Viator House of Hospitality (VHH) provides compassionate accompaniment of young adult male immigrants seeking legal relief.
Established January 17, 2017 by the Clerics of St. Viator, Viator House of Hospitality provides a supportive living environment where these young men can attend school, improve their language skills, grow spiritually and emotionally, receive medical attention, and work while they await court proceedings that determine whether they can become U.S. citizens. If approved to pursue citizenship, they can remain at VHH for a period of time as they begin to build a life here.
Viator House of Hospitality staff includes:
- Fr. Corey Brost, C.S.V., Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Br. Michael Gosch, C.S.V., Director of Programs and Housing, email@example.com
- Marianne Dilsner, Case Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fr. Chris Glancy, C.S.V., Case Manager, email@example.com
- Bart Hisgen, House Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Marquito Daudo, House Coordinator/Case Manager, email@example.com
- Michael Yemane, Weekday Evening House Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Erick Carlos, Weekend House Coordinator, email@example.com
- Julie Furmanski, Operations Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Susana Tellez, Assistant Daytime House Coordinator
Volunteers are critical to the success of Viator House of Hospitality. Volunteers who serve during weekday or weekend shifts allow staff members the freedom to leave the house for appointments. Volunteers who tutor, mentor or provide on or off-site activities are critical to the ongoing educational, spiritual, cultural and emotional growth of the participants. For immigrants to successfully integrate into a culture, they must be surrounded by a network of supportive and affirming relationships. Volunteers and staff “accompany” participants while they live at the house. That means we are present in their lives to learn from them while we help them learn and grow.
Please complete the following form to learn more about volunteering.
Established Jan.17, 2017, Viator House of Hospitality provides a supportive living environment where up to 23 young men can attend school, grow spiritually and emotionally, receive medical attention, even work while they await court proceedings that determine whether they can become U.S. citizens and for a period after such proceedings as they begin to build a life here. It is grounded in the tradition of the Clerics of St. Viator, founded in the 1830s to work with young people in rural France.
What happens to children when they enter the United States seeking refuge?
More than 33,000 children without adults came to the southwestern U.S. border in FY 2020 seeking protection from the despair of their homelands; more than 80,000 came in FY 2019, more than 58,000 total came in FY 2017 & 2018. https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/southwest-land-border-encounters
When unaccompanied children under the age of 18 enter the country seeking protection from the violence of their homelands, they are detained and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services. The DHS Office of Refugee Settlement houses them in juvenile detention facilities operated by licensed child-care providing agencies.
In these facilities, the children are housed, cared for and given opportunities for education while they await legal proceedings that determine whether they can remain in the U.S. Most children seek “asylum,” which means they must prove they have a well-founded fear of persecution in their homeland. The asylum legal process can take more than four years.
What happens when these children turn 18 years old?
When these children turn 18 years old, they are no longer able to remain in juvenile detention facilities. If they have no family with which to live in the U.S., they are transferred to adult detention facilities, which, in the Chicago area, are collar county jails where they might wait for months or more until their hearings.
How did the Viator House of Hospitality come to be?
It was the vision of Br. Michael Gosch, CSV. In his work with the Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants, (https://www.icdichicago.org/) he saw the need for a program for young people “aging out” of juvenile detention facilities for immigrants. Viator House opened in January 2017 with the support of the Clerics of St. Viator and several northwest suburban communities of faith. Nine months later, with the help of VHH, a similar program opened for young women: http://bethanyhouseofhospitality.com/
How does Viator House of Hospitality step in?
Br. Gosch receives notice from a juvenile detention facility or a child’s attorney when a young man approaches his 18th birthday in juvenile detention. He and a Viator House case manager interview the young man to see if Viator House can meet his needs. Unfortunately, one study shows that 75-90% of these children do not have attorneys, which are not guaranteed under U.S. law to immigrants facing deportation. https://www.ncsl.org/research/immigration/legal-aid-for-unaccompanied-children-in-the-u-s-illegally.aspx
What does Viator House of Hospitality offer?
Viator House surrounds young men with relationships and opportunities that help these young men discover their unique gifts and how to share those gifts. This interfaith-based community helps the men grow emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and physically. Viator House can welcome 25 young men. Since opening Viator House has offered hospitality to 69 young men from 19 countries and four faith traditions.
How long will a typical stay at Viator House of Hospitality be?
A young man can live at Viator House until he can thrive on his own or reunite with family.
How is the Viator House funded?
The Clerics of St. Viator gave Viator House a grant to support it financially for its first three years and has pledged ongoing support. But Viator House also partners with more than 20 faith communities (churches, mosques & synagogues) and civic organizations that provide volunteers and donations. In addition, more than 500 individuals donated to Viator House in 2020. If you want to help, please donate on our website or send donations to Viator House of Hospitality, Business Office, 4170 West Addison, Chicago, Il, 60641.
What else can I do?
Viator House needs volunteers to help in many ways each day. Volunteers tutor, mentor, serve as house assistants when no staff members can be present, provide rides and help in many other ways that help the young men grow emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and physically. Please contact Fr. Corey Brost email@example.com for information or visit www.viatorhouseofhospitality.com.
Learn more about Viator House and our asylum system: