Nora has been hosting Charita (whose name has been changed for the purpose of this article) for two months now, and spoke to our At Home Coordinator, Naomi, about what she has gained from the experience – an experience she describes as having brought both Nora and Charita “great joy” and given Nora’s home “spirit”.
When Charita first came to stay, Nora was understandably apprehensive at the prospect of hosting her first guest. However, Nora explained: “I knew straight away that it was a manageable situation because her smile, straight away […] she’s got that lovely smile and I thought, oh, that’s ok.” Charita quickly became part of the home, and she and Nora have enjoyed sharing simple moments, like embarking on food shops together and attending Mass together in Nora’s local parish.
When Charita went away with her own church for a few days, Nora surprised herself at how much she missed her, saying: “I suddenly felt the house had lost a spirit. I really was sad the first day. I was amazed. I realised that at that stage she obviously had become part of my life. It wasn’t just a matter of renting a room up to somebody or giving a room to something, actually she was part of the house and heart.”
Nora finds inspiration through her faith to host, saying that: “if I examine my conscience and my faith […] there are lots of things in the gospels about charity, and I thought that it could have been me, you know? I could have been in that position. I’m not, but I could have been. I am very lucky to have that house, and how could I not give a home to somebody?”
At JRS we can see what a huge difference hosting makes to our refugee friends, and what they gain from having a welcoming and safe temporary home. Nora commented on how she has also gained from the experience: “it is rewarding even though it’s just day to day living, but nevertheless at the end of the day that’s, for her, that person, is something big.”
Hosting is something big, and we often hear from the guests what a difference hosting has made to their life – and their appreciation of someone providing them with a home, expecting nothing in return. This act of charity is inspiring to others and sets an example of what kindness in action can be.
Nora sees her hosting as a spiritual act of charity, as well as a practical action, saying: “spiritually, I’m doing something, not just a practical thing. I feel relaxed that I’m doing something at least- a bit of good for someone.” For both Nora and Charita, the union that hosting has offered, transcends material needs, giving a sense of hope and enduring companionship, no matter what the future entails.
At Home Hosting
Interested in hosting like Nora?
The At Home hosting scheme is a lifeline for many destitute refugees who find themselves sleeping on the streets. Our hosting placements are available thanks to families, communities and religious congregations opening their homes to one of our refugee friends. To be a host, individuals must be able to offer a room for a period of 3 months in Greater London.