Do you have a spare room? Would you like to help someone who is homeless?
Hosting may suit you!
Action Hosting was set up following people’s desire to help refugees when the migrant crisis grew over the summer of 2015. The project matches volunteers offering a spare bedroom in their home with a destitute asylum seeker for an agreed period of time. To date this project has provided over 1,000 nights of accommodation to vulnerable destitute asylum seekers living in Tyne and Wear!
What is the need? Who does the project support?
Action Hosting provides accommodation and support to destitute asylum seekers with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF). Beneficiaries have had their case for asylum refused by the Home Office but cannot, for a number of reasons, be returned to their home country. Refused asylum seekers have no access to mainstream benefits including welfare and housing and it is illegal for them to work. As they are unable to support themselves many become destitute, some become street homeless and all are entirely reliant on the support of charities to survive. Through Action Hosting and Action Housing we provide accommodation and support to this extremely vulnerable group. However, there are over 140 destitute asylum seekers in Newcastle alone in need of our service who we do not currently have the capacity to support.
All asylum seekers are referred onto the project by other agencies after which we complete a police check and risk assessment. We will not place a female guest in an all male household, nor a male guest in an all female household. All beneficiaries receive regular support from an Action Foundation Support Worker to support their integration, access to English classes and volunteering opportunities and explore their options for the future.
Action Hosting Volunteers
We are continuously looking to recruit new volunteers to join this project and enable us to increase the number of vulnerable asylum seekers we are able to support. All volunteer ‘hosts’ receive a full day of training prior to receiving a ‘guest’ and are supported throughout their involvement with the scheme. The role of the host is to provide ‘guests’ with a warm, supportive, safe environment to sleep in with access to kitchen and bathroom facilities. Each arrangement between a host and guest is unique depending on their circumstances and Action Hosting staff are happy to discuss how Hosting could work for you!
“Before I was hosted I was anxious about the future, I couldn’t sleep, I was feeling very depressed. I wasn’t feeling happy and I didn’t know what to do. I was unsure about who could help me. But since going to the host I sleep very well, straight from the first night!” (Action Hosting Guest)
Action Hosting Case Study – Yasine’s Story
Yasine is the first male to be supported through Action Hosting. Yasine is from Algeria and has been in the UK for 16 years but in July 2015 his claim for asylum was refused… “Before [Action Hosting] I was in a very tough situation. They cut my support and my accommodation and I found myself on the street and I can do nothing about it”. During his time living on the street Yasine became very ill and suffered a heart attack. Upon leaving hospital Yasine was supported for 3 months by the charity Nightstop which organised for him to stay in the homes of volunteers for a few nights at a time. Yasine is very grateful for this support but said that moving so frequently was difficult as he was unable to feel settled. Due to Nightstop’s limited capacity they were unable to continue supporting Yasine and he was forced back to living on the streets. This time was very tough for Yasine as he was extremely worried about his health and having nowhere private and safe to stay made taking his vital medication very difficult.
Whilst on the street Yasine was supported by WERS (West End Refugee Service) who provided him with a hardship fund enabling him to buy food and travel to Middlesbrough where he is required by the Home Office to sign in. WERS referred Yasine to Action Hosting after which he was contacted by our Hosting Co-ordinator, Vicki Harris, who offered him the opportunity to be part of the hosting scheme and move in with volunteer hosts. Yasine started being supported through Action Hosting in November 2016 and neither himself or the hosts have had any difficulties with the scheme and together they have shared meals and stories. Action Hosting has provided Yasine with safe and secure accommodation and support giving him the privacy and dignity everyone deserves.
“Now I feel like I am living like normal. Before I was surviving, now I am living.”