A York charity helping to house Ukrainian refugees has put out an urgent call to landlords with empty properties in the city, as the number of families fleeing here from war-torn Ukraine continues to rise.

York City of Sanctuary also wants to hear from employers who may have job opportunities for refugees.

Rebecca Russell, the charity's communications manager, said the latest figures showed more than 150 Ukranian people - mostly women and children - had now settled in York.

Hundreds more had been granted visas or were in the process of applying.

Hosts in York had been enormously generous in offering accommodation, Rebecca said.

But what was really needed now was flats or houses where Ukrainian families could live independently - and jobs, so that refugees could begin to get back on their feet.

With the war in Ukraine dragging on, the Ukrainian families are likely to be here for some time, Rebecca said.

"So they need to be able to make a life for themselves."

Rebecca said that the Ukrainian refugees were highly motivated - and often highly educated. Many had had good careers in their own country, as dentists or lawyers. Others worked as teachers or hairdressers

They had clear priorities once they arrived in York, she said: getting their children into school, learning English, then finding a job.

And once they have been here a few months, many will want to find a home they can make their own.

That's why City of York Sanctuary is trying to find flats and houses in York where Ukrainian families can live more independently.

"We are appealing for landlords to get in touch - anyone with a property that they would be willing to offer on a Local Housing Allowance rent basis," Rebecca said.

Ukrainian refugees initially get Universal Credit - then, once they find jobs, will start to be able to pay their own way. "They will be good tenants!"

The charity is keen, however, to avoid placing refugee families in remote rural areas.

North Yorkshire County Council revealed this week many Ukrainian refugees in rural areas were struggling - and were often left 'entirely dependent' on host families.

Many Ukrainian refugee families were from big cities, and would feel lost in the countryside, Rebecca said.

"So we haven't placed anybody in rural areas. They need to be able to walk to places - for example, to take their children to school. And they need to be able to access the services that we offer in York, and come together as a community, and find jobs!"

That last is vital, she said.

There have already been good offers of jobs in restaurants and supermarkets. But more are needed.

"These are people with a really good mix of skills," she said. "So we're making a call to local business people - if you have jobs to offer, please come forward!"

If you are a landlord or an employer who can help, contact York City of Sanctuary at contact@yorkcos.org.uk