This policy is subject to change at any time. Please check all AHN Policies on a regular basis for updates.
This document is for use by an AHN staff member when dealing with new Host applicants. It outlines the standards that all Hosts will need to meet to be acceptable to the American Homestay Network (AHN) community. It should be used as a guide during initial contact with new applicants and referred to when conducting their home inspection.
Selection Criteria for Recruitment of Homestay Hosts
The goal of AHN is to recruit Hosts who can deliver quality homestay services to Guests who are placed through AHN. Customer satisfaction can be achieved if Hosts understand their duty of care and receive support and training on an ongoing basis. Hosting for the right reasons is paramount. Hosts must be financially stable and have time to spend with the Guest and be willing to include their guests in their home/family activities.
The chronological sequence of host selection allows AHN staff to make an informed decision based on how well the prospective Host deals with each stage of their application and their ability to communicate with the staff member throughout this process. The Supervisor should pay particular attention to the tone and quality of their initial communication, how well they proceed with the training and orientation and, finally, the result of their home interview and inspection.
Hosts must offer:
Hosts must display:
What is Duty of Care?
The AHN community has a duty of care to all international Guests. There are four key factors outlined below:
AHN representatives must be aware of discrimination legislation. Racial discrimination abounds in the homestay industry because the majority of homestay Guests wish to live with what they perceive as a ‘typical’ American family. Race is not sufficient grounds to reject an applicant as a Host.
While the Supervisor must avoid discrimination, if a potential Host, regardless of race, does not meet the selection criteria set by the Host Manager then the Host Manager must refuse them. For example, homestay Guests expect to stay with an English-speaking family to improve their English language capabilities. If a high level of English is an established criterion for placing Guests and a household does not meet the criterion, the household can be refused as a Host. If the Supervisor chooses to reject potential Hosts based on this criterion (or any other), the code of conduct and program policies should clearly reflect this position to legally protect the Supervisor and the AHN community.
It is at the Supervisor’s discretion whether or not the Host should be informed of the reasons they are being rejected. For example, if requirements are currently lacking that may be met in the future a Supervisor may wish to alert the Host of what is needed. However, if a Host is completely unsuitable (e.g. hosting as primary income, prior exclusion from network, etc.) the Supervisor may choose to simply inform the prospective Host of their unsuitability without elaboration. If the Host chooses to challenge this they may be informed of the Grievance Management Policy. Please note that as part of the grievance proceedings applicants do have a legal right to view information collected regarding them. As such, Host files should be objective and not overly explicit in listing reasons for Host unsuitability.
The objective of monitoring Hosts ensures that continued performance is identified and measured against the criterion in place. Support can be offered where the need is identified to better protect both the Host and the Supervisor. Monitoring should take place once in each six month period.
All Hosts must provide their Social Security number and date of birth when applying to join AHN. Any persons over the age of 18 residing in a Host’s home must also agree to a criminal background check prior to any Guest being placed with the Host. AHN will conduct periodic criminal background checks for Hosts biennially (i.e. every two years) if the Host offers standard homestay services or annually (i.e. every year) if hosting younger students participating in the AHN High School Program. The cost is $20.00USD per person.
Accommodation must be inspected prior to any Guest being placed according to the appropriate checklist (above). A Host should be advised if they have failed to supply any part of the requirements and re-checked when requirements are complete.
Host residences should be inspected on an annual basis unless otherwise required (e.g. inspections will be carried out every six months for Hosts participating in the AHN High School Program).
Updated July 2019