International students in Australia will be connected with locals who will provide short-term homestay accommodation to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 lockdown has impacted international students in Australia, many of whom are facing extreme financial hardship and are unable to travel home. The other effects of the pandemic include homesickness, loneliness and anxiety about living day-to-day with the uncertainty of their future in Australia.
The Australian Homestay Network has launched an Australia-wide program called the International Student Support Network (ISSN) to provide short-term, heavily discounted home stay to eligible international students impacted by the global crisis. The ISSN has been established to connect vulnerable students with locals who will provide short-term home stay accommodation, meals and a safe home environment, with hosts receiving a small reimbursement to help cover the costs of the student’s living requirements.
The ISSN is facilitated by the AHN, which successfully piloted a similar initiative for asylum seekers in 2012. The ISSN was created in consultation with industry bodies, education providers and student groups to provide relief for at-risk students. ISSN home stay is a comfortable, safe and economical solution that tries to offer some peace of mind and structure to international students by connecting them with a compassionate local family.
Anyone interested in hosting with the ISSN can register online, while students can apply for the ISSN program upon referral from their education provider (eligibility criteria apply).