If you are a refugee or asylum seeker hoping to find a host to stay with, please read the information on this page.
The information can be translated using the Translate link below. If you would like help from Refugees at Home, please ask your referrer to get in touch with us, use the referral form at the bottom of this page, or contact our team for further advice.
Refugees at Home is a national UK charity, which supports destitute asylum seekers and refugees by matching them with a host . We are an independent charity and are not connected to the government or the Home Office. All our hosts are volunteers and do not get paid.
We can help refugees and asylum seekers that are actively engaged in the asylum process and have a plan to move on from hosting. Hosting is temporary and we expect all guests to be working with professionals, such as their referrer, solicitor and support workers to help progress their case and move on from hosting.
If you are an asylum seeker, you will have a referrer, who will keep us updated on your situation and support you to move on from hosting. If you are a Refugee and have self-referred to us, we expect that you will be updating us regularly on your situation and be exploring move on accommodation options. Unfortunately, we are unable to host people as an alternative to Home Office accommodation (NASS).
Guests whose hosting is arranged through Refugees at Home have the right to be made aware of our Safeguarding policy and complaints procedure as appropriate, to have any complaint or allegation recognised and taken seriously, to receive fair and respectful treatment, to be involved in any process as appropriate and to receive information about the outcome.
Once we have received your referral form, we will ask you or your referrer more questions about your situation so that we can assess whether we can help or not. If we cannot help then we will contact you or your referrer and explain why. If we can help then we will try and match you with a host close to where you would like to stay. We may not be able to find you a host in the location you want to stay because in some of the bigger cities, such as London, lots of people want to stay there and we only have a limited number of hosts available. We might also not be able to find a host for the length of time that you need so you may need to move to another host during your period of hosting with us. In these cases, we might ask you to be flexible on your location and consider a host living in more rural areas.
When we have found a potential host we share the details with your referrer or you directly. Your referrer or you can then arrange for your arrival. This can seem a little daunting at first but our hosts are kind and generous people and will welcome you into their home.
Some of our hosts have house pets such as cats and dogs. This is common in the UK and we recognise that this is different in other countries. We ask you on the referral form to tell us if you are happy living with pets or not. It is often difficult for us to find a host that matches your needs exactly so we may ask you if you can be flexible about this.
Our hosts are volunteers, we do not pay them to host guests. It is important that you do not ask your hosts for money. If you are in financial difficulties please speak with your referrer or if you do not have one, contact the Refugees at Home Placement Team
Some of our hosts will drink alcohol or eat pork. Some of our hosts will have different dietary requirements. Our hosts all have different views on religion and sexuality such as LGBTQ+, and we ask that everyone is respectful and tolerant of those differences. We ask our hosts to respect your views and practices too. In some cases we might match a host and a guest because of certain circumstances.
Some of our hosts are single females. It is common for single women to live alone in the UK and we recognise that this is different in other countries. We ask that all hosts are treated with respect even if they are living in a way that is unfamiliar to you.
Hosts might set out some house rules before or during your placement to help you to understand what is acceptable in their home. This will hopefully help you and your host to feel comfortable and help build a positive relationship. This will not involve any work related or inappropriate jobs or activity. If you are unsure of any of the rules or feel worried, you can speak with your hosts, referrer or us directly.
Some of our hosts will give you a set of keys for the house and some will not. Hosts may want to talk to you about the security in the home such as burglar alarms that are set up for when you enter and leave the home. It is important that once your placement ends, you give back the keys if you have been given them.
It is important that you do not invite friends or family into the host’s home without their permission beforehand. Please check with your host before making any arrangements.
Our hosts all have different family circumstances. Some hosts may have children that are still young and living at home, some may have older children that live away from home but visit occasionally and others may not have children at all. Some of our hosts may live on their own and others may live with a partner or friend. It is important that regardless of the situation, guests and hosts respect each other.
If you smoke, most of our hosts will not be happy for you to smoke in their home or in your bedroom. Please check with your host where you can smoke and where you should leave your cigarette butts. It is good to be open and honest with your hosts as this will avoid any problems or tensions. If you drink alcohol, please ask your hosts if they are happy for you to bring alcohol into their home. Excessive drinking is unlikely to be tolerated by your host and this may become a reason for a placement to end. You cannot use or bring illegal substances into your host’s home. If you do, your placement will end immediately.
Placements can end for lots of different reasons but as hosting is only temporary, you will be working towards your move on plans as agreed at the start of your placement. Your move on plan could be into Home Office NASS accommodation, into your own tenancy, with a friend or into emergency accommodation.
When you leave your host’s home you might feel sad and anxious but remember that hosting is only a small part of your journey in the UK and there are lots of people in this country who will help and support you on the next part of your journey, whatever that might be. We hope that hosting is a positive experience for you and we would love to hear your feedback on your experiences of hosting with us.
In some cases, we might need to move you to another host’s home. This will most likely not be anything personal about you but your host’s circumstances may change unexpectedly or maybe they only agreed to host for a fixed period of time.
In some cases, Refugees at Home, have to make the decision to end a placement if things are not working out for either the guest or the host. If something that we deem serious has happened, then we might ask you to leave your host’s home immediately, without much notice. We will issue your host with a Placement Ending Letter that they will give to you with the reasons why we have stepped in and need your placement to end. If you have a referrer, we will also notify them. Whilst we try our best to avoid these situations it is sometimes out of our control. It is important that if we do need to end a placement, you respond respectfully. Our Placement Team is available if you want to discuss this in more detail or feel this decision is not right. You can contact us directly via email or telephone.
Yes you can make contact with us again and you can also make another referral to us for hosting in the future if and when your circumstances change.
You and your host may decide to stay in touch after your placement ends. This is ok but it is important to remember that your host is still limited in the ways they can support you and they are still unable to help with your case. This is not because they do not care but they do not have the specialist knowledge in different areas to make decisions on your situation and advise. There are many specialised services who can support you with issues such as, around your asylum claim, housing and mental health. Please see the information on ‘Support’ for more details. Some guests do not want to keep in contact with their hosts and that is OK too – the decision is between you and your host.
If you are unhappy about anything in your placement please speak with your referrer, if you have one. If not, please do speak to us. We are always happy to help you and we want to ensure that placements work for both hosts and guests. You can contact us on 0300 365 4724 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When we make placements we try to take all your requirements into consideration. Sometimes it is not possible to offer the exact location or placement requirements. This means we won’t be able to offer alternative placements due to location unless new hosts become available.
If you have a referrer, they will be best placed to answer any questions about other services that are available to support you. Refugees at Home are unable to support you with casework so you need to speak with your referrer or seek advice from specialist services that can help. Below are some helpful links where you can find more information and support.
Charities and support – Support & Tools for Refugees | fencesandfrontiers
Doctors- How to register with a doctor- NHS
Mental Health – Support services for your Mental Health – NHS
Finding a Job – Help with Finding a Job – Refugee Council
Modern Slavery – Leaflet for Modern Slavery Victims