Information for guests
This section contains advice and information for anyone who is looking for temporary accomodation through Refugees at Home.
It is important that all guests read through the guidance on this page. If you are a refugee or asylum seeker looking for a room for yourself, please read our Guest application guide as well as the information below. If you are from an organisation who will act as the guest’s referrer, please also read our Referrer application guide.
Finding you a host
Once we have received a referral for you, we will contact you or your referrer to find out more about you. If you feel uncomfortable answering any of our questions, please let us know. All the information you share with us is kept securely and only shared with your host on a ‘need to know’ basis and for the duration of the hosting period.
It’s important for us to learn as much as possible about you and your requirements because this will help us decide if we can find you a suitable host. If we cannot help we will do our best to connect you with another organisation who can. We do not pass your details onto any statutory, official organisations such as the Home Office or a Local Authority unless it’s to confirm that we have provided hosting for you.
If you have self-referred to us, or do not know your referrer well, we will ask for character references for you before we decide if we can host you.
Once we have accepted your referral, our placement team will begin to look for a host for you, doing our best to meet the criteria you have specified. It’s important for you to be realistic about the hosts we may be able to find you, and to be flexible about the location in which you are prepared to be hosted. There is a very high demand for placements in inner city areas. People are generally more prepared to host those who have received their covid vaccinations, are non-smokers and are comfortable around pets.
We are not able to provide a choice of hosts to you, but we will always make the best match we can.
Once a placement has been agreed, we will introduce you or your referrer to the host to make arrangements for your arrival.
Depending on how long you need a room, you may be moved between hosts. We understand that this can be disruptive but it does happen on occasion. We will give you as much notice as possible if this is going to happen.
Before your placement begins we will ask you or your referrer to sign a referral agreement with us. This states that you understand what hosting is, that it is only temporary, and that you commit to work on your move on plan throughout your placement.
- There is very high demand for hosts in inner city areas
- It is more likely that we will be able to find you a host if you don’t smoke, you have had your covid vaccinations, and you are comfortable around pets
- We can’t give you a choice of host, but we will always do our best to make the best match we can
About our hosts
Our hosts are all volunteers. They will not get paid for hosting you. Our hosts have different backgrounds and experiences, they will be different ages and have different households; some may have children, or live alone or with housemates. Our hosts are diverse, and we see hosts with a range of religious beliefs, sexual orientation, nationality and views.
It’s very important that guests are respectful of the views and identities of their hosts, as well as the other way around.
- Our hosts are all volunteers – they are not paid to host you
- It is important that guests are respectful of their host’s views and identities – and they will respect yours too
Moving into a host’s home
You may feel worried about moving in with a stranger. Please rest assured that we will have visited your host and checked the accommodation. Your host is ready to welcome you, and we are on hand to support them.
We ask that you or your referrer arrange in advance with your host the time of your arrival on the date your placement is agreed to start. You can ask for directions and what you need to do when you arrive.
When you arrive, take time to get to know where you will be staying and ask your host any questions you have about how they would like you to behave in their home
Here are some things you may like to ask your host about:
- How to use things in the home such as the shower, washing machine or other facilities.
- Are they happy for you to use their Wi-Fi/broadband?
- Where you can store your things.
- What times they would be happy for you to use the kitchen.
- Your host is looking forward to welcoming you – and we are on hand to support them
During your stay
We encourage all hosts to have clear ‘house rules’. These are important for a good hosting relationship and will help both you and your host feel comfortable. The rules will differ from host to host but are likely to include:
- Whether you will have a set of keys for their home. If you do, make sure you always keep these safely and tell your host straightaway if you lose them.
- Cooking times and what you can cook. Some of our hosts may be vegetarian or have dietary requirements such as keeping kosher or halal. They may ask you not to prepare specific foods in their home.
- If you are a smoker, where they will permit you to smoke. This is very unlikely to be in their home.
- If they are happy for you to have people visit you. It’s very important that you ask their permission before inviting someone over to their home.
- If there are any rooms in their home they do not wish you to go in.
Please note that no illegal substances should be used or brought into the host’s home. If you do, the placement will be ended immediately.
While it is your responsibility to keep the room in which you are staying clean and tidy, as well as any shared spaces, your host will not ask you to work for free.
If you are worried about any of the house rules you can speak to your host, referrer, or your Placement Coordinator if you self-referred to us.
Remember, you do not need to tell your host anything about your journey to the UK and they will likely not ask you about this. You do not need to share anything you don’t want to.
Our hosts are not trained in immigration, benefits or the housing system. If you need advice on these issues then please speak to your referrer, a caseworker, or ask your Placement Coordinator who can point you to places you can get help.
Our contact with you during a placement
Your Placement Coordinator will check in with you (or your referrer) and your host regularly throughout your placement. We’ll be asking you how your move on plan is developing and what is happening. This is because hosting is never permanent, and we expect our guests to keep working toward longer term housing.
If you have an issue or concern during your placement, you can contact your referrer or Placement Coordinator. It’s very important that you let your referrer or Placement Coordinator know as soon as possible if there is an issue in your placement, we can only resolve things if we know about them.
- Your host will probably have ‘house rules’ so you both know what is expected. Please make sure you understand them, and ask your host if you have any questions
- You don’t have to talk to your host about anything that makes you feel uncomfortable
- Your Placement Coordinator will be available throughout your stay and will check in with you or your referrer
The end of your placement
Placements can end for lots of different reasons but as hosting is only temporary, you know that you must be working on your move on plan. This might be a move to Home Office 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.
In some cases, Refugees at Home must make the decision to end a placement if things are not working out for either the guest or the host. If something that we think is serious has happened, then we might ask you to leave your host’s home immediately or without much notice. We will provide you or your referrer with a Placement Ending Letter that they will give to you with the reasons why it must end. If you have a referrer, we will also notify them. Whilst we try to avoid having to do this, it can happen from time to time.
When you leave your host’s home you should return any keys they have given you and leave your room clean and as you found it.
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. Please let your Placement Coordinator know how it went, or email us on email@example.com. Thank you!
- Hosting is only temporary – you should always be working on a move on plan
- Hosting is just one part of your journey – there are lots of people here who will help and support you in your next steps in the UK
- We hope that you enjoy your time with our hosts, and we would love to hear your feedback