Our host was able to offer accommodation, initially for one month, to a young man who had nowhere to stay with very few contacts or extended community members and very little English or awareness of British culture. Fortuitously, early in the process, the guest received his indefinite leave to remain. This meant that the hospitality was offered at exactly the right time, giving him the stability he needed to pursue benefits, accommodation and education, as well as some health issues. After a slight extension of the arrangement, allowing him to stay six weeks, he was able to move into his own permanent accommodation. During the time he was hosted, his confidence and his English improved enormously, setting him well on his way to his future in the UK. For the host, there was the delight and privilege of being able to support him through this process, a fascinating insight into a country and culture about which very little was previously known, and perhaps a bit of an eye-opener for some of the family members.
In all, it was a highly successful outcome, for the guest, for the host, for the referring agency and of course, for Namaste - what a great start!
Of course, we can't always hope to replicate quite this level of success. The timing of the Indefinite Leave to Remain could not have been foreseen, and we all know that these happy endings are not always the norm for asylum seekers. which, in a way, is just another reason why it is so important to extend friendship, welcome and acceptance to people who may feel tht the whole world is against them.
Despite this great news, in some areas, the work of Namaste is not currently quite as positive. In particular, we are desperately short of hosts. In addition to the above, another offer of very short term, emergency accommodation was made to one woman, but two people have had to be put on hold, pending more hosts coming forward. Whilst a number of people have made initial enquiries, at this point in time there are no hosts currently "ready to go".
From what I know of people in Oxford, however, I remain confident that there are people locally who would be both willing and able to make an offer of accommodation to an asylum seeker, knowing that the arrangement would be on their terms and supported throughout.
Please also consider seriously whether you yourself of someone you know would be able to consider becoming a host with Namaste, and build on the success seen so far.
Please don't assume that there are plenty of people stepping up and so your involvement would not be necessary - every enquiry is appreciated. As always, an enquiry does not imply a commitment, but simply that you are willing to think and talk this through.
And of course, do please remember that I am always happy come and talk to your group, to send you more information to distribute, and to discuss either with you as an individual or with a larger group what hosting with Namaste might mean