy and successful. I’m going to the job centre now I have an address I can give.”
“Last week I was just thinking about surviving – I didn’t know where I would have been. I was scared I would end up in a bad situation.”
When he was homeless, Sergiy says he tried to contact Ealing Council, who were originally responsible for him when he first moved to the UK to stay with a host in the area, but claims “no one cares about me”.
Sergiy, who asked for his face to be blurred to protect the support he receives, said he had befriended another homeless person who told him he would “keep watch” whilst he slept, to make sure his belongings weren’t stolen.
At the time, he said: “I have my documents with me. If they are stolen I have nothing and I can go nowhere.”
Sergiy fled the war in Ukraine and came to the UK on the Homes for Ukraine scheme. He lived in Ealing, but his relationship with his host broke down. He found another solution in Ireland, but after the agreement came to an end, he found himself with nowhere left to go.
He said he decided to return to Ealing because the council was originally responsible for him.
But he claims he has had no response from them, after asking for alternative accommodation.
He said: “I wish they would just tell me clearly why. Something doesn’t work.”
He told LBC he had felt relatively safe during his spell on the streets, but caveated “you don’t know who you are going to see – I am scared somebody will smash my head in.”
He tried to access foodbank vouchers but has been told he must wait 3-7 days for a referral. He was also officially registered as homeless.
Ealing Council told LBC: "In July 2023, [Sergiy] made a homelessness application, saying he could no longer stay with his host.
"The council immediately began seeking a new host for [Sergiy], and he accepted a tenancy in the Borough as of today.
"We are pleased that we could support [Sergiy] in finding alternative accommodation after the relationship with the host the government placed him with via Home for Ukraine broke down."