Interest builds for hosting young refugees

4:15 min

Interest in opening their homes to temporarily host young refugees is skyrocketing among Swedes, Swedish Radio News reports.

Cities like Stockholm, Malmö and Växjö are reporting a barrage of phone calls and emails in the past week asking about the program that pairs unaccompanied minors seeking asylum with Swedish households.

Officials said they barely have time to reply to everyone who contacts them.

Speaking to Radio Sweden, Linda Kilter of the City of Stockholm, said: "On a normal day, I have about 10 emails. Today I had 92."

You can open your home to unaccompanied migrant children, or you can offer to become a legal guardian for minors or simply volunteer to spend time with them; you can invite them to dinner or bring them to the theater, for instance, Kilter explained.

"People are saying: 'Enough is enough, I have room in my house, and I can open up my home.' So many people are starting off like that when they call," Eva Kollberg, who works on the hosting program in Gothenburg, told Swedish Radio News.

Kollberg also said her phone has been ringing non-stop and that her inbox is stuffed with queries from people. In just four days, the office received more than 130 emails as opposed to their usual four to eight emails per day. The situation is similar in other places around the country.

The challenge now, Kollberg said, is processing all the queries and adding more staff to train the new foster families and to answer questions.

Last summer, there were 960 host families in Gothenburg, and it is forecasted that by the end of next year another 600 will be needed.