Connecting the Bay Area's refugees with hosted housing.

More people have been forced to flee their homes by conflict and crisis than at any time since World War II. The refugee issue is one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises today.

Hundreds of these refugees are resettled here in the San Francisco Bay Area. They come from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Uganda, Nigeria, Guatemala, and many other countries. Upon arriving in the Bay Area, they are sometimes with family, sometimes alone, and seeking to build new lives from scratch.

Over the past several years, dozens of families in the Bay Area have voluntarily taken refugees into their extra bedrooms and in-law units for the refugees’ first few months in the United States, and helped them adjust to life in the Bay Area. New Anchor, funded by local community members in the Bay Area, seeks to scale up this effort to connect the Bay Area’s refugees and asylum seekers with hosted housing.

Here are some examples of recent refugee hosts and their experiences:

Name: Patti Harrison
Location: Alameda, CA
Hosted Refugees From: Uganda

“It was really fulfilling. It felt good. Especially now, you’re putting a lot of positive energy out into the world at a time when there’s so much negative energy, when there are so many people who are anti-immigrant, anti-refugee. To be a safe space for someone who needs it, it felt like we were having a positive impact on someone and it felt almost effortless – it wasn’t obviously, there were stresses and strains – but the feeling and being a part of something bigger than yourself outweighed anything troubling. We still feel warmly towards him and he feels warmly towards us, and that’s a lifelong friendship and bond that was created. It warms our heart that he still considers us and our home to be a part of his life and home.”

Name: Eliot Peper
Location: Oakland, CA
Hosted Refugees From: Uganda

“Hosting a refugee in our house wound up being way easier, way more pleasant, and way more meaningful than I’d expected. When he moved in, he became part of the family. It was a profound interpersonal experience…. Selfishly, as hosts, we got a lot out of the experience. You’re developing a relationship with someone who comes from a very different world, and introducing them to our world.”

Name: Ben Casnocha
Location: Oakland, CA
Hosted Refugees From: Iraq, Guatemala, Uganda

“Hosting refugees has been life changing. Our journey started by hosting two gay Iraqi men in our house for four months. We became very close to them almost immediately, helping them adjust to life in America, sharing stories about our respective cultures, and yes, enjoying their Middle Eastern cooking! After they moved out, we took in a young man from Uganda, followed by a woman from Guatemala and her 12 year old son. In each experience, we’ve learned more about ourselves and our cultural assumptions than we ever thought imaginable.”

Learn more

The following resources – including refugee-serving organizations, books, films, and podcasts – may be helpful in understanding the global refugee issue and crisis.

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