Throughout this Refugee Week, the UK celebrates ways in which refugees can truly be made to feel welcome in our communities. At JRS UK we are excited at how our At Home hosting scheme remains an invaluable contribution to the promotion a culture of welcome and solidarity with our destitute refugee friends. Through at Home we have been busy matching destitute asylum-seekers with religious communities and parishes willing to offer short-term accommodation and are now seeking to expand the project and build a network of communities of hospitality.
JRS UK is looking for more religious communities and parishes who would like to form part of the scheme which has often proved to be a life-changing experience for both hosts and guests. Destitute migrants accommodated through the scheme repeatedly tell us how the invitation to reside in a community and be offered friendship and respect was a lifeline at a time when they had grown accustomed to being treated with hostility. Hosts have described their experience as enriching and life-giving where, for some, extending a concrete gesture of solidarity and hospitality with asylum-seekers proved to be a form of spiritual renewal.
The renewed focus on ‘At Home’ is part of the European-wide ‘Communities of Hospitality’ project which will see JRS national offices in ten European countries seek to foster a culture of welcome for asylum seekers and other forcibly displaced migrants. Each of these countries will identify social activities, collaborations or partnerships that can work to overcome hostility, reduce discrimination and include migrants and refugees in local communities.
At a time when refugees are being met by hostile rhetoric and strengthening of borders, JRS hopes to encourage personal encounters between communities and refugees, helping to dismantle the barriers that prevent us from acknowledging the dignity of migrants, and provide a truly Christian response of welcome and hospitality.
If you are interested in being contacted as the project launches, and especially if you would like to learn more about hosting, please send your name, some brief information about the organisation or community you are connected with and some contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org.