Recruiting & Maintaining Host Families on a Shoestring Budget Roger Fong, Center Director- ELS Language Centers/Honolulu, HI Ashlee Milby, Center Director- ELS Language Centers/ Thousand Oaks, CADenica Maravilla, Housing Coordinator- ELS Language Centers/ Thousand Oaks, CA
Evaluate How Your Home Stay Program Will Be Administered:Referral Service: normally entails the institution providing a list of families available on a website or 1 page flyer.3rd Party Providers: offer “turn-key” services but require aper student charge as well as monthly maintenance fees as longas the family is being used. These services are advantageous for institutions that may be starting out and not having the man- power to recruit host families. In-House Services: are normally the most cost effective, and usually what agents, overseas institutions and studentsprefer. However this also entails a staff member devoting time to these duties. This session will concentrate on recruiting host families via this method.
Choose a location or neighborhoodwhere you want your students tobe living in proximity to yourinstitution (keeping in minddistance and travel time by publictransportation)
Type of relationship you wish the families to have with your students: Landlord/Tenant relationship? or Interactive with students?
Landlord Tenant Relationship• Requirements – No meals, less interaction required – STILL must uphold certain minimum standards • Cleanliness • Personal characteristics• Payments will not include estimate price of food
Interactive Relationship• Student is a “member of the family”• Daily interaction with Family• Detailed interview/screening process for families – Questions about lifestyle – First impressions – warm and welcoming – Ask why they are interested in hosting
What kind of room and/or environment you would like your families to provide: Single room, double room, triple room?Bed, desk, closet, bathroom, washer/dryer facilities?
Payments: Who will pay who? The institution Institution Host family Host Family Student Student pays the institution pays the host receives a homestay fee family for payment and hosting the 1099 at the student end of the year
So, you have the neighborhood you wish your families to be in,type of family, and requirements for your families……it’s time to start recruiting!
Always be careful of federal or local zoning/distribution laws: No flyers or postcards inserted in mailboxes per US Postal rules.Certain neighborhoods may have “no flyering” laws. Parking lots are very effective but rarely allowed.If you hire a “flyering” team, you will want to check up on them.
Technology and Media *Newspaper *Television *Radio *Craigslist *Social Media *Institution Website *Yearbook Ads
Inquiries• Responses to online ads may come within a fewdays•Other forms of marketing may take 30-45 days• Plan accordingly!• Always use caution when recruiting online!
Outreach and Fairs *School Festivals *Farmers Market *Street Fair *Brochure *Referral Fee $$ *Community Organizations - Chamber of commerce - Rotary - PTA - Churches, Temples, and Mosques - Service Clubs
Once the inquiries start coming in, it is a good idea tohave a check-list/questions/pre-screenings for call-ins for your and your staff to work off of. This will keeptrack of the numbers of calls/emails you get and you won’t need to double up on call backs.• Name of family• Location of home• Phone number or best way to reach them?• Have they hosted international students before?• Type of home: house, condo, townhouse• Are they legally able to host a student?• Family members in home?• Nearest bus stop? Bus accessible?• Pets?• Speak English in the home?
Application QuestionsIt can include questions from the previous slide but also shouldinclude the following:• Names/ages of all family members• Occupations• Contact information including work /cell phones and emails• Start date for hosting• Gender preferences – Females, males, couples, etc• Any family members convicted of a felony?• Background check approval?• Facilities in the home available for student use?• Wireless access?• Does the family drink alcohol? Accept drinking? Accepts smokers? Outside only?• Family hobbies• Describe a typical weekend in your home.• Write a short note to a future student.• References
After an application has been filledout, the next step is to visit thehome….but try to do some duediligence before the visit….* Background checks*Megan’s Law*Call References*Other internet searches
The Day of the Visit…• Take photos, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen etc. (recommended for internal use only)• Make note of the nearest bus stop • See if the family knows bus routes numbers• Make note of cleanliness of home, clutter, etc.• Facilities: washer/dryer, shared bathroom, etc.• Distance to nearby commerce• Gauge how welcome a student would feel with this family in this home• Trust your instinct!
Quality Audit Checklists-Sets guidelines for your visit-Standardizes requirements for each family-Helps keep objectivity
Meeting with the Family•Host Family and Student Manuals • Clear up expectations•Family Interactions with Student •Invite the student to do simple things like going to the grocery store •Family activities •Being home for dinner so the students can practice English•Typical US/local events•Lifelong friendships• Highlight the positive!
Student Orientation•Schedule/Curfew•Meal time•Light chores•Phone/internet usage•Utilities usage (electricity, H20, etc)•Weekend activities•Shopping/kitchen supplies•Incorporating them in the family’s schedule•Visitors in the home•Schools can also hold a group orientationfor all students in homestay.
The Family is Approved…• Welcome Letter and Homestay Handbook• Handbook should include: – Academic Schedule, including holidays – Requirements – Tips for newly arriving students – Student/Host Incompatibility – Payment Information – Emergency Contact Information
Placement• Student fills out application with preferences• School places accordingly• Placements should be made in advance (Suggested 3-4 weeks)• Student homestay orientation: – Rules – What family will/will not provide – Who to talk to if there is a problem• Survey student week 1 of stay
Follow Up• Homestay newsletter• Emails or phone calls to “check-in”• Payments should be paid on time• Visit homes on a periodic basis• If the family is a good family, ask if they have friends or neighbors that want to host— referrals are the best method of recruitment!
Good luck on establishing a successful homestay program!Thank you for taking the time to attend this session! Roger Fong: firstname.lastname@example.org Ashlee Milby: email@example.comDenica Maravilla: firstname.lastname@example.org