Emilie House for destitute refugee women becomes a home


Emilie House for destitute refugee women becomes a home

JRS accommodation provides refugee women safety and comfort from a life on the street

21 July 2021

Emilie House for destitute refugee women becomes a home

With thanks to the Sisters of The Holy Family (St Emilie) and other generous donors, JRS’s residence for destitute refugee women, is now officially open and receiving its first guests.  To thank the JRS community, the women staying at Emilie house helped organise a celebration in the house’s garden last week.

Sarah Teather, Director of JRS UK welcomed everyone attending and offered words of thanks to the Sisters of the Holy Family, as well as all the generous donors and supporters who have made the project possible. Fr Jim Conway SJ, Director of Jesuit Young Adult Ministries at the Jesuit Laudato Si community in Clapham also said a few words, and reflected on his own experiences hosting refugee friends of JRS through the ‘At Home’ hosting scheme.

Aidan Cantwell, Senior Operations Manager at JRS said:

“I’m glad we were able to celebrate together. It was such a joy to gather with our friends and the sisters to relax and share some delicious food. This project will always be close to my heart, as I’ve had the privilege of watching it develop from initial plans in to the fully functioning, wonderful HOME that it is today. ”

JRS UK is incredibly grateful to have been offered Emilie house, rent free, by the Sisters of The Holy Family of St Emilie, who have become dedicated supporters of JRS UK. The house provides refugee women safety and comfort from a life on the street. Just like their foundress, the Sisters have shown a Christ-like mercy and compassion to women who face the trauma of living on the street.

The afternoon provided an opportunity to celebrate, give thanks and enjoy delicious Ethiopian and Eritrean snacks prepared by the women residents of Emilie House, including samosas, curry and salads.

Nicholas Hanrahan, JRS Outreach Officer said:

“Seeing so many friendly faces was especially uplifting after the last year and a half of being separated from our refugee friends. I was especially moved by the hospitality shown by our refugee friends who cooked and served delicious food as they welcomed us to their home. For me it was a unique opportunity to see how our accommodation project has grown over the last few years, thanks to the donations and support of the JRS community.”


We recently completed some renovation works on the property and are very grateful to have received donations of household items from our supporters so that residents have all they need to feel happy and comfortable in the property.

Safe accommodation is the most pressing need for most of our refugee friends. Without government support nor the right to work, they cannot afford to rent a place to live. This dire situation has been exacerbated for many by the added risks to health brought on by the pandemic.

The house is situated in South London and has 10 en-suite bedrooms. It has been named ‘Emilie House’, in honour of St Emilie’s legacy which has made this possible. Along with our ‘At Home’  scheme, Emilie House  will be used to meet the urgent needs of our friends for shelter and safety.


JRS UK are extremely grateful to the Sisters for such a generous gift, and needless to say so are our refugee friends!



Could you host a destitute refugee?

Emilie House is one part of JRS’s accommodation project for refugees facing homelessness.

We also run a scheme called ‘At Home’ which pairs volunteers with destitute asylum seekers, for a short-term hosting placement in London. If you would like to find out more before applying, please get in touch with Hannah at uk@jrs.net or call 020 7488 7310

Find out more about the scheme: www.jrsuk.net/at-home-hosting-scheme/

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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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