The Refugee Immigration Ministry (RIM) Metro North Cluster has a new client—a young man from Uganda who is seeking asylum in the US. He is currently settling in at a host home provided by a member of the cluster. Hopefully, sometime in the next few months we may be able to invite him to our church for worship service.
Cluster members are very happy to have a host home for this man. When RIM accepts an asylum seeker into its program of support, often that person’s most desperate need is a place to live while awaiting work authorization.
The Host Home Program is a means to provide housing to a client and their family members (if any). Host Home providers offer space in their home for a client to live up to 6 months at a time. Sometimes a client has a shorter term need for housing. A client may also need longer term housing as well. The cluster seeks to support that client to full independence and that may mean securing a second host home and/or assisting in rental housing. A client that has applied for asylum may need to wait from 6 months to up to two years to obtain a work permit and to then be able to earn the income needed to become independent over time.
Metro North is hoping to be able to respond to clients more quickly by developing a network of host homes. The host home program has been used for many years by many RIM Clusters but not by Metro North for a number of years; we have been helping recent clients by subsidizing rent. While that remains an option, it limits the number of clients we can help due to limited funds. RIM currently has 43 people/families on their waiting list.
The Metro North Cluster is offering Host Home Training on Sunday, April 22, from 3-4 PM at Temple Beth Shalom in Melrose. The training will include specific information about what’s involved in being a host family to an asylum seeker — either short term or a longer term of 6 months or more. In addition, one or two people who have been or currently are hosts for an asylum seeker will be there to answer questions and share their experiences. Attending the training does not mean a commitment to be a host family, only that you are interested in knowing more.