CPN Frequently Asked Questions
NOTE: In case of emergency – contact “000”
Where the matter relates to a homestay arrangement, please contact your local supervisor during business hours.
For emergency support outside business hours, phone the 24/7 CPN emergency line: 1300 “MY STAY” ( or
CPN Frequently Asked Questions for Hosts
Q. What is a Homestay arrangement under the Community Placement Network (CPN)?
A. A Homestay under CPN is a six week accommodation arrangement between an individual or family (host) and an eligible asylum seeker (guest) living in their home.
Q. How does it work?
A. As a host you would be required to provide your guest with a clean, safe and adequately furnished room. A guest will need to have access to a bathroom, kitchen and laundry facilities. The CPN homestay arrangement only includes the room. A host can discuss inclusions further to the homestay arrangement through private agreement with their guest, such as the option to include meals during the homestay period.
Q. Who is an asylum seeker?
A. An asylum seeker is a person who has fled their own country and applied for protection as a refugee.
An asylum seeker does not have refugee status until they are determined to be owed protection.
For more information visit the DIAC website.
Or visit the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Q. Who is a refugee?
A. According to the United Nations, Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, as amended by its 1967 Protocol (the Refugee Convention), a refugee is a person who is outside their own country and is unable or unwilling to return due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of their:
A refugee has been determined to be owed protection.
For more information visit the DIAC website
Q. What is a Bridging visa?
A. A Bridging visa is a temporary visa, granted by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, to allow a person to live in the Australian community while they await resolution of their immigration status. Asylum seekers who arrive unauthorised by air or sea may be granted a Bridging visa while their immigration case is resolved.
Q. How do the approved Support Providers help Bridging visa holders?
A. Asylum seekers on a Bridging visa who require transitional or ongoing support may be eligible for assistance through existing DIAC funded programs (see the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s website for more information), such as the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme (ASAS) and the Community Assistance Support (CAS) program, which are administered by the nominated approved CAS service providers.
Q. How much do I get paid as a host?
A. Under the CPN homestay arrangement hosts are reimbursed anticipated accommodation costs through their guest paying a weekly amount of board.
Q. How close do I have to live to public services?
A. Where practical a host will need to live in easy commutable distance to services (e.g. hospitals, shops) and potential workplaces.
Q. Am I eligible to apply to be a host?
Most friendly individuals or families who are able to provide a clean, safe and properly furnished bedroom for their guest are able to apply to be a CPN host.
However if you or any member of your household is an employee of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) you are not eligible to apply to be a CPN host.
If you or any member of your household is an employee/volunteer with any associated DIAC service provider you may apply to be a CPN host but you must declare this information during your application.
Q. How do I apply to be a host?
A. Click the “Join as a Host” button on the main CPN entry page. Once you have filled in all three pages of the application form, an email will be sent to your nominated email address asking you to activate your account. Once you activate your account, you can log into the CPN Homepage. You can access your account whenever you wish by clicking the “Homestay Hosts” link in the top menu and logging in.
Q. What does the application process involve?
A. Once logged in, as a new host member you can create your profile, upload your homestay details, requisites and explore the members’ area. If you are successful in your application to become a host, you will be required to undertake an online training module and undertake an online test. This test is considered “open book”, as you can review the training modules while answering the questions. In the final stage of the application, a CPN representative will visit your home to meet you and other household members as well as to inspect the nominated guest room and the home environment. This visit will also provide you with the opportunity to discuss further your expectations and those of the CPN.
Q. What exactly do I have to offer guests?
A. Your guest requires their own bedroom, bed, desk, chair, adequate lighting, heating/cooling and some kitchen cupboard and fridge space. The accommodation offered to guests will need to be clean, orderly and in good condition. It must comply with current council building regulations, be properly furnished, within the family living area, and offer privacy. Many guests may also require a small mat in their bedroom for prayer (this mat must not be used for any other purpose and especially not walked over).
Q. What are my responsibilities as a host?
A. It is expected that a CPN host will welcome a guest into their home, provide a safe environment and respect the privacy and dignity of the guest they take in. A CPN host should be prepared to display a friendly and flexible attitude.
