The 'Refugee Airbnb' Which Lets You Offer Your Spare Room To A Syrian In Need

Lucy Pavia

Homes for Syrians matches spare rooms with refugees in need of somewhere to stay short term


Have you been watching the Syrian refugee crisis unfold and wondering if there’s anything practical you can do to help, beyond donating money and clothes?

A new website has been set up which matches spare rooms with Syrian refugees in need of somewhere to stay short-term.

Somerset based Digital Project Manager Richard Moore had the idea for the project in September last year, when the Syrian migrant situation had reached crisis-point.

The website he went on to create, Homes For Syrians, lets you offer up a spare room (or spare house if you’re lucky enough to have one) to a Syrian refugee in need who has been granted asylum and a work permit. 'The site started off working a little like Airbnb' says Richard, who hoped the scheme would help newly arrived refugees integrate into UK life, ‘it is by no means a permanent solution, more of a stepping stone to their future resettlement and independence.’

So far more than 200 homeowners have signed up for the scheme and 7 refugees have been placed. The homes range from family houses in London, Oxfordshire and Southampton to a croft in Shetland. ‘The public response has been amazing with some incredible offers of help’ says Richard, ‘it has restored my faith in human nature.’

Though the project has helped a relatively small number of refugees so far, with the right funding Richard believes Homes For Syrians could become a fully-fledged charity and potentially help thousands more, opening up to persecuted people from all over the world - not just Syria. 

A young Syrian refugee in Mitilini Port

In the last few years the UK has taken in 35,000 people fleeing war and persecution from all over the world and has pledged to help 20,000 Syrian refugees.

Want to get involved with Homes For Syrians? You can visit the website HomesForSyrians.uk to find out more and sign yourself up.

Richard also points out that there are more ways to help than just offering up a room. ‘You may have space in your home, in which case, please consider listing it on the website’ he says, ‘or you may know of a charity that is already funded and has the resources to adopt the project, or have time to help with case-work governance or strategic development.’

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