On Tuesday 11th August, JRS UK held on online evening for those who were interested in finding out more about hosting a refugee in need through our ‘At Home’ hosting scheme.
Naomi, the ‘At Home’ scheme’s coordinator, and Nick, our Community Outreach Officer, hosted the evening to give a bit more information about the hosting scheme and how it makes a huge difference to our refugee friends. Naomi explained how the scheme works, arranging a three month stay for a refugee friend of JRS with a host with a spare room in the Greater London area.
If you live in London and would like more information on how you could host a refugee friend of JRS please get in touch with Naomi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Naomi shared how, for so many of our refugee friends, finding somewhere safe to sleep at night is a daily worry. Many rely on sofa surfing with acquaintances, trying to sleeping on night buses or facing a night on the streets. Our hosting scheme seeks to provide a respite from the adverse affects of this constant struggle through the generosity of hosts offering hospitality and welcome.
Two such hosts, Miko and Dorothee, shared their experiences of hosting three different guests and said how great it had been to open their home. Dorothee spoke of the joy of hosting a guest over Christmas and Miko found sharing meals and tasting the cuisine from their guests’ home countries to be a real highlight. Naomi was able to share a message from one of their guests who spoke of the close bond they had built up:
“Finally, I find myself at Miko and Dorothee’s house. The comfort was present with a good and large bedroom. All was for my peace of mind. Their children gave all the respect and sympathy. We all were really close to each other. I met there many people, their friends and neighbour’s, all wonderful. This family gave me all. I remember Jim the cat and Nolly the Dog, both my friends. I left them but they still support me. A marvellous family.”
At the end of the evening there was the chance to ask some questions. For those who weren’t able to take part we thought we would share some of the Frequently Asked Questions we often get about how the hosting scheme works:
1) What precautions are JRS putting in place regarding coronavirus and how have things changed hosting?
Our scheme was closed to new guests for quite a while, but in the last month we have re-started hosting. We are checking with potential guests about any symptoms prior to a placement beginning and one-week self-isolation is advised for new guests. Hosts can set parameters for what they are comfortable with in their home and shall be discussed between myself and guest prior to placement start. Any initial discussion will take place on the phone as usual and the home visit room can be conducted over Zoom or Whatsapp call. The reviewing and the signing of code of conduct can also be done remotely, along with introductions to a guest. We have safety guidelines that we are sending out to all new hosts during this time.
2) What will happen to my guest after the three months are finished?
Sometimes short stays are enough. We always try to find the guest alternative accommodation, if needed, after the time in your home or community has ended and oversee that whole process.
3) Do I need to provide my guest with money?
We request that you do not incur many extra expenses whilst hosting which you would not have incurred otherwise. We give all of our refugee friends a small hardship payment every two weeks for essentials, and we also give out toiletry packs. The guest should not ask you for money.
4) How long after I apply can I expect to receive a guest?
It is difficult to predict how long it will take to receive your guest; it is very much a process of matching guests and hosts- it can be as a little as a week, to perhaps a month or more, to ensure a good match.
5) What support does JRS offer?
All hosts receive the Host’s Handbook when they join the ‘At Home’ project. There is an initial induction done one-to-one between the coordinator and host(s), followed by regular contact with the coordinator. There are also opportunities to meet and reflect with other hosts- a chance to share the practical challenges and joys of hosting.
We are in real need of new hosts at this time, as many of our friends who have been temporarily housed under the ‘Everybody In’ scheme could be facing a return to homelessness soon.
If you live in London and would like to have a discussion with Naomi about hosting or would like any more information please do get in touch: email@example.com
Please note the JRS ‘At Home’ hosting scheme is based in London, and as such we can only accept volunteer hosts who live in the Greater London area. If you’re not sure whether you can take part where you live, please contact Naomi.