Israel – Friendship House for young people with autism finally opens

IsraelTel Aviv, Israel – The forever home for young people with autism is finally open after waiting over ten years. Named after the late Yael Goldstein, who is the mother of one of the 24 residents, Gal, Friendship House is welcome news to the parents who have children with autism, and whose chief worry is how their children will be cared for once they are gone.

The Jerusalem Post interviewed Einat Cassuto-Shefi, director of ALUT, the Israeli Society for Autism and she had this to say:

“The biggest fear of parents of autistic children is a concern for the future, thinking about the day when they can no longer care for their children in need of treatment and close supervision.”

Friendship House was set up, and will be run by ALUT. The non-profit’s beliefs are based upon  experiences and the personal needs of each resident. The house is divided into three living sections, each with its own kitchen, activities area and TV/living room that will be shared among eight residents per section, with 24 residents in total. The eight residents  share the common areas as well as eating meals together.

This is the 17th forever home run by ALUT and, like most residential homes of its kind, it was hard to build because the parents themselves were expected to find suitable land and foot the multimillion dollar bill. These factors and more are what lengthens the building process. In fact, construction of Friendship House didn’t even start until three years ago.

Thankfully the parents got a lot of financial help from the National Insurance Institute Disabled Services Development Fund, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and the Rashi Foundation as well as others.

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president and founder of the IFCJ commented to the Jerusalem Post that this family styled home could not have  been completed without the ambitious efforts of the parents, adding there is no government fund as of yet that can improve the welfare for people with autism.

The original article on The Jerusalem Post website can be read here

Contributed by Audrey L. Hollingshead.