Host information: Finances


It can be difficult talking about money, but often our hosts ask us about finances – whether their guests will have any money, what financial support they should give, and whether hosting might affect things like council tax or home insurance.

We hope the following information is helpful, but do speak to your Placement Coordinator  if you have any questions.


Financial support

We do not ask a host to give money to their guests. 

Some guests may be working or in receipt of benefits, however many others may have no recourse to public funds.  Some hosts are able to provide food for the guests in these situations, but we understand that not everyone can do this. 

Some hosts provide travel cards/pre-payment cards  to help guests maintain contacts, get to appointments and avoid becoming isolated.  Again, this is appreciated but we understand that not everyone can do this.


Guests’ financial situations

We will tell you what a guest’s situation is when a placement is made.

Some guests will be completely without income. This would include asylum seekers, those making a renewed claim and those who have just received their refugee status.

Someone with refugee status can make a claim for benefits immediately, however, it takes around five weeks for any payment to be made.  Some who have had status for a time may be already working. 

Occasionally a guest might be in receipt of a bursary or grant from another charity.  


The R@H bursary

Thanks to generous donations, we are able to provide a weekly bursary of £30 for guests who are not yet in receipt of benefits (for example universal credit) or not eligible to work.  Once a guest receives their first benefit payment we stop the bursary.  

We pay the bursary to the hosts, some use the bursary to cover additional costs such as food. However, most of our hosts pass it on to their guest for use on things like travel. This is particularly relevant if a guest is placed in a location requiring journeys to attend multiple appointments.

The bursary is set up by the Placement team and we will provide details of this at the outset of your placement.

Should you forget to claim the bursary, we can backdate it to up to eight weeks but not beyond that.  


Giving and receiving money

It is very important that hosts neither accept money from their guests, nor sign anything that could be construed as a tenancy agreement. We are about altruistic hosting in principle – but it’s also for the protection of both guests and hosts.  Our guests are just that, guests, and don’t have the right to stay in a host’s home – but if a host accepts money or signs anything suggesting there is a tenancy, this can cause serious problems. This is also important to ensure the proper boundaries between guest and host remain in place. 

A guest who is earning may want to contribute – and doing some household shopping, for example, may be wholly appropriate.  


Financial impacts of hosting

There is a chance that hosting might affect your sole occupancy council tax discount. The approach taken to this varies from council to council. If you are considering hosting you might want to contact your council with any queries. We can support hosts in explaining their role as hosts to the council.

Hosting may also affect you if you are in receipt of benefits, particularly if the guest is staying for an extended period of time, on the basis that you have a spare room or because the guest is a non-dependent adult who should in the council’s view be paying rent. Different Benefits Officers may approach this differently, so it is important to check directly on how this might impact you. 

We recommend that all hosts have home insurance in place. The scope of coverage offered by insurance policies varies, so a host should contact their insurer with any queries. You may need to notify your insurer, have your policy amended or obtain your insurer’s consent in order to host. While Refugees at Home will endeavour to support hosts and guests, it cannot accept any liability in relation to hosting arrangements.


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