The Gold Standard of Hosting Schemes!

The Gold Standard of Hosting Schemes!

08 March 2023 by Pattie Gercke in Homelessness, Refugee & Asylum.

In the run up to our event Out Of The Pandemic - Church Perspectives on Homeless Support

we are exploring, and celebrating the manifold ways our London church communities support those

who experience, or are at risk of homelessness.

This first blog in our series looks at hosting those who would otherwise be homeless.

Do join us on 26th April where we will come together as church communities together to both

celebrate, & reflect on provision for those who experience homelessness. You can sign up HERE

From the Margins to the Mainstream

It has been humbling to see the sacrificial way in which so many people have opened their homes to welcome the stranger under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and we want to continue to support hosting for those coming from Ukraine.

We also want to support hosting for those who are already here in London.

Loving our neighbour is both global, and local. Since 2016 The Diocese of London has partnered with Housing Justice on a hosting scheme which supports those who would otherwise be homeless, as well as offering a gold standard of support for both hosts and guests alike.

Housing those who would otherwise be homeless

Guests are London’s destitute asylum-seekers, refugees and other forced migrants. They are those who have no access to mainstream benefits and are not allowed to work. They can’t access mainstream accommodation services for homeless people, as they have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

As such, if they do not have a friend to stay with, or access to a winter night shelter in the months they open, they would often be on the street.

Hosting changes lives

What hosting can offer is literally lifechanging for many guests. It offers them a safe and warm place to stay for a few months, which provides the stability to start to rebuild their lives. This is a contrast from perhaps sleeping on buses, in doorways or at shelter projects, moving every night and having nowhere for their possessions.

A secure place and the same bed every night is all that is required of hosts. Although guests cannot access benefits, they are not reliant on the host for financial support. Financial and material assistance is made available for guest through Housing Justice, so that they can have some independence whilst being hosted, and are able to buy basic food and toiletries, as well as travel as needed.

Obviously if hosts want to provide meals, that is often welcome. But all that is required is a safe place to sleep, a place to store food and cook, and a place to keep their belongings and wash their clothes.

The End from the Beginning

As we know from the Homes for Ukraine scheme, there can be real anxiety for both guests and hosts about what happens to guests after hosting ends. Hosting With Housing Justice is different. The commitment is 3-12 months only. During this time, a guest will be supported by a qualified caseworker who will help them find a pathway out of destitution with the support of an OISC regulated Immigration advisor/solicitor. If at the end of 12 months this has not been resolved, then guests are housed with a new host through Housing Justice.

Dedicated host and guest support

Hosting with Housing Justice also provides a high level of support for both guests and hosts. Right from the very first stage of exploring hosting, Jenna and Ella from Housing Justice are on hand to support, and this continues right through the hosting journey.

The guest is also supported by solicitors and migrant support agencies. They will be working to help resolve a guest’s immigration case, so that they are hopefully granted the right to live and work in the UK.

Next steps

You could download the poster below and display it in your church/ hall to let those in your church community know about hosting with Housing Justice.

If you live in London, have a spare room, and would consider Hosting With Housing Justice, we would love to hear from you!

You can find out more information, including interviews with current hosts HERE or you can sign up for an exploratory conversation with Housing Justice HERE.

Thank you.

Pattie Gercke

Pattie Gercke

Pattie is the Compassionate Communities Development Worker for Refugee& Aslyum Seeker response, Housing & Homelessness. She has a background in the humanitarian sector and an MA in Development and Emergency Practice. She is passionate about issues of justice, hospitality, and community.

View all posts by Pattie Gercke

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