For many of our refugee friends who attend our weekly Day Centre, finding safe and secure accommodation is a real problem as current legislation prevents them from renting. The result is that one becomes entirely dependent on the generosity of others to provide shelter each night. Those who do not have this support often find themselves sleeping on night buses or on the streets.
Daniel, one of our refugee friends in his mid-twenties, has recently started his first hosting placement through our ‘At Home’ hosting programme, but was previously having a very difficult time.
Daniel had been living on the streets around London over the last few months, and you could see how physically and mentally draining this experience had been for him. Whenever I spoke with him at our Day Centre he was exhausted and he would regularly ask if there was anything we could do to help him out of this situation. Unfortunately, due to so many of the refugees we serve being in need of accommodation there were no hosting placements available for him at the time. I wished every time that I saw him that we did; he needed some respite, a proper sleep and some time to regain some energy.
I was very relieved when we were finally able to offer Daniel one of our hosting placements with one of our long standing hosting communities; a group of very generous parishioners who support a guest through their parish.
I went to visit Daniel a few days after he had moved into his placement. When I asked him how he was he very simply said: “I’m different”. You could instantly see how having safe space to sleep had changed him. Having access to a washing machine, a shower, and being able to make your own hot meal, goes an incredibly long way to making an individual feel dignified and able to engage with others. Daniel was rested and able to concentrate on our conversation, whereas before he had often struggled to stay awake.
When someone is having to spend each day worrying about where they are going to sleep that night, unable to have any rest, how could they ever be expected to move forward with their asylum case?
Without the generosity and hospitality of this hosting placement, Daniel would not have had this opportunity for respite and would very likely still be on the streets. We are so grateful for all the communities who open their homes and volunteer as hosts. Their act of kindness causes waves that spread beyond giving someone a bed for a period of time; it means that someone has the energy and dignity to hopefully flourish as a human, rather than just simply survive.
Inspired by the difference hosting made to Daniel?
If you live in the Greater London area why not find out more about opening your home to a destitute asylum seeker. Find out more about our At Home hosting programme or by contacting Naomi, our Communities of Hospitality Coordinator
Not in Greater London? Find a hosting scheme local to you through NACCOM (the no accommodation network).
NB: Names have been changed to protect identity