Refugees face many obstacles in finding a place to live that is decent, stable, and free of discrimination.

Canadians often have spare accommodation, either in the form of an apartment or a room, but don’t know how to connect with someone in need and make it happen sustainably.

Roofs for Refugees provides refugees and settlement workers with a way to help make it happen, and gives Canadians a way to open their homes and their communities.

We intend for this to become a permanent tool for helping refugees from all over the world find housing in Canada.



How it works

You sign up with your apartment or house. We simply need some information on your offered lodging.

We review your application and pass it on to a settlement organization in your area, then arrange for some vetting procedures to take place, with the assistance of a volunteer.

When we have a potential match, you'll meet them in a non-binding meeting.

Depending on the status of the refugee and the length of stay, the settlement agency will suggest a rental amount based on provincial housing subsidy rates. However, the amount you charge is up to you!

Your new tenant or housemate will move in! Through our volunteers and settlement agency partners, we continue to support you and the refugee for the duration of the accommodation arrangement.

About Us

Do you want to make a difference and improve the situation for newly-arrived refugees?

Have you got an apartment or room to spare? Or maybe you are a landlord who can offer a decent apartment, for a reduced rate, or for free? Click “I want to offer lodging” above.

Don’t have a room? We still look for people to act as volunteers for Roofs for Refugees to work with settlement workers and match hosts with refugees, and in some cases act as “buddies” to help newcomers integrate into their new home and community. Just click “I want to be a volunteer” and we’ll put you in touch with a settlement organization in your area.

Or maybe you are a settlement worker, and finding good housing is always difficult? What if there was a way to find vetted hosts in your area? Write to us at to discuss partnering up. We are already partnered with several settlement organizations in Ottawa and Toronto, with whom we consulted in designing our procedures.

An International Success

Roofs For Refugees is a partner-site of Refugees Welcome International, which has projects in Germany, Austria, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Poland, and Italy.

We believe that people who flee their homes should not be stigmatized and isolated.We believe that we should work together to establish a culture of welcoming displaced people.

Spread The Word

Help us spread the Roofs for Refugees project.

Support Us Financially

This project came into being through the time and sweat of professional social and settlement workers, policy experts, community organizers, activists, and tech-geniuses.

If, like us, you think this project is important and you wish to help us change the way New Canadians access housing, please consider donating money to help us run our organization. Stay posted for our donation page!

So far Refugees Welcome International has matched 411 refugees to flats!

Although the public outcry over the plight of refugees is big news right now, this is an ongoing situation which demands an ongoing response. The difficulty and discrimination faced by refugees and asylum seekers will not go away when their stories disappear from the headlines, or if/when the current Syrian refugee crisis subsides.

The 400+ refugees who were connected with homes in Europe are from: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, India, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine.

We know that Canadians have a lot to offer too! Sign-up as a host, a volunteer, or donate and help us connect refugees with welcoming homes.

1. Sign up your room or apartment

Housing refugees in private accommodation brings advantages for both sides: refugees are able to live in adequate, affordable accommodation and adjust to the new environment more easily. You, on the other hand, have a meaningful role in helping a refugee integrate into their new life in Canada.

If you want to take part in this, click “I want to offer lodging” at the top of the page and fill out the form. We ask for some details about where you live, such as the number of people living with you, the languages you speak, your city and the surrounding areas. We’ll also ask for some practical information like whether you require that rent be paid, or if you would be willing to offer the lodging free of charge, and how long and when you are willing to offer your space (in general, we look for hosts to offer their space for a minimum of two months).

This information will help us make sure you’re a good fit for this program, and it helps us and our partners (settlement organizations) match host applicants with refugees.

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2. Getting in Touch

After we review your application, we’ll pass it on to a settlement agency or a Roofs for Refugees volunteer in your town.

The agency/volunteer may then contact you for further vetting procedures– they will ask for references or other additional documents, and they will visit your offered unit for an inspection.

The information collected will be used to match you with someone in need of housing.

3. Get matched

Once your lodging has been screened, you may be matched with a suitable refugee or refugee family. If matched, we’ll also require that you sign a rental agreement to protect your rights and the rights of your new tenant. In many cases, rent can be at least partially funded through government social support (e.g. Ontario Works).

Contact us for more information!

4. Here we go!

Your new tenant(s) will move in! Through our volunteers, we will continue to support you and your new tenant or housemate as needed.

Contact us

If you are a journalist who would like to request information or an interview, please contact:

Our Social Media

Our Facebook.

Our Twitter.

Our Instagram.

The German team has maintained an extensive blog since the start of the project:

Press info and photos

Press Release – Jan 22, 2016

Stay tuned for updates and our donations page!

Our Team

We are a small group of dedicated volunteers from Toronto and Ottawa who believe that grassroots generosity and kindness like yours can have a meaningful  impact on the housing situation of refugees.

With the help of Refugees Welcome International and the support of local settlement agencies, we developed the concept for “Roofs for Refugees.”

We have been working together since August 2015 through the internet, with each volunteer also consulting in their own communities with settlement workers and newcomers. Our site was launched in early 2016.

Roofs for Refugees

Toronto, Ontario





Friends & Partners



Catholic Centre for Immigrants