E.g., 02/23/2024
E.g., 02/23/2024
From Safe Homes to Sponsors: Lessons from the Ukraine Hosting Response for Refugee Sponsorship Programs
Policy Briefs
October 2023

From Safe Homes to Sponsors: Lessons from the Ukraine Hosting Response for Refugee Sponsorship Programs

The outpouring of public support for people fleeing the war in Ukraine that began in February 2022 has been a critical component of the emergency response in many European countries, particularly those already facing housing shortages and with overwhelmed reception infrastructure. Hosting initiatives, through which private individuals can offer space in their homes or other private properties, were swiftly deployed, flexible enough to respond to changing needs, and involved receiving communities directly in welcoming newcomers. Yet many also encountered challenges, including issues around safeguarding vulnerable individuals, host burnout, and long-term planning.

This policy brief examines how private hosting initiatives for displaced Ukrainians have been implemented in a range of European countries. It situates these programs within the broader evolution of private welcoming and sponsorship initiatives in Europe, and identifies key successes and limitations. The brief also offers recommendations that could help civil society, governments, and the European Union further develop hosting initiatives and refine refugee resettlement and community sponsorship programs.

This MPI Europe study is part of the Building Capacity for Private Sponsorship in the European Union (CAPS-EU) Project, which aims to build the capacity of European, national, and local governments and nongovernmental stakeholders to design, implement, sustain, and scale up community sponsorship programs for refugees.

Table of Contents 

1  Introduction

2  Tracing the Evolution of Private Welcoming Initiatives in Europe

3  The Ukraine Crisis: Hosting Hits the Mainstream

4  Weighing the Successes and Trade-Offs of Private Hosting
A. The Successes
B. Limitations and Ways to Mitigate Them

5  Recommendations