The first new project for homeless people under the Famvin Homeless Alliance’s 13 Houses Campaign was announced last week. Run by Jericho Way, a Vincentian resource centre for street homeless people in Little Rock, Arkansas (USA), the project involves renovating an empty home in the city to transform it into a sanctuary for our brothers and sisters on the street.

The 13 Houses campaign, coordinated by the FHA, supports Vincentians around the world to create or improve services for homeless people – including refugees, slum dwellers and street homeless people. It takes inspiration from St Vincent’s creation of 13 houses for ‘foundlings’ – babies abandoned by their parents – in Paris four centuries ago. The campaign aims to create new services for homeless people in all countries where Vincentians have a presence, impacting over 10,000 people.

The newly-acquired house, 6601 Heather Lane, in Little Rock will become a transitional housing unit – providing a stable home for several months while homeless individuals are supported to make the step to independent living.

The renovation of 6601 Heather Lane was officially started by the Mayor of Little Rock, Mark Stodola, in a ceremony last Wednesday. The hope is to have construction work completed and the first resident settled by September.

Mandy Davis, the Director of Jericho Way which is part of the national homelessness charity Depaul USA, said: ‘I am very excited and proud that Little Rock is the site of the first “13 Houses” being developed in the US. Every day at Jericho Way we draw on our Vincentian heritage to serve our homeless neighbors with dignity and love.

This new project is part of a series of pilots currently being established across three continents. The 13 Houses campaign will be officially launched at the FHA International Conference in November, in Rome.

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The first 13 Houses project

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola (centre) at the opening of the first 13 Houses project