The Australian Homestay Network has been coordinating placements for international students seeking emergency accommodation as part of the NSW government’s AUD$20 million international student support package.
“It’s fantastic to have so many people opening their doors to show these students that… we care about them”
The majority of students are in homestays throughout Sydney and Wollongong, with almost 300 local families registered to host students as part of AHN’s International Student Support Network program.
AHN has seen a surge in ISSN applications since July 1 – with a 95% increase overall – and the number of applicants referred by Study NSW almost doubling. The Study NSW partnership accounts for more than 80% of ISSN placements made to date.
AHN founder, David Bycroft, said they are predicting demand for assistance will continue to rise and more hosts will be needed in key locations.
With around 21% of international students in Australia fearing they could become homeless, Bycroft said he would like to see the success of the program in NSW replicated across Australia.
“There were more than 555,000 student visa holders in Australia at the end of June. They’re far from home and a lot of them are doing it tough,” Bycroft continued.
“International students are struggling to focus on their studies while dealing with unemployment, loneliness and the uncertainty of how they’ll feed themselves or if they’ll be able to pay for their rent.
“It’s fantastic to have so many people opening their doors to show these students that as Australians, we care about them and we are here to support them,” Bycroft added.
Local families with a spare room are encouraged to register their interest in hosting via the ISSN webpage.
Students seeking accommodation should engage with their local Study Hub or apply for the ISSN program upon referral from their education provider.