There is a great willingness to accommodate refugees from Ukraine under their own roof. But is this also a good solution for you? Take this test to find out.
What is your housing situation?
First of all, look at the matter from two very different perspectives: The refugees have often had terrible experiences in the past weeks and therefore also need their space and the opportunity to withdraw. For you as host:in the situation will probably be challenging from time to time, you will also need your rest in the meantime and want to switch off.
Therefore, it is very important that you can offer suitable premises.
Do you live for rent or in your own apartment?
Hosting refugees also has legal aspects. If you live in a condominium, you are, of course, completely free to host guests there for any length of time. If you are renting, it is advisable to inform the landlord in good time to avoid misunderstandings and disputes. For a period of six to eight weeks, you can house refugees without their permission – if they are relatives, even without a time limit.
By the way, if you are the owner:in an apartment that is currently not being used: Many municipalities, including the city of Stuttgart, are very interested in renting vacant apartments at market rents for refugees.
How long could and do you want to host the refugees?
You decide for yourself how long you want to host someone – you are not entering into any obligations. However, they should be clear beforehand about how long they can offer accommodation and personally want to do so. It is important to communicate this clearly beforehand so that no false expectations arise. Also remember to clarify how you would like this to work out, for example, with grocery shopping or sharing the kitchen.
Particularly in large cities, the authorities are currently often happy to provide accommodation for a few days or two to three weeks due to the high volume. However, most counties are looking for at least medium-term housing – that is, for at least six weeks. The portal https://unterkunft-ukraine.de/, on which e.g. the city Stuttgart refers private hosts, makes periods possible starting from two weeks, underlines however that “dwelling, which is available also longer, is completely particularly welcome”.
The refugees have usually already moved around a lot by the time they arrive at the private accommodation. That’s why they want peace and quietness and some stability – and are grateful if they can also find accommodation for a longer period, i.e. at least for several months.
The organization “Pro Asyl” advises: “Therefore, it is good if the housing option is not strictly limited in time, but accommodation would be possible, for example, of one year.” The portal https://zusammenleben-willkommen.de/, which provides shared rooms for refugees, only accepts offers for a period of twelve months or longer.
Are you willing and able to support the refugees as well organizationally?
Clearly, this questionnaire is at first about housing for refugees. But if you are hosting guests, it will probably come naturally that you will also be an important contact for them. Because refugees have to deal with a lot of questions, go through a lot of administrative procedures – and that usually means a lot of work. Do you can and also want to be an important support in this?
Can you handle the mental stress?
This is a sensitive topic – but it is all the more important to address it openly: The refugees who come to Germany from Ukraine have often experienced terrible things in recent weeks. They have lost or had to leave important people behind, they have experienced hardship and violence, they have no idea how life will go on for them. Many refugees are in a state of mental emergency and are traumatized. As hosts, they must be aware that they will be confronted with anger and grief, with fear and helplessness.
Honestly ask yourself if you yourself are resilient and stable enough to handle it. Also, please be clear about where your boundaries are. Very important: There is no right or wrong. A basic empathic attitude is helpful, you can offer your guests to talk together about certain topics and experiences if necessary. However, you are by no means responsible for a psychological reappraisal of the experiences, professional support is required for this.
These questions are intended to provide you with ideas for self-reflection – and a little help in deciding whether it makes sense for you to host refugees. Consider the following recommendations to help you make a decision and not to judge your commitment: