“I was a teacher in Darayya, Syria. I lost my wife and everything I had. I had been rough sleeping while my application was being considered. To avoid being in the street I spent most of my time in the library researching how to help my case. Alister and Eloise have been very patient and kind to take me into their home. One day I hope I can rebuild my life and repay the kindness they have shown to me.”
Omar, Teacher from Syria


“I am an academic and my field is International Relations. We are in the fortunate position to have more space than we need and after discussion decided that we should offer our spare room to those who might need it. Living with Omar is like living with any other housemate: we usually eat together and have a chat each evening and he’s met some of our friends. It’s been fun.”
Alister, Academic, Glasgow


“I have hosted people for varying lengths of time from a few days to five months. There have been some harrowing stories, including a couple from Afghanistan whose toddler died in an accident shortly before they came to stay. There was also a woman from Somalia who had seen some of her family blown to pieces. I have a supportive. Loving family and it’s nice to share that with those who are far from their families”
Edith, 62, retired Social Worker


“I have a loving family in Rwanda. There were no worries and I simply came here to study. Once problems started in Rwanda my funding stopped. I claimed asylum and was given a fast track refusal. My landlord told me I had two weeks to get out. I packed my clothes and asked the church to look after them. One evening I came home and found nothing there anymore, no bed, no mattress, nothing. I’ve been at Edith’s for 4 weeks now. We share a meal, sometimes go for a walk. Someone cares and that means everything just now.”
Francoise, 33, student, Rwanda


“I got very cross when I saw a Daily Mail front page which was both cruel and inaccurate about asylum seekers. I wondered what I could do to help so I registered to host with Positive Action a few years ago. I have a big flat and felt I could take someone in without it impinging on my privacy, which I value. It has worked out well. The sad thing is people can be left destitute and without a decision for a long time. Nasreen is a very considerate house guest”
Jo, Retired Professor and University Librarian


“Our family – myself, husband Tony, Eve (15) and Luca (8) – got involved after increasing despair over how refugees were being portrayed in the media and our government’s inaction. After Fatima and Mohammed moved in, any anxieties we had about hosting dissipated immediately. We bonded talking about food and cooking, our children and experiences of parenthood. They are kind and friendly and we have a lot in common – that was probably the most important lesson. My children got involved in helping another family and it broadened their understanding of others’ values and customs”
Gwen, 34


“Rather than you thanking us for hosting Salim we should be thanking you for sending him to us. As you know he has now been with us for 13 months and during that time there has not been a cross word said between us. He is the best House Guest anyone could wish for. He has enlightened us in the pros and cons of living on the street and has amazing stories to tell of his time sleeping rough. We continue to pray that he will be granted asylum in this country in order that he may begin to live a normal life that he so rightly deserves.”
Dallas and Eddie


“Room for Refugees is a fantastic service. It is a real lifeline for us in Brighton. We love the service because Room for Refugees almost always find a suitable host for our very varied demographic. They have decades of experience and a deep understanding of the politics of migration and the needs which result. Hosts love the scheme because they know we are on hand to actively do casework with our guests to help resolve their situation as fast as possible. Guests love the service because it gives them somewhere safe, warm, secure and even loving to stay whilst they are in the state sanctioned limbo which is the U.K.’s immigration regime. We couldn’t do what we do without Room for Refugees.”
Jason Berkson, Brighton Migrant Solidarity


“The Room for Refugees programme continues to be a valuable source of support for several of our beneficiaries. These are people who would otherwise be street homeless and vulnerable to exploitation or to worsening physical or mental health problems. To have a safe, welcoming place to stay can make a huge difference and can help people to engage with their solicitors from a more stable position. Equally we have made several applications to the emergency relief fund for help with essential living costs like food and clothing, costs incurred in gathering evidence for asylum claims, and to cover other essential expenses in circumstances where people have no alternative provisions. Without these resources there would be very few options for destitute people to meet their essential living needs in Glasgow.”
Calum Lindsay, British Red Cross, Glasgow


“Room for Refugees are amazing, they try their absolute best to try and find a placement for my client’s and are flexible in their approach. I’m forever in admiration that someone is able and happy to provide a space in their home for an individual going through the difficult stages needed to regularise their UK status. It gives a person space to concentrate on themselves and a sense of normality. Room for Refugees need to exist for this group of people, if they didn’t I don’t like to think of where this client group would be.”
Helen Bourne, Destitution coordinator, The Passage, London