One of the fundamental goals of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land is to provide housing for Christian families. 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.
“IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT ALL OF OUR HOUSING PROJECTS CONTINUE TO BE BUILT DESPITE THE UNREST IN THE COUNTRY. OUR FRANCISCAN PROPERTIES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN RESPECTED SO THERE HAS BEEN NO DAMAGE TO ANY OF THE HOMES BUILT FOR OUR CHRISTIAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS.”
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. This is key. 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.
“FOR YEARS WE MADE MANY SACRIFICES TO BE ABLE TO PAY THE EXORBITANT RENT OF $800 PER MONTH FOR A 2 BEDROOM APARTMENT OWNED BY A NON-CHRISTIAN LANDLORD. NOW WE ARE GOING TO BE PAYING ONLY $200 A MONTH, THANKS TO THE FRANCISCANS. AND WE WILL NOW HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BEGIN MAKING PLANS FOR OUR CHILDREN’S HIGHER EDUCATION.”
WHY DO THE FRANCISCANS PROVIDE SUBSIDIZED 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. Due to the high unemployment rate, most Christians cannot afford traditional monthly rent.
Completed Housing Developments:
1994 – Friendship Housing Project I & II in Bethany
1999 – Ram Housing Project in Jerusalem
2001 – Beit- Hanina Housing Project in Jerusalem
2005 – Child Jesus Housing III Project in Bethlehem
2006 – St. Francis Village Housing Project I Jerusalem