Essex residents are asked to consider offering their homes to Ukrainian guests with Essex County Council receiving around a fifth of applications compared to last year.
The council and its partners saw 2,770 visa applications submitted under the Homes for Ukraine scheme across 2022. This is compared to 601 in 2023 so far.
A total of 270 sponsors have been hosting Ukrainian arrivals for over 12 months in Essex. However, with hosts asked to commit to at least six months, the figure may soon decline.
The potential for a decline in sponsors, combined with lower rate of new applications, means demand may vastly outweigh supply in Essex.
Councillor Kevin Bentley, Leader of the Council, said: “The war in Ukraine has not gone away, and we are still seeing many guests in need of homes.
“Essex is a county full of compassionate people, as shown by the number of sponsors we’ve had. I encourage everyone who is able to seriously consider opening their hearts and homes to those most in need, be it for the first time or as a returning host.
“I know first-hand how beneficial hosting can be and how it can add real richness and value to lives.”
Felicity Buchan, Minister for Housing and Homelessness at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said: "I am so thankful to the tens of thousands of Britons who have shown tremendous generosity in offering our Ukrainian friends' refuge in their homes.
"However, as more Ukrainian families arrive, we will need more sponsors to come forward and continue the UK’s long and proud history of supporting others in their hour of need.
“I want to encourage anyone in Essex interested in hosting to check their eligibility and apply as soon as they can. Your help will be so appreciated.”
To help with living costs, the government is giving sponsors £350 a month for guests spending their first year in the UK, and £500 a month for the second year.
The council is also giving residents £200 per month from months seven to 24 of their guests’ stay in the UK.
Residents can easily register their interest in the Homes for Ukraine scheme at www.gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine.
Sponsors are able to end their hosting at any time, however are asked to host guests for at least six months.