Dear Home Visitors,

The number of Home Visitors is growing rapidly: we have had about a dozen responses to a brief article I placed in Community Practitioner magazine – so a huge welcome to you all. We now have about 50 people who have volunteered to be Home Visitors with Refugees At Home.

Of course, if we are not to exploit you grossly, we could still do with a few more, particularly in London.

Since the last newsletter, we have well topped twenty placements. Some of these are for longer term but quite a few have come up as emergencies on a Friday. We also get emergency placement requests on Mondays when the Haringey Migrant Support Centre is open.

Most of these emergency placements are for lone men. Our problem is that quite a proportion of our hosts specify women only.

When you do Home Visits, could you please point out that a lot of the demand is from men and that hosts will be asked to help less frequently if they are only prepared to take women.

Other news is that two of our longest standing guests have been housed: Ahmad (Jack), our famous Syrian Kurd, managed to get his wife and babies out of the ruins of Aleppo – under the family reunification scheme. They all stayed with Nina and Timothy for a few days and were quickly found a flat by a supportive group in High Wycombe – which has a large Kurdish population (who knew?)  We hope to work more closely with this group.

And “Emily”, an Eritrean woman who came to us when she was 26 weeks pregnant, was finally, under threat of legal action, housed by a council.  There is a duty to house people who are 34 weeks pregnant but there was considerable resistance to doing so.

Of course both our hosts were really pleased when their guests found somewhere stable and independent – but it is a wrench after months of someone living as part of your family. It’s possible that Home Visitors may want to give some support when long-term guests move out – but this is something to discuss.

Talking of discussion…. Our first “hub” of hosts and home visitors is now being established in Surrey. It has its own email address and a Dorking host as co-ordinator.

We think something similar might be possible – although more virtual as you are all over the country – for the Home Visitors.

It now just needs a keen Home Visitor to volunteer to kick-start and co-ordinate. Offers on a postcard please…

Meanwhile, we do now have FAQs – in response to another HV request. They are up on the website.

Suggestions for additions are more than welcome.

Once again, very many thanks and good wishes,

Sara & Nina and the core team

Refugees At Home