For nearly four years, members of the Viatorian Community have been working with the Post Detention Accompaniment Network to help people who are released from immigration detention, and have no family or support system in the Chicago-area.
Their work includes lobbying to open two houses of accompaniment, as well as helping these immigrants find work, schooling and other social services while they await a court date.
Now, their work has reached a national audience with an article published Feb. 6 on The Atlantic magazine’s digital site.
Written by Senior Associate Editor Matt Vasilogambros, the report includes interviews with Becky Sinclair, one of two case managers, as well as Mary Ann Penner, one of the house managers, and Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, coordinator of peace, justice and integrity of creation.
“Our houses have been filled now for several months and there’s no end in sight,” he says in the article. “We have a waiting list of people who are in detention who can get out if they have a place to stay. We just need more housing and more funding.”
Gosch maintains that the houses of hospitality are a cost-saving, community-based alternative to federal detention. He and other members of the Post Detention Accompaniment Network hope these homes might serve as a model for long-term facilities for other undocumented immigrants as they await court hearings.