Facts and figures

A ground breaking refugee hosting programme pioneered in Scotland and with 17 years of expertise in safe and rewarding refugee hosting.

Key Statistics:

Updated: 31 December 2017

  • Since 2002, Room for Refugees hosts have provided over 61,000  nights of shelter and positively transformed the lives of thousands of children, women and men from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.
  • Between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017, the programme provided 21,957 nights of free shelter. This is a 279% increase on last year when 5,781 nights of shelter were provided.
  • As of 31 December 2017, we have 6,700  fully registered hosts ready to offer shelter to refugees and those seeking refuge from war and persecution.
  • £1,096,450* is the estimated savings in the cost of shelter as a result of charities like the British Red Cross and local government using the Room for Refugees Programme for their destitute clients in 2016-17. *Estimated at £50 per night.
  • 70% of our hosts (4,610) are in Scotland, England, Wales, N. Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
  • 2,101 hosts are in the USA and this part of our work will be developed in the future.
  • 350 external caseworkers from 221 refugee, homelessness and aid agencies across Scotland, England and Wales now part of the room for refugees network.
  • In 2016-17, the project made a significant difference for 265 families and individuals who were enabled to progress or resolve their legal situation and rebuild their lives.
  • At any given time, we have around 70 families or individuals being sheltered by our hosts. We expect this number to grow. In 2016-17, the room for refugees programme worked closely with social workers in 3 Scottish local authority areas, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Ayrshire, to successfully identify potential foster carers or hosts from its register for unaccompanied asylum seeker children.
  • 156 families and individuals were actively pursuing legal resolution to their case. 52 families and individuals secured Section 4/95 or SW support .25 families and individuals got refugee status or some form of leave to remain. Two families returned voluntarily to their own country. 5 individuals were provided with free shelter while they pursued A Levels, Degrees and Diplomas. As a result of being hosted, 4 families were enabled to avoid Social Work removing their children because of their risk of destitution. Five families were reunited, after their dependents were able to leave war zones in Syria and join them in the UK in someone’s home.

Key points:

  • Room for Refugees was pioneered by the charity Positive Action in Housing (SC027577) in 2002
  • The Programme  has achieved excellent outcomes. It provides families and individuals with respite from destitution.
  • In several cases, people have become like members of the family they are staying with.
  • People have achieved help from host families to progress their legal cases.
  • People have achieved leave to remain or secured emergency support.
  • In some cases, individuals are able to pursue exams, go onto university or retrain as doctors.
  • We want to grow the scheme as a force for good, of increased awareness and understanding, a way of paying it forward for both host and guest.


  • “To help vulnerable people and do something worthwhile.”
  • “It is not my home. I have to help on humanitarian basis. These are people like us who deserve a basic human right such as shelter, safety and security”
  • “If everyone in the world would help at least one family. That would make an incredibly difference in someones life.”
  • “I grew up in Germany. Germany has accepted 1 million Syrian refugees last year. The US will accept only 10,000 this year. This is very embarrassing”
  • “Because we have space and a warm home. And I’m sure they have as much to offer us as we to them.”
  • “Sara has become a friend and a family member to us.  We know she has to move on and that you may have a place for her starting the 10th July.  We are happy to have her here till that time.” -Henk hosting Sara
  • “Things are going just fine with Toyin and her family. We have agreed in discussion with Project 17 to offer them a place to stay until their trial date which is the 12th July. As I understand it, having this deadline will give them a chance at a better outcome from the local authority than if the powers that be think they’ve got options, but between you and me (and I haven’t mentioned this to Toyin either at this point) I doubt it would be difficult for us to help beyond that day. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much of our guest, and neither has my partner Mustafa, as we’re often in late. Additionally, I was admitted into hospital today for some treatment for a chronic migraine, which will likely keep me from home for ten days or so. We’re just hoping they are enjoying a bit privacy, space and relaxation.” – Marilyn and husband hosting mother and 3 children
  • “Yes Amina is still here and I’m quite happy to continue hosting her. It’s proving to be depressingly slow getting anywhere with the Home Office. We are awaiting advice from her lawyer about whether we can go for a judicial review. And I can give feedback. Because she has been here so long she has become part of my life and I love having her here. I would say that we are a good support to each other.”
  • “We have told Elias that this is his permanent address while he seeks a fresh application to Home Office and have indicated this to his lawyer in a supportive letter as it may help his application. A quarterly review is fine. Elias is part of our lives; we have a mutual respect for our Muslim and Christian faiths and we are supporting him through Ramadan. He is going to start English classes in August. My family are so fond of him . I am so glad we did this. I am reeling from the culture of  xenophobia and worried how our exit from EU will affect refugees and migrants.” – Fiona Jones and Elias
  • “We are happy to continue the arrangement with Salim and suggest a quarterly review as his immigration situation is taking significantly longer to be resolved and we would not wish to change our arrangements during this period. He also has many hospital and doctor appointments which are readily accessible from here. Salim is a welcome house-guest, who has fitted in to our way of doing things.  Salim has a Kings College Hospital appointment (staying in for a few days) on 10th May. He is waiting for an appointment letter from St Thomas’ Hospital and an appointment date to meet with his solicitor. We would never ask or expect Salim to move on until all these health and status matters are completely sorted and he has a permanent place in which to live. At the moment no one knows when that date will be. We do not know if Salim is a usual or unusual case for you to deal with but if there is any other information that you need please do not hesitate to email us and we will reply as soon as possible. God bless you in all the great work that you are doing to help other people.” –  From Eddie & wife hosting Salim.
  • “It was a pleasure to host Kumar, he was a very considerate guest and we would certainly consider hosting again. ” – Shareen hosting Kumar
  • “Yes, H is still with us. He is still waiting for his first appointment with the Home Office, in London – no date set as yet, it seems. No problems from our point of view so happy for him to remain for now anyway. He says he is sleeping better and has fewer panic attacks during the night. He is in regular contact with his family in Algeria – NONE of whom know he was attacked so they believe that he is living and working in Scotland and that I am his neighbour. We did have a bit of a laugh about that and I said Hi to his sister-in-law. However, in reality that is an immensely sad situation. He regularly brings back “stuff” that he thinks might be useful to us. A bumper box of Porridge Oats and a catering pack of tea bags, a 1.2kg block of cheese, 10 packs of party coasters in the shape of animal noses etc etc! It is quite a laugh to see what he comes in with. Actually, most of it has been used – I can pass stuff on to my daughter who has 5 flatmates and some of the novelty stuff has gone down well at the homework clubs I help at. He just feels he want to contribute something.” -Audrey hosting Hamza
  • “Wahid is still with us and we are happy to continue with the arrangement until more permanent accommodation is arranged for him. He has been great to have around – very polite, conscientious and tidy – and it has been rewarding to help with his language and see him improve a little.” -Briony

Future developments:

To develop the programme in the US, and other countries.

To develop host support networks across the UK.

To further develop the Room for Refugees online system to provide rooms and crisis grants online.

To develop holiday respite cover in rural areas for long term hosts.