Information for caseworkers wishing to refer to Room for Refugees

How it works

Room for Refugees is a last resort emergency hosting programme for vulnerable refugees and those seeking refuge who are at risk of destitution.

The hosting process gives an invaluable opportunity for refugee support agencies to work on cases and stabilise clients so that they are able to re-access public funds or even resolve their case so that the right to live in the UK is granted to them. We are also in the process of accommodation children through local authorities in longer term placements.

The programme has been running for 15 years and has established procedures to make hosting a safe and rewarding experience for everyone.

The Guardian newspaper did a photo essay about some of those we have assisted and you can read about it here.

As of June 30th 2017:

  • Room for Refugees has 6,400 refugee hosts all over the UK (and parts of the USA).
  • We have arranged over 37,000 nights of shelter since September 2015 to assist caseworkers to accommodate men, women and children and avoid destitution in an absolute emergency.

We have hosts with granny flats, separate homes or caravans to offer to potential clients. We also have hosts who let rooms through AirBnB and offer is free rooms. Basically, our hosts are offering free temporary spare rooms in their homes, self contained flats or separate residences to those seeking refuge in this country while they attempt to resolve a crisis situation and build new lives. Our hosts tend to be highly educated about the refugee crisis. Many understand the impact on those already in the UK; delays with the Home Office in getting their status processed properly so that they can go into work, pay taxes and rebuild their lives.

Our online system, called refer, lets caseworkers from refugee and migrant support organisations quickly find suitable hosts for their clients. We primarily assist refugees and those seeking asylum or leave to remain in this country who have no accommodation or recourse to funds.

We provide caseworkers with a simple online form to refer new clients for the first time. You can also refer previous clients again for hosting with another volunteer, perhaps towards the end of a stay or if circumstances have changed. We also provide a history of all your past clients you have referred in the past, so you can see the progress and outcome of previous and ongoing cases.

Once the referral is accepted, our staff will conduct a systematic search of potential hosts. This could take a few hours or a day or two depending on the case. We will then approach potential hosts.

When a host indicates they are available, we provide you their details. Guidance is provided on this. After you have met the host with the client, the host will decide, usually within a day, whether to accept your client as a guest. this also gives time for your client to understand that they would potentially be living as a guest in the host’s home, and according to their house rules, i.e. they will not be tenants and have no rights of residence.

When a host agrees to take your client as a guest, you would accompany your client to their home to discuss and sign hosting agreement and code of conduct. Scans of hosting agreements and photographs are also requested of the host and guest, and the bedroom space for our internal records.

How Caseworkers can make referrals to the refer system.

  • You the caseworker should first apply for an account at this link. (Each caseworker in your organisation who needs to refer clients will get an individual account, allowing each of you focus on the clients you are referring).
  • Once the account is approved, which is usually within a day or so, you can make your first referral. (For especially urgent vulnerable cases, email home@positiveactionh.org first to say you need an account quickly).
  • We will then assess the referral and search for suitable hosts.
  • Once a host(s) is identified we will contact you and start the screening process. (For caseworkers who are new to the scheme, we advise you to read all the information that you are sent so you are clear about your responsibilities, before, during and at the conclusion of the hosting arrangement).
  • Once an arrangement is agreed upon we will issue a personalised hosting agreement.

Our list of existing referral partners at the time of writing (July 2017)

