• France's news in English

'Airbnb for refugees' comes to Paris

The Local · 4 Sep 2015, 10:30

Published: 04 Sep 2015 10:30 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
It can be hard enough for Parisians themselves to find a place to live the French capital.
But imagine how tough it would be for someone who's just been granted refugee status, can't speak French, and hasn't got their own network to help.
This is a problem that's being tackled by Singa, an organization which has spent the past two years helping refugees adapt to life in France.
The group has recently created a new "room-finding" programme called Calm (Comme a la maison), in the hopes of connecting refugees with volunteers who have space in their homes.
With the issue of refugees the hottest political issue of the moment, organizers have said that it's about time something was done to address the issue.
"Today there is a real awakening of civil society on this issue," co-founder Nathanaël Molle said. "We can't just stand by anymore."
Since launching a few days ago, around 200 people have already registered their interest in housing a refugee, the group's co-founder Molle told the AFP news agency.
It's inspired by a similar scheme that was set up in Berlin under the title Refugees Welcome and was dubbed "Airbnb for refugees" after the popular holiday home-sharing site.
The website of the new French version asks: Do you have a spare room in your apartment? Then host a refugee!
"We have all kinds of families among those registered: farmers, bankers, people who live in the countryside, others in towns," added Alice Barbe, another co-founder.
Barbe said that the move would allow refugees "to understand the society they are in, to meet French people, and to be able to relax during a period of stress and anxiety".
(Do you have a spare room in your apartment? Then host a refugee!)
So how does it all work?
Refugees can submit a form online that asks for some basic details, as well as where they'd like to live.
Story continues below…
Volunteers can fill out another form detailing their available room, the home it is inside, and the area they live in, and even information about their hobbies. 
Singa then correlates the information to find suitable matches - and have said that the first housing will take place within the next two weeks.
And similarly to Airbnb, the homeowners are in charge of how long their guest can stay, which can be anything from a month to one year. The organization notes that the contract can be cut short if things don't work out.
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available