A FAMILY that fled Ukraine is having to ‘fight to be treated humanely’ after arriving in Southampton only to end up homeless.

Nataliia Golikova is living in a hotel with her two daughters, 14-year-old Dariia and 16-year-old Anastasiia, with her nephew, Danylo Kuksa, 16.

The family arrived in Southampton after fleeing Ukraine but they have no host family in the city. It's understood a visa mix-up is at the heart of the problem.

It comes as Home Office data shows there were 13 refugee households in Southampton either homeless or at risk of homelessness as of June 3.

This included seven families whose relationship with their hosts broke down, and six who arrived and found their accommodation to be unsuitable.

Nataliia's family has been receiving support from Melanie Tudjaroglu from the Southampton Ukrainian Community Support Group.

She said: “After being forcefully displaced from their home and country, it is heartbreaking to see them arrive in the UK and still have to fight to be treated humanely.

“I hope that Nataliia and the children get somewhere to live so they can finally live somewhere they feel supported and safe.”

Nataliia and the three teenagers escaped from Odesa at the end of April and lived in Nice, France, for a month.

The family arrived in the UK in mid-June and were due to travel to Scotland to live, but they were advised by friends to come to Southampton instead.

Homeless, they were offered a hostel by Southampton City Council but the family said the room they had was in a sorry state.

According to the family, there was black mould on the walls, and they couldn’t stay due to one sister suffering from asthma.

While staying there the family even had their food stolen and suffered from some anti-social behaviour.

READ MORE: Ukrainian refugees turning up for visa appointments in Southampton greeted by empty office

Youngster Danylo told the Echo: “There was a man who drank too much, and he would speak very loudly, screaming very loudly.”

Danylo’s parents are both doctors and have stayed in Ukraine to help treat victims of the war.

Nataliia, 45, said: “Back in Ukraine we were a completely normal family but when we arrived at the hostel we were shocked.

"But we are very grateful for the people who helped us so we want to thank them.

“We will try to do our best to integrate into this new community.”

The family received help from Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith.

The family is in a hotel until July 1 waiting for the city council to make a decision on housing.

Mr Smith said: “My office was informed that the family should have arrived in Scotland.

"The Scottish Government have a different system of matching sponsors, which has caused the confusion.

"Melanie and the Southampton Ukrainian support group who alerted us to this have done a remarkable job and continue to do so.

"Southampton City Council are doing what they can to accommodate the family while they find a more permanent solution."

Southampton City Council said it receives no funding for refugees who arrive under the Ukrainian Friends and Family Scheme.

People arriving under this scheme should stay with friends and family.
And refugees unable to stay in accommodation will be assessed for homelesness by the council.

But the council added: "There is a limited supply of accommodation for all people who present as homeless."

More than 600 individuals have been helped at the authority's Welcome Hub at Central Library since March.

A statement said: "Members of the Welcome Hub team have regularly been deployed to work with people intensively, particularly where large families have arrived in Southampton, often traumatised, and needing help finding their feet and ensuring their emergency needs are covered.

"Central Library staff are trained to provide advice and assistance to Ukrainian refugees when the Welcome Hub is closed, and those with housing-related concerns are encouraged to contact our Housing Service Team."

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