Aberdeenshire Council
Action for Refugees in Lewisham
Afghan Association Paiwand
AFRIL (Action for Refugees in Lewisham)
Ahlan Wa Sahlan
Alison Thewliss MP
Amina Muslim Women's Resource Centre
Ashley Community Housing
Athena Service
ATLEU
Bail for Immigration Detainees
Barnardo's
Birmingham Hall Green constituency
Blue Door Project
Blue Mountain (Arch)
Body & Soul Charity
Body&Soul charity
BRASS
Bridges Programmes
Brighton Migrant Solidarity
Brighton Migrant Solidarity
Bristol Citizens Advice
British Red Cross
British Red Cross (Bristol)
British Red Cross (Chelmsford)
British Red Cross (Leeds)
British Red Cross (London)
British Red Cross (Luton)
British Red Cross (Maidstone)
British Red Cross (Milton Keynes)
British Red Cross (Newport)
British Red Cross (Sheffield)
British Red Cross Refugee Services
British Red Cross Refugee Services (Glasgow)
British Red Cross Refugee Support
C4WS Homeless Project
C7 Church
Carlisle Foodbank
CEO - Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum
Children and Families Social Work, Falkirk
Clyde Nursery and Children's Centre
Community Infosource
Con Cunningham Solicitors
Coram Voice
Cornerstone Day Centre
Creative Youth Network
Crisis
Darla Eno
DASS and SRC
Destitution Project
Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support
Drumchapel Citizens Advice Bureau
Drummond Miller
Duncan Lewis Solicitors
Ed Miliband MP
Ella's Home
Ethnic Minorities Law Centre
Freedom From Torture
Freedom From Torture North West
Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group
GEMAP
Glasgow City Mission
Glasgow Clyde College
Glasgow Night Shelter
Glasgow Psychological Trauma Service NHS GG&C
Glasgow Vineyard (Storehouse)
Govan and Craigton Integration Network/ The Unity Centre
Great Chapel Street Surgery NHS
Hackney Community College
Hackney Migrant Centre
Hackney Winter Night Shelter
Haringey Migrant Support Centre
Helen Bamber Foundation
Hestia
Homelessness Prevention Initiative - Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
Hope Housing
Hope housing trainning and support
Humanity Crew
Independent - Catherine Wren
Integrated Care Network
Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants
Jaycon Solicitors
JHM Global Scotland
Just for Kids Law
Kent Refugee Action Network
Kirsten Oswald MP
Lanarkshire Rape Crisis Centre
Latta & Co. Solicitors
Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network
Margaret Ferrier MP
Martha House
McGlashan MacKay Solicitors
Migrant Help
Migrants Organise
NGIN / Bridges Programmes
NHS
NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
NNLS Drop in
No Second Night Out (West Hub)
North Ayrshire Council
North East London Migrant Action
North of England Refugee Service
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum
One Housing Group
Oxford City of Sanctuary and Emmaus Oxford
PAIH
Paiwand Afghan Association
Paragon Law
Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Positive Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Positive Action in Housing
Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund
Project 17
RAPAR
RAY -Refugee Action York
REACHE North West
Refugee Action
Refugee Action Kingston
Refugee Connection
Refugee Council
Refugee Support Devon
Refugee Survival Trust
Revive Manchester
RH & Co. Solicitors
RISE CIC
Riverhouse Trust
Rochdale Boroughwide Housing
Room to Heal
Rt. Hon. Ann Clwyd M.P.
Saheliya Glasgow
Samphire
Sante Refugee Mental Health Access Project
Scottish Detainee Visitors
Scottish Disability Equality Forum
Scottish Guardianship Service
Scottish Refugee Council
Sharedydd
shelter
Shelter from the Storm
Side by Side with Refugees
sikh Sanjog
Slough Refugee Support
SOAS Detainee Support
SOAS, University of London
Social Work Services, Glasgow
South London Refugee Association (SLRA)
Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers
Spark2Life
St Andrew Community
St Mungos
Stepping Stones for Families
Streatham Drop-in Cemtre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees
Strongman
Sussex Beacon
Terrence Higgins Trust
Thames Reach homeless organisation
The Baobab Centre
The Connection at St.Martin's
The Marie Trust
The Migrant's Law Project, Islington Law Centre
The Passage
The Recovery Hub Ipswich
The Rock Trust
The Unity Centre
Trinity Centre
Trust Women's Project
United Church, Dorchester
Unity
Verne Visitors Group
Voices in Exile
Waverley Care
Waverley Care African Health Project, Glasgow
Wilson Solicitors LLP
Young Roots

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are you?

Room for Refugees is a refugee hosting programme. It was pioneered in 2002 by a small registered charity – Positive Action in Housing (SC027577). We have 15 years expertise in safe hosting of vulnerable people from refugee and migrant communities in the homes of volunteers.

Note: Room for Refugees should not be confused with any similar sounding hosting programmes set up at the height of news coverage of the refugee crisis in 2015.

Who will you accept as a referral?

Anyone seeking refuge, asylum or leave to remain in this country is eligible. The important point is that they are destitute or homeless without any alternative accommodation and are actively engaged in finding a resolution to their homelessness situation and/or legal case. Caseworkers should be confident that their clients can live peaceably as temporary guests in someone else’s home, contribute to the household by helping with simple chores, meals and according to their host’s house rules.

Who will you not accept as a referral?

Anyone who has a background of criminality or violence, severe mental health problems, or who abuses drugs or alcohol or any other substance, or who poses a potential risk to the host will probably not be suitable.

Are all your hosts DBS/CRB/PVG checked?

No. Some of our hosts are disclosure checked and some aren’t. However, we encourage all hosts who are not checked to start the process of being checked for disclosures. However in an emergency hosting situation with no alternative, it’s a careful balancing act and we will work with the guest’s caseworker so we are all satisfied that the placement is safe and can work. We will expect caseworkers from refugee support organisations and local authorities to risk assess the potential match and do their own screening for risk when a potential match is being considered. We also request character references from reputable sources and do identity checks to establish identity and current place of residence. If the potential guest is a vulnerable person and/or includes children, then we will insist on enhanced disclosures.

www.roomforrefugees.com