Two months and already feeling At Home…


Two months and already feeling At Home…

Laurence joined JRS in July as our new Accommodation Officer. Here, she shares some reflections

18 September 2023

Two months and already feeling At Home…

Two months have passed since mid-July, and most mornings, I find myself crossing London to reach JRS’s offices, nestled in the charming neighbourhood of Wapping. I work alongside Amy-Leigh, who heads the Accommodation Project, but I also interact with knowledgeable colleagues from other departments, as well as the many refugee friends who visit our shop or participate in activities like art, gym, or English classes (the options are plentiful!).
Once a week, I spend time with the women who are accommodated at Emilie House. Here, formal meetings, activities such as gardening, and (delicious) shared meals allow us to maintain the safe, peaceful, and welcoming environment that JRS aimed to create with this Housing Project opened in 2021. 

On other days, my schedule takes me to different parts of the city, where I meet with our wonderful volunteer hosts. I particularly cherish these visits because each home is unique, and all our hosts are different. Missionary priests who have travelled to all continents, dedicated nuns serving their communities, couples, and families eager to share their “good fortune” and daily lives with someone truly in need… distinct paths, but a common faith in humanity, a deep conviction that only solidarity can counter increasingly cruel policies, and, most of all, a profound generosity. 

“(Hosting) it’s based for me on the idea that I’m a very, very lucky person …with my life and with the things I have (so) it’s just simply about wanting to share that and I think that’s against the backdrop of the hostile environment and the terrible things we see on the news every day about how refugees are treated, there’s a sense of Injustice. So, what we do is insignificant in response to that, but it feels like at least we’re doing something to address it.”

JRS UK At Home Hosts

Indeed, it takes incredible generosity to welcome a stranger into one’s intimacy. It means sharing the kitchen, sometimes the bathroom, wondering if they’ve returned safely, being aware that you can no longer act as if you were perfectly alone or with your closest loved ones. Yet, as you listen to our hosts recount their experiences, you realize it is also quite simple. It is about opening a door, establishing basic rules for living together… and letting yourself being guided by the experienced JRS team.

“When we’ve hosted in the past, it’s been great but it’s a lot of responsibility. Working with JRS takes a huge amount of the strain out of the experience and makes it much more enjoyable and relaxed.”

JRS UK At Home Hosts

Every placement is unique. What sets JRS Hosting Scheme apart is our meticulous preparation, our commitment to finding the perfect “match,” and the ongoing support we provide throughout the entire process.

“We were attracted to JRS because it’s quite a grassroot organization. It is small and it feels more like a family, everyone seems to really care about the welfare of the refugee friends and I think that was really important to us.”

JRS UK At Home Hosts

At Home is the perfect illustration of our mission to put the person at the centre of our work and to “be with”, which resonated so much with me when I applied for the job. Being part of its expansion is now one of the many reasons I feel blessed to have been hired.

Learn more about JRS UK’s At Home Hosting Scheme

Laurence Rossignol is Accommodation Officer at JRS UK.

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Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street, London E1W 2QT

020 7488 7310

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