CRUISE ships and hotels are not appropriate accommodation for Ukrainian refugees staying in Scotland, a report has warned.

The British Red Cross study said many have been living in “windowless” cabins without any clear indication of when they will be moved to more permanent accommodation.

The report also warned Ukrainian families are at risk of homelessness, with cost-of-living pressures and barriers to securing private accommodation playing a major part.

Although the Scottish Government doesn’t currently monitor Ukrainian refugees at risk of homelessness, it has been reported at least 310 people are seeking homelessness support from councils in Scotland.

The Super Sponsor Scheme, which allowed Ukrainians to select the Scottish Government as their sponsor and receive a visa to travel to Scotland immediately, had high numbers of applications but the charity has warned that the scheme does not have the infrastructure required to meet demand.

More than 23,000 arrivals have reached Scotland as of February 7, 2023, with around 6800 Ukrainians still living in temporary "welcome accommodation" in Scotland, including more than 4400 living in hotel rooms and 2400 living on chartered cruise liners in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Rob Murray, British Red Cross director for Scotland, said the Super Sponsor Scheme should be celebrated.

“But one year on, too many Ukrainians are still living in limbo, unable to properly settle in Scotland because they’re staying on ships and in hotel rooms," Murray said. 

"We're worried there’s a real risk of families becoming homeless or spending long periods of time in inappropriate accommodation. This is creating stress and uncertainty for people already dealing with the emotional impact of the conflict.”

There are plans to move people from the Glasgow cruise ship by March 31, but the contract for the Edinburgh ship has been extended until the end of June.

One of the largest providers of refugee services in the UK, the British Red Cross called on the Scottish Government to ensure refugees are accommodated in communities, providing more opportunities for them to integrate into neighbourhoods and rebuild their lives.

Neil Gray, Minister with Special Responsibility for Refugees from Ukraine, said: “The pace and numbers of people who have arrived in Scotland is unprecedented and compares, for example, to the 3,000 people who arrived over five years through the Syrian resettlement scheme.

“We are proud of the warm Scottish welcome we’ve been able to extend to them assisted by the voluntary sector and local authorities across the country.

“The Scottish Government is working intensively with local authorities to match people into longer-term accommodation and our priority is to ensure safe and sustainable accommodation can be provided. Our Longer Term Resettlement Fund is making up to £50 million available to bring empty and void council and Registered Social Landlord properties into use to increase the housing supply.

“Scottish Government officials have worked closely with the British Red Cross throughout the Ukraine crisis to support and welcome displaced people coming to Scotland. The Red Cross are established resilience partners, who regularly offer volunteers to local authorities and other responders, wherever additional third sector support is needed.”