Many years ago, the Sisters of the Holy Family of St Emilie and the Jesuits in Britain piloted the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) At Home hosting scheme. Today, thanks to their ongoing commitment to our work, those who first opened their doors to our refugee friends have now made two housing projects possible.
“We know that safe and stable accommodation is, increasingly, one of the most pressing challenges of a complexly hostile environment,” said a spokesperson for the JRS.
“This is why over the past 10 years, JRS UK has been working alongside our supporters to develop and expand our Accommodation Project; growing our hosting community, and more recently, opening houses for our refugee friends to live independently.
“Many of our refugee friends require a longer-term and more stable accommodation option than hosting – particularly if they have health needs, are receiving trauma counselling or need to engage intensively with their legal case.
“Thanks to the kindness of the Sisters of the Holy Family of St Emilie, in 2021 we were delighted to be able to open a house to female refugee friends – Emilie House.”
This transformative new provision has offered refugee friends of the JRS a unique opportunity to regain independence and vital life-skills. Emilie House gives people the chance to belong to a growing community of residents, staff, and volunteers.
“Our refugee friends have been able to settle into a home that feels equally their own, for a long-term placement, until other accommodation options become available to them,” said the JRS.
“When Emilie House was officially opened, one of the first residents shared that she: “hope(s) that JRS can get other more houses to help more people in the future”.
“The good news is that this has become a reality! Emilie House will now be a model for Amani House, our new home for male refugee friends. The Jesuits in Britain have made this property available to us and many other generous Catholic partners have made financial contributions to support the sustainability of the project or cover the running costs.”
Amani (Am – ah – nee) translates to hope/wishes in Arabic, and peace in Swahili.
Preparations are currently underway to open Amani House this winter.