Host a refugee in your home

Information for caseworkers

Refer someone for hosting or crisis support. And make a real difference for your clients.

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 also work with social workers from local authorities seeking loving homes for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children.

The programme has been running since 2002 and is constantly revising its procedures to make hosting a safe and rewarding experience for everyone.

We have hosts with spare rooms, 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 – 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.


Apply for an online caseworker account using the link at the bottom of the page.

Once the account is approved, usually within a day or so, read all the guidance and make your first referral. (For especially urgent vulnerable cases, email first to say you need an account quickly).

We will then assess the referral and search for suitable hosts.

If 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 and monitor the stay with the caseworker, host and guest until the caseworker achieves a positive resolution.

Eligibility: To be a member you must be demonstrably working with people from refugee and migrant communities at risk of destitution. You will then be able to apply for crisis support from the Positive Action in Housing Emergency Relief Fund  and for free hosting from Room for Refugees anywhere in Scotland and the rest of the UK. You must be involved with your client/s however.

All grants are subject to Audit. To keep the programme running we will be implementing a voluntary fees arrangement.

For more info email


Who are you?

“A small charity doing a big thing.” That’s how one of our founding members, David Orr, CEO of the National Housing Federation described us! So true! 

Room for Refugees is a hosting programme. It was pioneered in 2002 by a small registered charity based in Scotland – 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 new hosting programmes. We operate very differently from other programmes.

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.

Apply for an online case worker account

Apply for a caseworker account

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