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SAFETY AND SECURITY INFO 06 / 2023: Home Accommodation Network fosters safe accommodation model and minimizes risks 

Home Accommodation Network is a civic engagement network that has been organizing home accommodation for asylum seekers in Finland since 2015. The support association of the network is an expert organization that provides support for the local groups and both parties of the home stay.  

In home accommodation the person seeking international protection in Finland is living in a local home instead of the reception centre. This is a form of accommodation that gives an experience of shared everyday life and being part of local community. 
Safety and wellbeing of the people who are in vulnerable position is of utmost importance for Home Accommodation Network. We are very aware of the fact that people seeking international protection can be susceptible to abuse or even human trafficking in worst cases. Our goal is to minimize risks and support safe and well considered home accommodations.  

Home Accommodation Network fosters and coordinates only home stays that are voluntary and gratuitous on both sides. These don´t include payments or expectations of work input in exchange for home stay. 

Since the spring of 2022 Ukrainians in large numbers have arrived in Finland to seek temporary protection and many of them are interested in home stays. Home Accommodation Network has decided to act according to the same principles as many years prior to this: we don´t foster home accommodation straight from the border to an unknown home. We do not organize large scale or acute emergency accommodation but mainly more long-term home stays for those who are in the reception system for asylum seekers or seeking temporary protection.  

We are in close cooperation with the authorities. It is very important that people arriving in Finland have knowledge about their rights and access to the services they need, and that they have information about different organizations they can contact when necessary.   

Home Accommodation Network and its support association also actively try to ensure that all parties of home accommodation have realistic expectations of the arrangement.  

Home Accommodation Network is a self-guided civic movement in which different actors participate out of their own free will. Home accommodation is always based on the agreement between the parties. However, Home Accommodation Network is not a party to the said agreement since that is between the accommodation provider and the one living in it. Support and advice are given by the local groups and the support association.  

When preparing for home accommodation that is well considered and agreed on beforehand, we recommend reading the Home Accommodation Guide which is available in several languages and can be found here: 

Together with an anti-violence expert Elina Nikulainen we have produced Preventing sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment in accommodation -guidelines, available in Finnish, Ukrainian and English. Can be found here: 

Everyone interested in home accommodation is encouraged to join the national facebook group of Home Accommodation Network as well as the closest local group. Getting acquainted with the material we have produced and participating in our training sessions is adviced. You can join us even if your home accommodation has started outside of our network. 

All people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds are welcome to join us, as well as different genders and age groups too. Shared values that everyone should be committed are voluntarism, reciprocity, trust and right to privacy.  

Since the war in Ukraine started some of the existing local groups were re-activitated and some new ones appeared. Home Accommodation Network is self-guided which means that local groups can organize their activities as they see best, based on the local needs. The practices in local groups have been shaped into the new situation.  

The facebook groups of Home Accommodation Network are actively moderated and the moderators observe the posts and communications in the groups, as well as checking out the profiles of the members and those willing to join the groups. We do not publish for example phone numbers or information on addresses. 

There are variations in the practises of the local groups, for example in the following areas: how the practical organization of home accommodations happen, how potential home accommodation providers are interviewed and how it is checked that the offered home stay is suitable and safe for the resident and if the home stay provider understands what they are committing to.   

People seeking international protection (or temporary protection) have a right to decide themselves whether they will look for home accommodation and if they will move into a particular person´s or family´s home. The exception are the unaccompanied minor asylum seekers arriving in Finland whose accommodation generally is in housing units especially designed for them. There is a possibility for home accommodation for them as well if it is considered a good solution based on best interest of the child. Finnish Immigration Service has following guidelines regarding accommodation of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers: 

From the integration standpoint home-like living conditions can offer meaningful way to live and a good start for many. We are very aware of the fact that there are varying ways and conduct in the field of private accommodation and also risks that we try to minimize in our own way of functioning. We are striving for responsible, safe and positive accommodation model for all. 

Well considered home accommodation is safe and positive mode of living according to numerous experiences, for example for those belonging to ethnic and linguistic or sexual and gender minorities. Also many other asylum seekers have found it a positive experience to live in a home-like environment. 

Those involved in home accommodation will not be left alone in case they have questions regarding everyday life or other issues. There is expertise and peer support available from network´s volunteers and the professionals in the support association.  In case you have any worries or questions related to home accommodation, including its safety, please do not hesitate to get in touch with support association staff.