When a new host applies to Refugees at Home, we search for a Home Visitor within close range, who has not been asked recently to visit someone. Home visits are happening virtually in response to Coronavirus, so we may ask a home visitor who lives further away from the host. We will still try to keep this local where possible. We send the home visitor an initial request, asking if they have time to visit a host in this postcode area. If you are sent a request and are not available, please just let us know as quickly as you can. We really appreciate that you are volunteering your time to help us, and expect that you won’t always be free for home visits. We will find another Home Visitor to ask. However while we wait to hear back from you, our hosts face delays in their registration process. Some of our hosts reply in direct response to an emergency appeal for a placement, so time is really important. We avoid asking anyone to make a visit where they already have an outstanding request in play but occasionally we may ask. If you feel we are making too many demands on your time, tell us. We don’t want to overwhelm you and really do understand that you are busy people with lives, jobs and families.
After you have agreed to a home visit, we will send you a web link to allow only you access the host’s application form. This will include all the information that the host has entered about their household, and their contact details. At this stage, we leave it to you to contact them, explaining your role and that you would like to arrange a time for their home visit. We would expect you to contact them as soon as you can, and to visit within 3 weeks. If this is not possible for any reason, please let us know why. We can reallocate to another Home Visitor on this occasion. Otherwise we will expect you to keep in touch with us and with your host regarding when the visit will take place. It is really important that hosts are not left for long periods with no communication about what they can expect to happen. We know that this can put hosts off and sometimes lead to them withdrawing their application.
We would like you to talk to all of the household members unless there are major complications to doing this. It is important to check that everyone in the household wants to host. When you arrange your meeting with the host, it is useful to remind them that you will need to talk to everyone. For many households this could mean seeing them on the weekend or during the evenings. Very occasionally we may also send you details of a possible guest for the host you are going to see. This happens when we have a very specific request and feel that the host is someone who has particular skills or lives in exactly the right place to support that guest. We will ask you to discuss hosting in general but also to look together at the details of that guest with a view to hosting them.
Sometimes hosts are slow to respond to an invitation to set up a meeting. Often this is just life getting in the way. However it can also be an indication that a host is having second thoughts. Keep going, and perhaps mention on the phone that it is normal to have concerns at this stage. Some hosts just need to acknowledge their worries and an opportunity to think them through with you and be reassured. However ultimately this is your judgement to make – we don’t want you to spend too much time on a visit if a host is really not keen, and equally we don’t want to lose a potential host. Don’t put the host under too much pressure but a level of anxiety is inevitable so don’t be put off right away! If you don’t get a response from emailing your host, try a phone call or text message. Some people have very tight spam filters and don’t check their spam boxes or respond to voicemail but most will respond to a text message.
If you get no response, please refer back to the placement team, who will make a last attempt to contact the host.
If a new Home Visitor requests this, we can match them with a more experienced Home Visitor so that they can talk through any concerns or uncertainties. If possible, we will match you with an experienced Home Visitor in the same physical area or practice area. Please let us know if this would help you.