Last night, JRS UK brought together parishes, families and individuals who were keen to learn more about the JRS UK hosting scheme at the inaugural At Home Open Evening. Those attending were able to learn more about the work of JRS UK, how the different parts of the mission have led to JRS accompanying those who are destitute and detained in the UK, and how the At Home hosting scheme fits with the work of JRS UK. Naomi Turner, Communities of Hospitality Coordinator, said “It was heartening to hear so much sympathy for the situation of those we try to support with hosting placements, and I sensed a real enthusiasm to spread the work of JRS and At Home far and wide.”
At the beginning of the night, Nicholas Hanrahan, Community Outreach Officer at JRS UK, explained more broadly the context in which those JRS UK accompanies find themselves, especially how the ‘Hostile Environment Agenda’ impacts those who are Appeal Rights Exhausted. For those refugees who attend the weekly JRS Day Centre, one of the biggest challenges faced is the lack of accommodation. The hostile environment prevents those we accompany from renting property and therefore destitute refugees must rely on friends and family to take them in, or else spend the night on public transport or sleeping on the streets.
Naomi went on to explain how the At Home hosting scheme aims to alleviate some of this uncertainty for our refugees friends by organising short term hosting placements with different communities in London. As those in attendance had shown an interest in hosting, Naomi went through the details of the scheme and was able to answer questions that individuals had about hosting.
One of the At Home hosts, and a Day Centre volunteer with JRS UK, Mike Smith SJ, shared his experience of hosting in his jesuit community. This conversation with Mike was able to give a first-hand perspective on such questions as ‘What do you think a community gains from hosting a destitute refugee?’ and ‘what benefits do you think creating these hospitable environments can have for a destitute asylum seeker?’
Nicholas finished by saying, “It is very promising to see a wide range of people engage with our work and actively take some steps towards solving some of the issues face by those we accompany. We now hope that this open evening can be a springboard for increasing the number of communities of hospitality created.”
Interested in At Home? Find out more