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What is Hosting?

At its most basic, hosting is the act of providing accommodation for a displaced person in your own home or property. At its best, it’s a life changing experience, a stepping stone and a pathway to integration, with lots of positive benefits for individuals, communities and society.

Hosting is more than just accommodation, more than just a bed. It's a safe landing, a warm welcome and it can be an opportunity for guests. Hosting supports people to adapt more easily to our country, language and culture through experiencing life in an Irish home. It can support integration within the local community and improve access to education, employment and other opportunities.


Hosting is not supposed to be forever. We support our guests best, not by creating dependency, but by signposting and empowering them to become independent and feel confident in choosing the next step on their journey.  


Every hosting arrangement is different. Some people host in their home and share kitchens and washing machines. Others have a second property or granny flat to offer. Some decide to go through an official implementing partner and others find their guests in their own way - we call them DIY Hosts. However you were matched and however long you’ve been hosting for, we are here for you.


We are hosts, helping hosts. We’ve developed a whole suite of support, resources and opportunities for hosts to connect and get advice throughout the duration of their hosting journey - from pledging to moving on


Hosting is a fantastic thing to do. Your pledge will help give someone a soft landing and hope for the future. Before you take the leap, take some time to consider the points below.

Discuss it with your family

Speak to all members of your household about hosting. For hosting to work, it is essential that everyone living in your home is fully on board. Inviting a guest/s into your home may mean giving up rooms, privacy and some changes to your household's daily routine. We ask for a minimum commitment of 6 months so please make sure you are all agreed that you can make this commitment.


Talk to other hosts 

Speak with others who are hosting or who are supporting people hosting/in host accommodation. This will give you a better understanding of how it works and may give you some more information on things you may not have considered. Give us a call if you don’t know any hosts!


Ask yourself why 

It’s normal to feel a little anxious about opening your home. As hosts, we have all felt that too. Get clear on your reasons and ask yourself: why am I doing this and what are my expectations of my guests/the arrangement?


Complete the Home Sharing Agreement

This is a great way to work out what you can offer and what rules there will be for your guest. We want our matches to be sustainable so be honest from the outset with what you are comfortable offering, what your boundaries and expectations are. 


Don’t overthink it

Hosting is having a profound impact. This is a once in a lifetime chance for us to make a direct impact on the lives of people who really need it and to enrich our own communities by helping Ukrainian people to integrate and be valuable additions to Irish society by giving them that soft landing that allows them to feel safe and welcome.

Hosting usually involves some level of additional support to help your guests settle into life in Ireland, particularly in the early days. It might be just having a chat over a cuppa every now and then. It could be introducing them to your neighbours or friends or bringing them along to the local community centre or mens/womens shed. Some hosts help their guests access/apply for social welfare, schools, employment and medical systems. Some are able to help with the school run. 


The level of support varies and some guests may have already lived in a host home so may be quite independent. During the matching process, we invite you to let us know what level of support you can and would like to offer. We will also be here to signpost local support and services to your guests. Learn more about the process of becoming a host.


What Hosting Is Not 


Hosting can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it’s important to have a really clear understanding of what hosting encompasses, and equally importantly, what it doesn’t.


  • Hosting is not a landlord/tenant relationship and the ARP is not rent. The Accommodation Recognition Payment is only payable if there is no tenancy agreement in place and it is considered a ‘recognition’ for those supporting Ukrainian guests with accommodation in their home or property. The only additional money that can be requested is a contribution to utility bills.


  • Hosting doesn’t mean that you are your guest's cook, cleaner, babysitter, taxi driver or personal adviser. Many of us are inclined to offer too much of ourselves at the beginning of the hosting journey and soon realise its not sustainable. Be clear in your own boundaries and aim to empower your guests, signpost support and services, and hold back from jumping in to help sometimes. If we try to help our guests with every question or problem, they may not develop the confidence to do it for themselves. 


  • Guests should not be under obligation to help their host with anything outside of normal household chores* that would be asked of any guest or tenant staying in the home. If your guest offers help or expresses a particular interest in, for example, gardening/DIY/childminding that is fine but it must be their choice to partake and they shouldn’t feel any pressure because of the power dynamics in the relationship. Day to day household chores that everyone in the household participates in can be outlined in the Home Sharing Agreement.


