We are writing this open letter in search of transitional housing for a group of refugees from Darfur, the Sudan, and nearby countries, whom the Jewish Vocational Service will be resettling in our community over the coming year. While numerous organizations and individual volunteers are assisting JVS in this effort, the primary challenge is to locate a house, building, or several apartments that can accommodate these individuals rent free.
JVS, in partnership with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, received a federal grant to resettle twenty-five or more refugees from Darfur and surrounding areas in Africa where lives have been disrupted, and dangerous and often violent living circumstances prevail. For more than seven years, a campaign of genocide has been carried out against these people from the western part of their country; more than four hundred thousand have died, and two and a half million persons have been displaced. Although South Sudan is the newest country in the world, with the secession having become official on July 9, there are still dangerous and life-threatening conditions at every turn for those living in Darfur and neighboring regions.
JVS is expecting to welcome people from Darfur and surrounding areas to our community and help them to find new homes, new occupations, and new lives. We hope to locate transitional housing in the Essex County area that will enable our new families, as well as those individuals travelling alone, to live in a safe and secure place while they learn the rudiments of their new society. We are looking for a house, a building, or several apartments that can accommodate up to ten persons for a period of about one year. JVS will provide caseworkers, translation services, English classes, vocational training, job coaching, and all manner of support.
If you know of such a building, or have a space that could be easily converted into temporary, we would very much like to speak with you. Please contact Joyce Reilly at 973-674-6330, ext. 259 or JReilly@jvsnj.org.
With many thanks,
Coordinator, Darfur Resettlement Project
Jewish Vocational Service
Melanie Roth Gorelick
Director, Community Relations Committee
United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