Points To Consider Before Hosting A Refugee

Points To Consider Before Hosting A Refugee – source: refugeesathome.org 

Accommodation:

  • What access will the guest have to various parts of the property, times of day, will they have key, burglar alarm code?
  • Is the accommodation accessible if necessary? (i.e. is there a bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor?)
  • Will the guest be able to cook, wash clothes?  Who takes responsibility for cleaning what parts of property? 
  • Are there rules around smoking, drinking, noise and religious practice?  
  • Is there access to telephone, internet?
  • Are there any pets in your house? Are they bringing pets?
  • Think about insurance. Does the policy cover guests? If not there may be a need for the host to get the policy amended. This should not be problematic.
  • Is there any restriction on the use of the property? Eg a requirement for the mortgage lender or landlord consent?

Placement

  • Are all members of the household happy with the potential arrangement? Has anyone expressed any reservations?
  • If there are children in the household, have the adults responsible discussed the hosting with them? Have they considered possible effects?
  • How will they cope with refugees who may have disturbed nights, possibly waking others? Are they prepared to offer emotional support if needed? Explore what emotional support they think/are prepared to offer and give information as how to access assistance with emotional matters as required. 
  • Find out how to seek help if hosts have concerns.
  • Will the guest be expected to do anything?  Will the guest have the opportunity to help if they want to?  How will the balance of tasks be handled?
  • Will the host help develop the guestโ€™s opportunities and skills, eg help with learning English, form filling, life in the UK, work skills, IT skills etc Please explain that the referrer will continue to actively support the guest with these things for the duration of hosting.

Finance

  • Refugees may have no money. Consider what the financial implications for the host are. 
  • Can they provide three meals per day? If not can they afford any meals eg. Breakfast only?
  • Can they provide anything towards travel costs?

Consider:

  • Consider the role as host which is to provide a safe and stable place to stay. They are not expected to do more than this. 
  • Refugees and asylum seekers are, by definition, vulnerable. That doesn’t mean they aren’t articulate, intelligent, determined human beings with personal agency; but they are also in a complicated legal and personal situation, often having endured very difficult circumstances that has left them with very complex things to work through; and all this in an alien country & culture. Hosts need to be very aware of the power differential, and consider whether consent is informed consent. That particularly includes sexual relationships, also business relationships, any financial agreements (our advice would be donโ€™t sign any while hosting) or even very intense friendships. 
  • It is essential to consider the importance of boundaries and for hosts to know they are not responsible for guests beyond what is reasonably expected within the remit of hosting. This is to protect the host and guest.
  • In the event of any concerns, please contact the Creu Roja Catalunya.
  • We would like all hosts to be able to join a hub. Currently we have hubs in North and West London and Dorking. We are working to set more up across the UK. Please talk to the hosts about this, tell them about the local hub if there is one, and ask if they are happy for their contact details to be shared with the hub coordinator. 

See the links page HERE for where to list for refugees and also check out the lessons learned by previous hosts.