What is hosting?
The Hosting Toolkit explains:
Hosting is simply where someone offers a room in their house to someone in need. There are many categories of migrant who can find themselves destitute and with no recourse to public funds but for the purposes of this guide it is assumed that the guest being accommodated is usually an asylum seeker whose asylum claim has been refused, and has no recourse to public funds, or else a refugee who has been granted status but has nowhere to live while waiting for benefits and offers of accommodation…
Hosting schemes vary, depending on a number of factors. Some are run by fairly large charities that also have other types of accommodation such as shared houses or night shelters, and employ paid staff to manage the project. Others are smaller, stand-alone projects which rely on volunteers. There is even an online scheme which matches hosts and guests. The issues encountered and the good practice guidance offered are common to most schemes.
With the new Right to Rent legislation, there has been a lot of confusion about whether hosting of destitute migrants would come under these rules. The Toolkit says:
there is nothing intrinsically illegal about hosting, and no one who has hosted a refused asylum seeker through a NACCOM project has ever been prosecuted for doing so. As long as the home owner is not receiving payment for the accommodation, Right to Rent legislation does not apply.
Things are slightly more complicated if the host is a tenant, as money is changing hands (albeit not from the asylum seeker!).
Setting up a new hosting scheme
The hosting Toolkit covers issues including:
- finding hosts,
- training and volunteer support/management,
- paperwork and forms,
- and issues that may affect potential hosts such as insurance, housing benefits and council tax.
The Toolkit also includes case studies from hosting schemes across the UK.