It took more than a year, but members of the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants finally did it: They earned approval from village officials in Cicero, in West suburban Chicago.DSC_0198

The vote took place Jan. 14 and resulted in a special use permit allowing ICDI members — which includes the Viatorian Community — to convert a former convent into a residence for immigrants released from detention.

“It’s huge,” said Fr. Thomas Long, CSV. “It means we can now proceed with the needed improvements to gain our occupancy permit — and open our doors.”

DSC_0206At stake is a former parish convent. The three-story building contains 18 bedrooms and several common areas which village officials agreed can now be used for congregate living.

It will be designated as a home for men, while another former convent on Chicago’s south side, is being earmarked as a residence for women.

Volunteers with the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants are dedicated to the growing needs of people who are released from immigration detention, without family or a support system in the Chicago-area.