How it works
Caseworkers wishing to make a referral should apply for an online account here If you already have a Caseworker account you can log in here to make a referral.
The scheme has been running for 13 years and has established safety procedures to make hosting a rewarding experience for everyone.
As of 30 June 2016, Room for Refugees has 3,279 refugee hosts registered all over the UK (and parts of the USA) – people who are offering free temporary spare rooms in their homes to those seeking refuge in this country while they attempt to move to independent living arrangements. We have hosts with granny flats, separate homes or caravans to offer to potential clients. Our hosts tend to have space in their home to offer, and will more often than not highly educated about the refugee crisis and the impact on those already in the UK.
Since September 2015, over 11,600 nights of shelter have been arranged to assist caseworkers to accommodate their clients and avoid destitution in an absolute emergency.
Our online system lets caseworkers from refugee and similar organisations efficiently 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.
Caseworkers are expected to arrange and facilitate an introduction between the host and their guest. Guidance will be provided and the host should be given time to think about whether your client would make a suitable match for their home. this also gives time for your client to understand that they would potentially living as a guest in the host’s home, and according to their house rules, i.e. they will not be tenants.
Once the host has made a decision to host, we will advise you. We will then ask you to make a further visit with your client to the host’s home on the start date of the hosting agreement. Scans of hosting agreements and photographs are also requested of the host and guest, and the bedroom space for our internal evaluation process.
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.
How Caseworkers can make referrals to Room for Refugees
1. 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).
2. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org first to say you need an account quickly).
3. We will then assess the referral and search for suitable hosts.
4. 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).
5. Once an arrangement is agreed upon we will issue a personalised hosting agreement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are you?
Room for Refugees is the longest established refugee hosting scheme in the UK, pioneered by a registered charity – Positive Action in Housing (SC027577) – in 2003. So we have 13 years expertise in safe refugee hosting of vulnerable people from refugee communities. Note: Room for Refugees should not be confused with any similar sounding new schemes 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. Caseworkers should be confident that their clients can live peaceably as temporary guests in someone else’s home and according to their host’s house rules, while they attempt to resolve their destitution or legal status.
Who will you not accept as a referral?
Anyone who has a background of criminality or violence, severe mental health problems, or who abuse drugs or alcohol or any other substance, or who poses a potential risk to the host will probably not be suitable. If caseworkers are not sure, you should contact Room for Refugees at email@example.com .
Are all your hosts DBS/CRB/PVG checked?
Some of our hosts are checked and some aren’t. For those who are not, we work to minimise risk. If the potential guest is a vulnerable person and includes children, then we will insist on enhanced disclosures before moving forward. However this can cause delays in what is an emergency hosting situation with no alternative so it’s a careful balancing act and we will work with the guest’s caseworker to be satisfied that the placement is safe and risk is minimised.
Our list of existing referral partners at the time of writing (June 2016)
Aberdeenshire Council Action for Refugees in Lewisham Alison Thewliss MP Ashley Community Housing ASSIST Sheffield Bail for Immigration Detainees Body and Soul Brighton Migrant Solidarity British Red Cross (Bristol) British Red Cross (London) British Red Cross (Milton Keynes) British Red Cross (Portsmouth) British Red Cross (Woking) British Red Cross Refugee Services (Glasgow) Camden Family Services and Social Work Carlisle Foodbank CEO - Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum Children and Families Social Work, Falkirk Community Systems Limited Cornerstone Day Centre DASH Huddersfield DASS and SRC Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support Drummond Miller Duncan Lewis Solicitors Ed Miliband MP Ethnic Minorities Law Centre Freedom from Torture Freedom from Torture Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees Glasgow City Mission Glasgow Clyde College Glasgow Night Shelter Glasgow Vineyard (Storehouse) Govan & Craigton Integration Network Greater Pollok Integration Network Hackney Migrant Centre Haringey Migrant Support Centre Helen Bamber Foundation Homelessness Prevention Initiative - Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust Hope Housing Training and Support Independent - Catherine Wren Integrated Care Network Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants Just for Kids Law Kent Refugee Help Kirsten Oswald MP Lanarkshire Rape Crisis Centre Latta & Co (Glasgow) Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network Margaret Ferrier MP Martha House McGlashan MacKay Solicitors Migrants Organise NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Notre Dame Refugee Centre Oxford City of Sanctuary and Emmaus Oxford Paragon Law Paul Hamlyn Foundation Positive Action in Housing Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund Project 17 Queens Park Church, Glasgow Refugee & Migrant Centre, Wolverhampton Refugee Action (London) Refugee Action Kingston Refugee Council Revive Manchester Riverhouse Trust Rochdale Boroughwide Housing Room 2 Heal Rt. Hon. Ann Clwyd M.P. Ruby Project Samphire Scottish Detainee Visitors Scottish Disability Equality Forum Scottish Guardianship Service Scottish Refugee Council Sharedydd Sikh Sanjog Slough Refugee Support SOAS Detainee Support Sola Arts South London Refugee Association Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers St Mungos Streatham Drop-in Cemtre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees The Bridges Programme The Connection at St Martin's The Passage The Unity Centre The Well (Glasgow) Trinity Centre Cardiff Trust Women's Project Waverley Care African Health Project Wilson Solicitors LLP