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In May 2012 the Australian Homestay Network (which accommodates international students) launched the Community Placement Network (CPN). Under this initiative anyone in the community can now apply to become hosts and offer short-term (six-week) homestay accommodation to eligible asylum seekers leaving immigration detention on a bridging visa. Hosts receive training, support services and cost reimbursement through the guest paying board.

The CPN has been a huge success and was a terrific development in an area of great need. It has now been followed by the launch of a new program called the Homestay Helping Hand. This new longer-term program is designed to help marginalised populations within Australia connect and/or reconnect with the community through active participation and contribution in AHN managed Homestay accommodation (including Asylum Seekers, Refugees, Women in need, Homeless, Youth in crisis and Seniors etc.). The ‘guest’ is referred by a partner welfare/community organisation to AHN as being eligible and committed to providing appropriate support around the Hosts home.

The CPN program has been an enormous success since its launch. If you are interested in becoming a host for either program, or for more information see:

Testimonials from a Brisbane family

We just had a wonderful first weekend with our two guests from Burma. Already I think we have learned just as much from them as they have from us. We’ve enjoyed shared meal times, a trip to the market and lots of english practice. This cold rainy weather has meant lots of time at home indoors, but it’s been a great chance for us to get to know them and them us. They are so polite and clean and show great respect for us and our home. It has already been an extremely rewarding, as we feel our lives are richer for having them with us. The situation that some of their friends and family are still facing in their home country is very saddening, so to be a part of their journey is very humbling. Their beautiful smiles have bought new light into our house, and I think its safe to say we are all happy to share this opportunity together.

They are becoming more independent and proactively increasing their local knowledge every day. Home life is still fun, interactive and engaging. We are almost always practicing english in one way or another. There are post it notes up, bundles of flash cards, notebooks, newspapers, dictionaries and thesaurus’ everywhere (all neatly stacked when not in use of course!). They cook their own meals everyday (the best curries you have ever eaten!!), do their own laundry, and always clean up after themselves. I think we trust and respect each other and we have opened more than just our homes to these guys, we’ve opened our hearts and minds and this is an experience that we’ll always remember.

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