Could you spare a room for someone in desperate need of a roof over their head?
A new charity project which aims to encourage Wearsiders to welcome a homeless guest or asylum seeker into their home has launched.
Action Hosting was launched at a special event at The Place in Sunderland by regional charity Action Foundation.
The scheme matches volunteer hosts who have a spare room in their home with destitute asylum seekers for an agreed period of time.
It is already seeing success in Newcastle and Gateshead and aims to help homeless asylum seekers - many of whom do not have access to any financial support and are not allowed to work - find a safe place to stay.
Action Foundation helped over 1,000 people last year through its projects with support from over 100 volunteers.
“We’re calling on those in Wearside with a spare room to consider how they can really help those in need by opening up their home.”Julian Prior
Julian Prior, CEO of Action Foundation said: “We estimate that there are around 200 destitute asylum seekers in Tyne and Wear who rely on charity for their basic survival.
“We’re calling on those in Wearside with a spare room to consider how they can really help those in need by opening up their home.
“This is a wonderful programme which is making a huge difference to the lives of many people at the margins of society. Following the initial success of the programme in Newcastle and Gateshead, we’re expanding into Sunderland and we’d like anyone who wants to help or sign up as a host to get in touch to find out more. Your spare room has the power to change someone’s life.”
Speaking at the event, Abraham Eiluorior, who is benefitting from the charity’s work, said: “As someone who’s currently benefiting from a ‘hosting’ scheme in Bradford, I cannot emphasise enough how laudable this project is for the many destitute asylum seekers in the region.
“The UK asylum process is a very complex and tortuous and to become homeless in the process makes it even more traumatic for the individual, with the consequential effect on their physical and mental well-being.
“I’m so pleased that Action Foundation has been able to bring this service to Sunderland and should be well supported.”
Since December 2015, the charity has helped nearly 100 people find accommodation through its housing programmes.
More than 90% of those residents said they feel more integrated into the wider community and are able to access basic services thanks to the support they received.
The charity also offers free English classes through its programme Action Language.
It recently enrolled 108 people onto its free classes in Sunderland.
To register interest in finding out more about being a host with Action Hosting, go to www.actionfoundation.org.uk.