How to help house refugees in the UK

If you are looking for way to help house refugees in the UK, we have compiled several options to try and make this possible. 

Positive Action in Housing Ltd

Positive Action in Housing Ltd began in 2004 and focuses on the increasing numbers of refugees that lack basic human needs such as food, shelter, a GP or any financial support. They run a UK wide refugee hosting scheme which consists of a database that refugee hosts and volunteers provide accommodation to those who are destitute whilst the client goes through the government support application process.

PAIH provide the client with a small amount of money from their Hardship Fund but still ask for necessities such as food to be shared with the client. In the case that this is not possible they do offer extra support.

Their database attempts to provide a match between the needs of both the client and the voluntary host

The process works along the following lines.

1)       You complete a registration form which asks some basic questions.

2)       Once accepted, they add you to their database.

3)       Once they have someone who needs shelter, they contact you by phone and/or email.

4)       They tell you about the person or people needing accommodation. You have the option of meeting them first, although sometimes in an       emergency this is not always convenient or possible.

5)       PAIH agree with you how long they will stay in your accommodation and they explain what the next step for them is.

6)       PAIH then give the service user a small crisis grant to cover the cost of food items they may wish to purchase.

7)       The service user is given a set of ground rules, i.e. no visitors, respecting you and your home and privacy.

8)       Ultimately, PAIH make clear to both parties that this is an entirely voluntary arrangement entered into by you.

The No Accommodation Network (NACCOM)

NACCOMis an informal network of agencies providing accommodation for migrants who have no recourse to public funds. Most of these are asylum seekers whose asylum claims have been rejected, but for a variety of reasons have not been deported.

The purpose of this site is to offer a forum where all who are working to end destitution in the UK amongst asylum seekers and other migrants through accommodation and practical support can share ideas and best practice.

NACCOM does not have a formal membership. Anyone who is considering getting involved in an accommodation project for destitute asylum seekers or migrants is welcome at our conferences and regional meetings.

Look for details on your nearest project on the map (located on their website - http://naccom.org.uk/agencies/). If there are no projects near you, or you need further information or advice on any related matters, send your query via email to davesmith@boaztrust.org.uk

Citizens UK

Citizens UK want to see 10,000 refugees resettled here each year for at least the next two years. They have been campaigning for a year to get local authorities to pledge to resettle just 50 refugees each. Many councils have been willing, however, they need help from Citizens UK to find appropriate homes for families in the private rented sector. They desperately need landlords to join their Homes for Resettled Refugees Register.

Please sign up on the Homes for Resettled Refugees Register if you:

  • own a family-sized rental property in the UK;
  • would be prepared to offer it as a home for a Syrian refugee family if it is vacant when there is demand in your area;
  • can offer a 3 year tenancy to enable the family to have some stability when they arrive;
  • are able to rent out the property for the Local Housing Allowance Rate in your area. The first 12 months of the rent will be paid for by the European Union under a scheme for placing vulnerable refugees

Refugees Welcome  

Refugees Welcome is a refugee hosting agency with projects based in both Germany and Austria. However, they now have ‘overwhelming support’ to set up similar schemes in other European countries such as the UK. For those interested in taking part in the scheme in the UK, you can click here and email saba@refugees-welcome.net.

When signing up your property, Refugees Welcome attempt to match you with a refugee using the information about you and your property provided in your registration.

There are several options to finance the rent. From experience, Refugees Welcome recommends micro-donations: several people provide small donations on a monthly basis. This is put into place through emailing friends and acquaintances and in the past, within two weeks of appealing for money, a year of rent was ensured. An alternative option is to raise funds through the established platform Crowdfund. In Germany, in certain federal states such as Berlin, approved residencies have been funded through the federal state. However, there are different regulations for every federal state.

You can read more about Refugees Welcome in this Guardian article.

A crowd funding page has also been set up to support My Refuge, an app designed to allow people to open up their homes across the world to refugees.

The Guardian also has compiled several ways to help house refugees here.