The foundation partners with Christian construction companies to develop two and three bedroom apartment buildings. The original plan was to build 194 subsidized housing units in Bethphage, Jericho, Beit-Hanina, Nazareth and Bethlehem for Christian families at a cost of $100,000 per unit.
Typically these families are desperate for a place to live because either their homes have been destroyed or they have been forced to leave their land. In addition, high unemployment results in many families not being able to afford traditional rent.
Why do the Franciscans provide housing?1. The cost of land is very high for the average Christian family.
2. Many Christians have been uprooted from their homes and have no where to go.
3. Governmental delays (typically many years) and costs of $35,000 for a building permit make it impossible for a Christian family to build a new home.
4. Due to the high unemployment rate, most Christians cannot afford traditional monthly rent.
Current Franciscan Housing Projects:
Construction of the "St. Francis Village" housing project has been ongoing since 2002. Some seventy housing units make up the total project. The project was just finished at the end of 2006 with residents moving in starting in December.
"The Child Jesus" housing project in Bethlehem will have 36 units which will house about 150 Christians. Twenty-four apartments will comprise the first phase with the remaining twelve to be completed at a later date. The first 12 units were completed in July of 2004 and the second phase in 2004. The Child Jesus Project in Bethlehem and the St. Francis Village in Bethpage (outside of Jerusalem) have had ongoing construction since 2002. The Child Jesus Project comprising of four separate buildings in two locations will have 48 units which will house about 200 Christians. St. Francis Village was completed in November of 2006.
There are future plans for 30 more units in Jericho and an entire ecumenical complex in Jaffa which will include 120 units and 26 stores. Since many Christians are cut off from shopping and jobs, these projects will offer employment as well as an opportunity to get groceries and clothing without going through checkpoints or traveling miles out of their way.
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