An additional 35 homes renovated and 80 families supported thanks to the recently-concluded ATS pro Terra Sancta project “Housing and Social Emergency in the Old City of Jerusalem”, carried out with financing from Italian Development Cooperation, as part of its program “Emergency intervention in support of the vulnerable Palestinian population”, and the Custody of the Holy Land. The objective of the project was to address the emergency housing situation in the Old City of Jerusalem, in particular by reducing water wastage and providing education in a rational use of this scarce resource.
In 2011, with the first phase of the project, 60 obsolete water and sewage systems were renovated, allowing the families living there to once again enjoy a healthy and congenial living environment. In 2012 important results were also achieved, even though fewer resources were available: as a result of the project 35 individual plumbing systems were repaired as well as 15 general water and sewage systems, involving approximately one hundred families overall. The repair works were carried out by four workers from the maintenance team of the Custody of the Holy Land’s Technical Office, working alongside five apprentices during the initial months of the project, with an additional four apprentices joining in during the second phase of the project. These apprentices, who received appropriate training during the execution of the project, were subsequently taken on by the Custody of the Holy Land and are now part of the maintenance team of the Custody’s Technical Office.
This project has thus not only made possible the improvement of living conditions for numerous families in the Old City but has also provided opportunities to train a number of future employees in the sector, thereby indirectly also supporting their families. Much has in fact been accomplished in these years, but much still remains to be done to assist the local Christians who wish to remain attached to their land, and to maintain the Holy Places as living places.