Dear Home Visitors,

First to say a huge thank you for all you have done so far in enabling Refugees At Home to get going properly in the last month or so. Some of you have made four or more visits already but we know we have yet to ask some of you further away from where we either have requests from the referring groups or hosts who have filled out the application forms. Please be patient with us.

Meanwhile, if we haven’t started you off yet, could you recruit some hosts, especially if you are in or near London, Bristol or one of the other dispersal centres? That would be wonderful.

We are already making a difference. Two stories:

  1. One Syrian man arrived to join his wife. She is living in a woman only hostel and he cannot stay there. St Mungo’s contacted us for emergency hosting and two of our hosts in South West London have already helped. We hope St Mungo’s will find them a place soon, but at least he is not on the street.
  1. The Refugee Council called on Friday at 4pm. They had a family of three Iranians who would be “street homeless” that night – or literally on the street. They had tried all the local churches, hostels and refuges. Can we help? And this amazing couple in Headley in Surrey, who had been assessed but had never taken anyone before, said yes straight away and the family were on their way in an hour. Amazing generosity and flexibility. I thought the Refugee Council Destitution worker was going to weep when I said we could place them all.

We know we have asked a lot of you, what would you like from Refuges At Home? One Home Visitor says you would like to know more about how we source the guests. Mostly we find them as organisations dealing with asylum-seekers and refugees get to hear about us. We have had referrals from The Refugee Council, Haringey Migrant Support, New North London Synagogue drop-in, St Mungo’s, Ashley Community Housing  in Bristol and some referrals through social media/ word of mouth. If the latter is the route, we ask for references for the guest.

We also have self-imposed limitations: we don’t place unaccompanied minors (under 18), nor people with serious mental health problems, nor those with drink or drug issues. We also don’t take economic migrants.

We have made over twenty placements so far. If you want to keep up to date, do look at the website and we will try and send out a newsletter now and again – when issues arise. We will be posting some FAQs on the website soon so you will be able to access almost anything we know (and suggest new topics) and we will attach a list of helpful contacts which Ed Maw has drawn up for us.

Would you like a group for Home Visitors where you can share knowledge and concerns? If so, would anyone volunteer to co-ordinate it?

Once again, very many thanks and good wishes,

Sara & Nina and the core team

Refugees At Home