As a host, in your daily interactions with your guest, you are encouraged to share information about Australia and Australian culture. This interaction will assist your guest to learn some basic skills and knowledge about living in Australian society. Your support and networks may also be of great assistance to your guest in establishing community links and as they seek work.
Q. What is not included in my responsibilities as a host?
A. A CPN host should not counsel their guest on their immigration pathway or advocate a particular immigration outcome for them. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has allocated your guest a qualified Migration agent from the Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS). It is the responsibility of the IAAAS provider to advise the guest in relation to their immigration pathway and to liaise with DIAC on their behalf. A CPN host should not directly service or counsel a guest’s health or welfare needs, other than providing a safe and clean room for the guest. The nominated CAS service provider will allocate a case worker to assist with the guest’s basic health and welfare needs.
For more information on IAAAS visit the DIAC website;
Q. Will my guest speak English?
A. Some guests will have a fair level of English and will be able to communicate well with their host. Other guests might only have a basic level or very little English. While in immigration detention all asylum seekers have the opportunity to learn English, and most can articulate basic information. A guest will have access, for more formal dealings, e.g. medical appointments, to the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) National, through which they will be able to speak with an interpreter over the phone.
For more information on TIS National, please Click Here.
Q. How can I communicate with my guest, if they speak very little English?
A. If your guest has limited English and is still learning it can at times make communicating hard. A few communicating tips below will help you communicate while your guest is still learning English.
To help your guest to become familiar with household items, you could also place name cards on items such as the “fridge”, “cupboard”, to help your guest recognise these items.
Q. What should I do when my guest arrives?
A. Ensure you are available to greet your guest when they arrive at your home. A CPN representative will coordinate your guest’s arrival time with you. Your guest may be nervous and may need some time to become familiar with their new surroundings; patience and consideration will be necessary from all household members. Offer them a refreshment drink/snack, show them their room and the bathroom facilities and make them generally welcome. Later in the day, take the opportunity to orientate the guest to your home, explain kitchen, laundry and general house rules, and introduce them to other family members.
Q. What should I do in the first week after my guest arrives?
A. Login to the CPN website and complete your checklists. Confirm with your guest that they are happy and are able to use public transport to access the local shopping centre, workplace or other services. Ask if they have established any community support groups in the surrounding areas and generally enquire as to their wellbeing. Regular communication with your guest on any issues they are having is encouraged.
Q. What if I want to offer my guest more than a room – e.g. meals?
A. The CPN homestay arrangement only includes the room. A host can discuss inclusions further to the homestay arrangement through private agreement with their guest, such as the option to include meals during the homestay period.
Q. I told my guest to ‘help themself’ to food but when I arrived home they had eaten all the snacks.
A. You need to explain to your guest your house rules, including the use of your kitchen. You may wish to keep a container in the pantry or fridge with ‘snacks’ written on it so the guest knows exactly what they can take.
Q. I told my guest to ‘help themself’ to food because I was going out but when I arrived home they had not eaten.
A. Some guests, especially when they are new to your household, will not do anything that they might get wrong. Consequently they will not take food or use equipment or help with washing up simply because they may not have the skill or feel intimidated. If you have negotiated a private agreement to include meals and food, remind your guest on how to use the kitchen and reinforce their right to access food.
Q. My guest does not want to help with the washing up after the evening meal.
A. It is possible that your guest may not know how to wash up. It may be better to give them a different job to do e.g. clear the table or lay the table prior to the meal. Be prepared to teach them how.
Q. If I take my guest out do I have to pay for them?
A. If you want to take your guest out, explain where you are going and how much it will cost. Your guest then has the opportunity to decide whether or not to go with you. Do not expect your guest to pay for other members of the family as asylum seekers have very little money. Many hosts are happy to include their guest within the cost of family outings.
Q. How long is the hosting period?
A. The CPN homestay arrangement is for a period of six weeks. You are not obliged to host your guest for any longer than six weeks.
