Who is eligible to be a guest?
We welcome patients and caregivers who:
- Live more than 50 miles from the hospital
- Have a permanent home to return to after their stay
- Are in active treatment (If staying for a week, patient has at least two appointments)
- Are an important support for the patient
- Have never been convicted of a violent or property crime or sexual violation
- Have not been convicted of a drug or alcohol offense in the last five years
- Are screened to ensure the host family is not at risk
Hospitality Homes serves patients regardless of race, creed, citizenship, physical disability, gender, color, ethnic heritage, veteran status, economic status, sexual orientation or patient’s age, diagnosis, treatment hospital/treatment facility.
Can my whole family stay?
All patients need to be accompanied by a support person. Hospitality Homes allows a maximum of four guests per night in a volunteer host home. Most of our host homes are best suited for two people.
We love our furry friends as much as you do, but we cannot host any pets. Service dogs can be accommodated only in some furnished apartment housing options.
Where are hosts located?
Hospitality Homes has hosts throughout the Boston area. Most hosts live in areas with access to public transportation (subway or buses) and/or have access to parking.
Who are Hospitality Homes hosts?
Our trained hosts are as diverse as our guests – families, young couples, retirees and single women and men. Every host holds our same core values of compassion, generosity, trust and a focus on human connections.
What do hosts provide?
Hospitality Homes hosts provide a clean and comfortable place to sleep and access to a bathroom.
Hospitality Homes hosts do not provide meals or transportation. Most hosts live in areas with access to public transportation (subway or buses) and/or have access to parking.
I’m worried I’m going to be an inconvenience.
Hosts are trained volunteers, and they understand that you are going through a difficult time. They realize you might be coming home late from the hospital, leaving very early, and dealing with stressful issues. As long as you communicate with your host, you will not be an inconvenience.
How long can I stay?
We generally provide short-term accommodations (1-14 days). However, we are often able to accommodate longer stays, depending on your needs and host availability.
What does it cost?
The success of Hospitality Homes relies on the generosity of volunteer hosts. Donations from guests and others sustain the program. Our suggested donation is $25.00 per night (some accommodations may require additional charges) but we encourage guests to donate at a level that is most comfortable. The ability of a guest to make a contribution does not affect our ability to find a host for you and your family. If you cancel your stay after we have arranged to place you with a host family, you may be subject to a cancellation fee of $50.00.
What kind of background check is involved?
For every potential guest 18 or older, Hospitality Homes completes a criminal background check and requires a character reference.
An ideal reference is someone who can attest that you’re responsible, independent, and someone they would be comfortable welcoming into their own home. We prefer a professional reference (such as a co-worker or employer) who has known you for at least six months. But if necessary, we can consider alternate reference sources. We ask that the references come from people who are not family members or friends.
How long does it take to process my application?
We prefer about two weeks’ notice. However, we understand that this is not always possible and are often able to make last-minute placements. If your application is submitted more than two weeks in advance, we will call you two weeks before your scheduled arrival date to confirm your need for housing before we start the placement process.
Is it guaranteed that Hospitality Homes will find me a host home?
Our program depends on the availability of our volunteer hosts and donated apartments. If we are unable to find you a host, we will notify you. We strongly recommend you have a back-up housing option before you arrive in Boston.
What happens after the application process and character references are complete?
Hospitality Homes searches for a host who is able to meet your needs (e.g., number of beds, number of nights, parking, etc.). When a host has been identified, and if you accept the match, we will send a confirmation email with your host’s contact information. You will be responsible for calling the host within 48 hours of the confirmation to introduce yourself and to make arrangements for your arrival.
If there are any last-minute changes in your plans (e.g., treatment cancellation or postponement, date and time of arrival, change in person who will be accompanying you) you are responsible for alerting both your host and Hospitality Homes. **Guests cannot participate in the program until every adult guest completes a reference/background check.**
What happens when I arrive at my host's home?
Your host will welcome you and familiarize you with your accommodations. That is the time to ask questions and discuss expectations in order to make your stay as comfortable as possible for both you and your host.
Do you have hosts who speak my language?
Most of our host families only speak English, but some are comfortable accepting guests who don’t speak English into their homes.
What about stairs and allergies?
We are able to accommodate environmental needs (e.g., pets, allergens) for most of our guests. However, homes with limited stairs are more difficult to find. Please inform us of your needs when you apply.
What happens if I need to extend my stay?
Please contact us as soon as possible so that we can work with you to find new accommodations or determine if your current accommodations can be extended.
What do I need to do to be a Hospitality Homes host?
To be a host in our program, you need to provide two things: a clean, comfortable, private bedroom and, preferably, access to a private bathroom.
All prospective hosts must complete a volunteer application. After you submit your application, Hospitality Homes staff will contact you to set up an interview at your residence. Prospective hosts must also be able to pass a criminal background check (CORI).
Are there any other commitments involved?
Hospitality Homes holds community meetings and events throughout the year. Even though hosts are not obligated to attend, participating in these meetings is encouraged. They offer opportunities to connect with our broader host community by getting to know other hosts and sharing experiences. Some of our host community meetings are more social in nature; others provide unique educational experiences. Many of our hosts consider these meetings and events to be a benefit of their volunteer experience with us.
Where do hosts live?
Hospitality Homes hosts live throughout the Greater Boston area. We are always in need of hosts in Brookline, Newton, Boston, and Cambridge, particularly in areas that are convenient to the Longwood Medical Area and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Do hosts ever complain about problems with guests?
This rarely happens because of our guest screening process. However, if a host has any difficulties or concerns, they should contact the Hospitality Homes office. We will address the issue immediately and, if necessary, make other arrangements for the guest.
I don't allow smoking in my home. Is this a problem?
Not at all. You set the ground rules for guests, including smoking restrictions. Other conditions you control include whether or not to accept children and/or patients as guests, how many guests you prefer at one time, how many nights guests can stay, and any other issues you feel are important. Hosting can be tailored to meet your lifestyle.
In making placements, we also use other information about your home, such as availability of parking, flights of stairs, and pets.
Do patients stay in host homes along with their caregivers?
In many cases, patients will stay over in the hospital, so caregivers will spend more time in the host home than the patients. But often, a patient will stay as a guest the evening before treatment and/or at the end of their care, until they are well enough to go home. As a host, you may choose whether to accept a patient staying in your home.
Do patients who stay in host homes ever have contagious diseases?
No. As a host, you will not be asked to welcome guests who have contagious diseases.
My schedule changes. Can I specify when I can and cannot accept guests?
Yes. You can accept guests as your schedule allows and take time off when you wish. There is no stigma attached to saying “no” when hosting is not convenient for you.
What about liability?
All guests are required to submit a liability release before arriving at the host home. We recommend that hosts check their homeowners or renters’ liability insurance coverage and inform their insurance carriers that they are volunteering with Hospitality Homes.