Welcoming our Neighbors – Housing Migrant Families Together!

Are you interested in offering temporary respite housing to migrant families?

Do you want to be part of the housing solution for migrants in San Francisco? Calling all individuals, landlords, and congregations in San Francisco to join is our alternative to the shelter system for by offering and respite housing solutions to newcomers in the Bay Area.  With IM4HI’s support, YOU can make a direct difference in a migrant family’s life by offering temporary respite housing for 1-3 months in your home, in-law unit, apartment building, or congregation.

Why be a Housing Host?

Housing is the number one challenge for immigrants in San Francisco, especially for those who have recently arrived.  Shelter systems are full and hotel vouchers are unavailable.  When looking for a rental, asylum seekers are asked for credit history, security deposits, IDs, and other market requirements that they simply do not have until a few months after getting settled in the U.S.  

I’m in!! How do I become a Housing Host?

With your support, we can get families we know off the street. Please join us at our upcoming SF Migrant Housing Forum on March 21 at 6:00pm to learn new and creative ways YOU can be part of the solution!

In this forum we will: 

  • Learn about specific barriers to housing that migrants face in San Francisco 
  • Gain insights into the City of San Francisco’s plans to prepare for potential mass migrant bus arrivals  
  • Hear how to support housing of asylum seeking families who are arriving to San Francisco every day
  •  Develop a network of individuals, landlords, and congregations who are willing to provide respite and temporary housing to migrants in San Francisco

IM4HI has seven years experience offering temporary respite housing in San Francisco.  Together with volunteers, we have hosted newcomer families in individuals’ homes, in-law units, RV’s, apartment buildings, and congregational spaces.  We know what works.  

Read our success stories below or read our Hosted Housing FAQ to learn more! 

Individual Hosted Housing: Meet Katerin, Alejandro, and Lucia

The Lopez family enjoying a meal with their housing host, Feb. 2024

Katerin, Alejandro, and their 10-month old, Lucia, arrived in the Bay Area from Honduras in December, 2023.  They found a warm welcome from Susan and Jim, a couple in Berkeley who had eagerly prepared a spare bedroom to receive asylum seekers.  As new parents, they have found stability and independence thanks to the assistance provided by their hosts and their accompaniment team from Berkeley Covenant Church.  The guests and their hosts have quickly become part of a tight-knit family, bonding over shared experiences and mutual support. 

The team has since been helpful in getting cell phones and affordable cell phone plans, signing up for English classes, and finding resources such as diapers and WIC for Lucia.

The hosts and their guests have become like a family supporting one another; Katerin and Alejandro enjoy taking care of the chickens in the yard and Susan and Jim really care for Lucia.  For Jim and Susan, it has been a delight to share a home with this young family as they embrace their new life in California. Particular highlights have included celebrating Lucia’s first birthday, watching her learn to walk, and seeing her begin to explore the world with bright curiosity.  Susan and Jim enjoy their guests’ company and also that they are very independent.  They go to the grocery store and adult school for English classes on their own, and manage childcare by switching off who is in class and who stays home to take care of the baby.

Part of their family’s independence comes from the adversities they have overcome.  When stuck at the border for an entire year, Alejandro started a shelter for migrants together with another NEAT client, Douglas Oveido.  His dream is to one-day have his own construction company in California.  Despite all the adversity their family encountered, their daughter Lucia is his driving force to keep going. With their housing hosts’ generous support, they are one step closer to thriving.

Hosted by SF landlord: Meet Rodnoel

Rodnoel, upon graduating from Nueva Esperanza, painted a rock with his Venezuelan flag and the golden gate bridge as a keepsake memory of his time in hosted housing in San Francisco.

Over the past two years, one generous landlord in San Francisco offered respite temporary housing to 14 asylum seekers in San Francisco.  Here are some of the success stories from his efforts: 

We are proud to share the success story of Rodnoel, an asylum seeker from Venezuela.

Rodnoel: Dec 2021 – Venezuela

Accompanied by Congregation Sherith Israel and St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church

Noel came to the US by foot through the Darien Gap from Venezuela to escape political persecution.  In Venezuela, he had been a practicing attorney.  IM4HI and his accompaniment team flew him to SF to join our program from a shelter in San Antonio, Texas.  Noel first stayed for 3 months with two gay housing hosts in SF who generously offered him the spare room in their apartment.  They enjoyed practicing English together, leaving vocabulary sticky notes throughout the house of common household objects like “toaster” and “bread.”  Soon after, a San Francisco landlord attending Calvary Presbyterian church in SF offered him a 6-month stay in a reduced rate studio apartment.  This was an essential next housing option for Rodnoel as he needed to find a place during the holidays, which is nearly impossible.  

His team mobilized to find furniture and move him in so that he’d have a place to call home by Christmas.  He has since moved to San Rafael where he is enjoying full time work and close to a Venezuelan friend who he met on his journey here. To top it all off, he met the love of his life and is now engaged!  We look forward to his wedding and many years of happiness for them both.  Noel is now fluent in English and enjoys practicing his language skills when he gets together with his IM4HI volunteers.  

Read more on the St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church justice ministry website.

Hosted by a Congregation: Meet Carlos

Carlos is a 30 year old asylum seeker from Comayagua, Honduras. He worked as a farmer and was persecuted for his land rights activist before coming to the US. IM4HI came into contact with him through a stellar substitute teacher in Oakland who sponsors people out of detention in his free time. Carlos began his stay in the Bay Area at Kehilla Synagogue’s congregational housing space.  

Carlos before moving to the Bay Area

He stayed at Kehilla for one month while Kehilla members surrounded him with welcome: regular walks around Lake Merritt and homemade meal delivery. During his stay there, Carlos made strong connections with Oakland Catholic Worker nearby and volunteers regularly there to welcome other migrants. Carlos stayed next in a six month hosted housing by a friendly San Francisco landlord. He now has moved to his own place in the East Bay and is hoping to multiply the hospitality he received from Kehilla by hosting newcomers in the future. 

If Kehilla can do it, you and your congregation can do it!   All it takes is some space and simple furnishings.  IM4HI can guide you every step of the way as we have successfully partnered with over 6 congregations throughout the Bay Area in their process of hosting asylum seekers.    See a virtual tour of Kehilia’s space where they hosted Carlos here: