What you can do if you want to host a Syrian refugee.
City of Sanctuary are committed to developing a culture of welcome across the UK, and we are pleased to see the increased number of people coming forward with such generosity in welcoming the stranger into their homes.
There aren’t any official schemes for ordinary people to host Syrian refugees. Any Syrian arriving in this country and claiming asylum will be housed by the Home Office through the National Asylum Support Scheme and any Syrian brought directly from the UN Refugee camps by the Home Office will be housed by the local council.
Local councils can join the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme if they contact the Home Office to apply to be part of the scheme. One reason that the UK have only relocated 216 Syrian refugees so far is that few city councils have offered to join the scheme.
We suggest that you write to your local council or borough council to tell them that you want them to host Syrian refugees and that you will help to welcome and support them to integrate. This will encourage councils to engage with the resettlement of Syrians. You can also tell them that you are willing to host, although they are unlikely to take you up on this offer unless you are a landlord (see the Citizens UK link below).
Here are some things that people can do to put on record their offers of helping to shelter refugees in the current humanitarian crisis to provide a powerful message to the government: “For the desperate refugees from Syria, ‘We have a home.’”
Petition to the PM and Home Secretary to allow Britons to open their homes to refugees affected by the Syrian conflict.
And this one for government to provide a Guarantor system (like Germany and Canada) to allow British citizens to sponsor refugees.
This is for landlords who can offer a 3 year tenancy at the local housing allowance rate to a Syrian family. Citizens UK are campaigning for councils to participate in the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.
There are asylum seekers from many countries (not just Syria but also for example Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, The Sudan, Cameroon etc.) across the country who are destitute right now and need shelter. These are asylum seekers who are between refusal and appeal, or refusal and unable to return to their countries of origin because they have no papers or it is still too dangerous. They may still be seeking evidence to resubmit their claims, because they believe that the Home Office have made the wrong decision. Many refusals are overturned on appeal or after resubmission of claims. Or they may have been granted refugee status, but their residence permit and National insurance number hasn’t yet been issued so they cannot access work or housing.
Some of our groups run hosting schemes for destitute asylum seekers or can put you in touch with a local hosting scheme. Hosting can be in an emergency and for a few days or a few months, depending on what you can offer. If there is no current hosting scheme in your town or city then you can contact NACCOM.
No Accommodation Network (NACCOM) is an informal network of agencies providing accommodation providing accommodation for migrants who have no recourse to public funds. Most of these are asylum seekers whose asylum claims have been rejected, but for a variety of reasons are unable to return to their own countries and have not been deported.
There are other initiatives at a national level but we have not fully researched these so cannot officially recommend or guarantee their efficacy.
Home for Good work with local authorities across the UK and are compiling a database of people who have space in their homes and may be interested in exploring further the possibility of fostering unaccompanied asylum-seeking children for a few days in an emergency, short term or long term.
Positive Action in Housing is a similar scheme to the German Welcome Refugees host matching scheme for destitute asylum seekers in the UK
Spare Room for destitute forced migrants “finds, selects and supports people willing to offer a spare room to people forced to seek refuge in the UK – those who are homeless and neither allowed to work nor claim any state benefits”.
To read about people’s experience of hosting see two recent Guardian articles.
Please too, sign the official petition to get the Government to do more for refugees.
There are over 60 pages of local petitions on welcoming refugees on the 38 Degrees website here.
Click this link for a copy of this article to help people share this information What you can do if you want to host a refugee.
The Guardian have also just written a useful article on this subject How do I offer a room to a refugee, with regional contacts.