History of house of grace

House of Grace was founded by the late Kamil Shehade (1954-2000) and his wife, Agnes Shehade, in Haifa in 1982. The motivation for Kamil Shehade to establish House of Grace was the death of a childhood friend who committed suicide in prison because he could no longer provide for his sick mother and saw no way out. Seeing this need, Kamil Shehade took action and started House of Grace to support other prisoners. In the early 1980s, Kamil and Agnes Shehade began inviting paroled prisoners into their humble home in Haifa and lived together with them. They created a supportive environment, empowered these individuals, and encouraged their guests to re-evaluate their lives, helping them to realize their potential.

A Little About Us

House of Grace, a community-based organization (NGO: # 58-037-0542), located in a 160 year old Church in downtown Haifa. Kamil and Agnes Shehade renovated the Church of Our Lady in 1982, which became the first ever half-way house for released prisoners in Israel. Since then the House’s unique warm family environment became a haven for all marginalized members of society regardless of gender, race or religious background. Over the years, the mission of House of Grace developed with the growing needs of the community complemented by the safe and tender family environment and professional staff. Through both individual-focused and community-focused approach, House of Grace fosters wider social change through its projects and encourages personal responsibility and individual transformation. This with the help of a dedicated team of professionals and volunteers who provide culturally-sensitive care in a way that exemplifies House of Grace’s commitment to respect and the belief that all human beings are entitled to, and capable of, change and self-actualization.


A Second Chance: Prisoner’s Rights, Rehabilitation & Empowerment Project
Our project consists of taking in released prisoners for rehabilitation. We also raise public awareness and advocacy efforts to help reintegrate released prisoners back into the community and reduce the rate of prisoner recidivism. Ex–inmates and their families receive personal as well as group counseling and are provided with a supporting environment so they are able to rebuild their lives.

Needy Family Outreach Project
Our project aims to help families from a low socio-economical background. The House’s team of social workers provides families with counseling while our second-hand clothing store gives needy families the opportunity to purchase quality clothing. We additionally conduct workshops for families in which we discuss rights and establishment services. House of Grace partially helps Essen to pay for medicines, electricity- and gas costs.

Hope for the Future: Youth At Risk Empowerment Center
Our projects include youth groups, summer camps, and empowerment through voluntarism for our most at-risk population, boys and girls from the Arab community in Haifa. With our groups’ workshops for girls and boys we aim to heal the low self-esteem of youth pushed to the margins of the community and deal with issues that concern them and help them to find an aim for their future life.

House of Grace supports prisoners, Youth at Risk, Families in need as well as Holocaust survivors of all segments, religious and ethnic groups in Israelian society. In times where the political and social environment in Israel is changing drastically and intolerance towards the “other” increases, the House of Grace believes that dialogue is even more crucial than before. Personal stories can build bridges of sympathy to facilitate such processes.