  • Hosting is not gaining a new family member, although in some rare cases it may just turn out that way! Please don’t be offended if your guest chooses to spend a lot of time in their room. Some guests will want to interact more, some less… We’re all different! Offer opportunities but try not pressure your guest to spend time with you. We try our best at the matching stage to find the right fit on this front but it doesn’t always work out that way. Remember why you are hosting!

*If your offer to host includes any employment aspects e.g. caring duties/childminding unfortunately we will not be able to match you with a guest in this case as it is outside the scope of our expertise and we cannot advise on these situations.

Important Considerations


Hosting is as important as ever, in the context of an ongoing housing crisis, to support new arrivals as well as those requiring onward hosting while they build their lives here in Ireland. Our goal is to support both hosts and guests to ensure sustainable, healthy and safe matches. Here are some important considerations for those providing host accommodation to vulnerable people. 

Vulnerability & Power Dynamics

Refugees are, by definition, vulnerable. That doesn't mean they aren't articulate, intelligent, determined human beings with personal agency, but they are also in a difficult situation, often having endured very difficult circumstances that have left them with many complex things to work through - and all of this in a new country and culture. As a host, you need to be highly aware of the power differential inherent in hosting arrangements and consider how this might affect your relationship with your guest.

Romantic or Sexual Relationships

Particular care should be taken about developing any relationship beyond that of host and guest and to think through what consent might mean to guests. This is particularly important in terms of romantic relationships, which HIH does not support between hosts, or members of their household, and guests. We would consider any advances (including comments) of a sexual nature to be highly inappropriate. If you are uncertain about this, please talk to our Host Support team.

Guest's Privacy

It is important that guests feel safe while staying in your home and we ask that hosts respect their guests' privacy. We advise that you make sure you have moved out anything you are likely to need from their bedroom/space and ideally provide them with a bedroom key. We don’t know what experiences our guests have been through and it may take time to build trust. A guest feeling safe is key here and they'll need their own personal space to decompress. They may choose to spend a lot of time in their room, particularly in the beginning. We would encourage you to give them the space to do this but if you have concerns about your guest, please get in touch with us so that we can check in on them.


Please also be very careful about posting information or photos of your guest on social media and always ask consent. It’s important that hosts do not place guests under obligation to share information or background about the circumstances under which they left Ukraine. You may find that some guests will tell you about their background, but this must be their choice.  Asking questions about their past may be triggering and in general we advise hosts to only speak about the war when the guest raises the topic first. You can find other ways to let them know you’re there if they need a listening ear.

To learn more about the impacts of trauma for guests, watch the recording of our recent Host Support Masterclass

Setting Boundaries 

A good way to address the power imbalance in the hosting relationship is to establish clear boundaries early on. If guests can be given information in advance about the conditions and expectations of a match, then they can make an informed decision about whether it is right for them or not. Often, with the best of intentions, our Irish hospitality can mean we extend the run of our home to our guests or offer an abundance of help and support while they settle in, only for this to become unsustainable after a few weeks or months. Clarity on what you’re offering from the outset can minimise any risk of you getting burnt out and your guests feeling like the parameters are regularly shifting. 


It may feel uncomfortable at first but clearly communicating household rules and expectations can actually help your guest build a sense of security and a helpful frame of reference as they adjust to their new accommodation.

Offering Help 

Hosting is more than just a roof over your guest’s head. Some guests require and are grateful for additional support from their hosts as they settle in, however it's different for everyone. Often it’s the most dedicated hosts, the ones who go above and beyond to help their guests, who contact us to share their disappointment that their guests haven’t pursued the opportunities they’ve been offered. While it may feel very natural to want to support your guests and encourage them to do the things you feel will help them, it’s important to do so in a way that empowers guests to make their own informed choices.

I didn't want to look back on this period in history and know I had done nothing. I had a spare room and felt it was the best way to help.

Host Survey Respondent

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