Thousands have already been hosted by families in countries like Switzerland, Germany, Spain and the UK. Websites connect refugees and potential hosts.
Website platforms and apps have been set up by Christians across Europe to host refugees escaping the war in Ukraine.
Switzerland, a small country with a long tradition of welcoming refugees, has seen over 90 churches and hundreds of families unite in the Kirchen Helfen (Churches Help) initiative.
“Church congregations usually have good infrastructures equipped for families, which are often unused during the week and are ideal for accommodating guests. We therefore call on these churches to consider the possibility of temporarily hosting a group of guests from Ukraine”, the initiators say.
So far, 700 Ukrainian refugees have already found a place to stay. The 13 specialised organisations behind the effort also offer support to those who ask for asylum and other legal advice. “We see that our mission is offering these people a safe refuge from the war and praying that they will soon be allowed to return home”.
In Germany, the Host4Ukraine website and app was set up by two young developers who already had experience in the field of social media, reported Pro Medien Magazin. “We come from a Christian background. Loving your neighbour was important for us”, they say. Individuals can easily offer their home in a website that looks like a AirBnB website but for free. Three weeks after the start of the invasion, over 10,000 beds were offered on this platform, in Germany and other 40 countries.
In the United Kingdom, there are also similar initiatives in Christian contexts. The platform Welcome Churches (which worked supporting Afghans) has opened a new website for Ukrainian refugees. Its aim is to help them integrate in the UK, offering connection with churches, educational centres, medical help and work opportunities.
In other countries, it is the social branch of evangelical federations who is organising a network of families wanting to host refugees. It is the case in Spain of Diaconía, which has experience receiving asylum seekers in the past and is distributing the Ukrainian asylum seekers to trusted Christian organisations as well as to families.
In Italy, the Evangelical Alliance is working to "connect those who have various needs with the Italian evangelical churches that offer services and hospitality". But they also "think of types of remote support, sponsoring or 'adopting' houses near the Ukrainian borders, for all those refugees who prefer not to move away from their own country".
On a European level, the Ukraine Connect website also puts in touch potential hosts and Ukrainian refugees looking for a home. It has been started by members of the 3 Christian ministries with long experience working across European countries.