API Host Family

Vetting Process

The priorities and policies for identifying housing accommodations (of any sort) are as follows:

  • Safety: This is API’s number one priority. All API housing must be located in areas of the city with low levels of crime. Participants should be able to feel comfortable walking alone at night (before 10 p.m.) in their neighborhoods, subject to city variations.
  • Quality: All API housing must be clean and welcoming.
  • Location: API housing should be located in close proximity to public transportation systems, for easy access to the host university, intern placement, etc. Whenever possible, it is preferable that housing is located less than 40 minutes walking distance or via public transport from the host university, internship or volunteer placement.
  • Equity: Though every home or apartment will be different, all housing should offer comparable amenities and be of a similar quality.
  • Proximity to other participants: It is also recommended that more than one API participant be placed in a given neighborhood, so that participants do not feel isolated and could choose to travel home together in the evenings.

In most cases, new host families are identified via personal connections and recommendations of existing host families. API policy mandates that all families must be personally interviewed by an API representative at their home. The common areas of the home, as well as the participant’s room, must be viewed. RDs will specifically consider the following:

  • Safety. Participants cannot be housed with individuals with criminal records. Host families should live in areas of the city with low-crime rates; the area should be safe for a participant to walk alone until 10 p.m. or so, subject to local standards about safety. Host family homes must comply with local emergency standards and protocol (such as smoke alarms, access to an emergency exit, etc.).
    Level of wellbeing/harmony in the family. This includes the health of family members.
  • Location. The distance of the house in relation to the API center (if applicable) and the university.
  • Amount of time the family is in the home.
  • Personality of the members of the family.
  • Cleanliness.
  • Sufficient space and privacy for the student to study.
  • Accessibility.

Resident Directors complete a detailed report for each host family they interview that addresses all of the considerations listed above. The host family must also complete a detailed questionnaire, which includes verification that they nor any family members have criminal records. Host families must also sign an agreement that stipulates that they will adhere to all API policies (ranging from agreeing to provide healthy meals, to notification of changes to the family situation, to how to alert the API RD about concerns regarding a specific student, etc.). They are informed that students will be removed from their home if policies are violated or if students report feeling unsafe in any way, and no future students will be placed with them. Finally, RDs visit each host family every term to ensure that the housing remains in compliance with API standards and to assess how the student(s) is adjusting and fitting into the home and the family.

Finally, all host families will sign a Home Stay Agreement that includes the following provisions (among others):

  • None of the residents in the home have a criminal background.
  • The family agrees to continue hosting the student through any period of illness (COVID or otherwise).
  • Participant will have their own key and will have access to common areas of the home.
  • Family will provide meals according to the specified schedule, as well as laundry and routine cleaning.