Q. What happens to my guest after the six week arrangement?
A. Your guests will be responsible for finding their own accommodation after the six week homestay arrangement ceases. It is important that from the commencement of your guest’s six week homestay arrangement they start preparing and looking for suitable accommodation, either in the private rental market or other arrangements. Your guest’s CAS support case worker will provide your guest with information and support in searching for accommodation.
As a host, you can also provide assistance, support and information to your guest in their accommodation search. At the commencement of the homestay arrangement, you will be provided with information from CPN about how you can assist your guest to find suitable accommodation.
Q. What should I do if I have a problem with the homestay arrangement? What support will I get from CPN?
A. CPN hosts and guests have access to full management support from CPN. Any issues with the homestay arrangement including issues that may occur after hours and at weekends can be escalated via the emergency 24/7 CPN homestay support phone line. However, in an emergency immediately contact the appropriate emergency services.
Q. What should my guest call me?
A. This is your choice. It can be formal e.g. Mr or Ms or casual e.g. your given name.
Q. My guest tells me they have no dirty washing but they have been here for a week.
A. As part of explaining to your guest your house rules, including laundry use, you may have offered to do their washing but they prefer to do their own. Negotiate an arrangement with the use of the laundry that suits both you and your guest, and explain current water restrictions if any are in place.
Q. My guest says they are cold at night.
A. Check that they have enough bed linen but also check that they are getting into bed under the covers.
Q. My guest is using too much water. Is it ok for me to ask them not to do this?
A. Yes, explain the current water restrictions in your area. Explain that it is not your decision but that of the local council.
Q. My guest leaves the light on all night, which wastes electricity.
A. Some guests come from experiences or cultures where the dark might frighten them. It is best to buy a low wattage bulb or give them a nightlight.
Q. Is it ok for me to go in to my guest’s room when they are not there?
A. Privacy is important. The guest’s room should be private to them during their stay with you. If you plan to clean the room ask the guest when it is ok to do this.
Q. I think there is some money (and/or items) missing from my home and I think my guest may be responsible.
A. Contact the 24/7 CPN homestay support phone line in the first instance. It is better that you do not confront the guest yourself.
Q. My guest is up nearly all night and is disturbing the rest of the household.
A. Explain to your guest that they must be quiet and not disturb other people.
Q. My guest gets home before me each day and I cannot give them access because of our security system.
A. This is a difficult situation but you will need to make arrangements so your guest can access their room at all times during the homestay period.
Q. My guest has not come home or is missing for more than 24 hours.
A. Contact the guest’s CAS service case worker.
Q. I asked for a non-smoker but I know my guest smokes.
A. Show your guest a place outside that is away from the home where they may smoke and give them a container for cigarette butts. Explain that it is their responsibility to keep the area clean and tidy. Explain they may not smoke in your home or in shopping centres and other public places.
Q. My guest goes drinking with their friends and comes home intoxicated.
A. If your guest is causing problems then speak with your local supervisor during business hours. In an emergency relating to a homestay placement, call the 24/7 Community Placement Network homestay support phone line. If your household is non-drinking or not accepting of alcohol use, you should check your host profile to make sure you have indicated this.
Q. What should I do when my guest informs me they are leaving?
A. Advise your local supervisor immediately. Ask your guest for their forwarding address so you can send on any mail that arrives for them. Ask them how they will get to their new accommodation and assist them if you wish to help. This does not mean that you have to transport them but they may need assistance in calling a taxi or getting to the train or bus.
Ensure your guest has informed their CAS service support case worker of their intention to move.
Q. What should I do if my guest refuses to leave at the end of their homestay period?
A. Prior to your guest arriving they will be fully informed that the CPN homestay arrangement is short term, for a period of up to six weeks only.
From the commencement of your guests stay, they will be provided with information and support in searching for accommodation by their nominated approved CAS support case worker. As a host, you can also help and encourage your guest to find accommodation.
On the day your guest is due to leave, if they refuse to do so contact your supervisor during business hours, or the emergency 24/7 CPN homestay support phone line so that this matter can be resolved immediately.
Q. What should you do on the day that a guest leaves?
A. Complete your host checklist on the CPN website making sure you indicate that your home is free to receive another guest if that is your wish.