The Arsenal da Esperança is “uma CASA QUE ACOLHE” – a House of Hospitality – founded in São Paulo in 1996, by the initiative of an Italian, Ernesto Olivero, and a Brazilian archbishop, Dom Luciano Pedro Mendes de Almeida.
Located at the site of the Hospedaria de Imigrantes – an historic Immigration Station of São Paulo –, the Arsenal is inhabited by SERMIG – the Fraternity of Hope, a community of married couples and consecrated religious persons founded in 1964 in Italy by Ernesto Olivero and his wife Maria.
For 24 years, the doors of the Arsenal da Esperança have remained open to 1,200 men who are facing challenges, the so-called "people experiencing homelessness," young people and adults who suffer from a lack of work, home, food, health, and family.
Those who enter into this house find a clean and welcoming place to rest, take a shower, eat and attend professional courses, and take advantage of many other services, such as social work services, laundry, a medical center, literacy support, a library, a football court, a games room, support groups, and more...
Each man can find his own space, discover his rights and duties and, above all, find the opportunity to do good works and seeking the meaning of his life. Many who were welcomed in times of frailty, pain, and illness regained hope, rebuilt family relationships, found work, or are seeking a new path in life.
In 24 years of uninterrupted operation the Arsenal da Esperança has accommodated more than 63,000 people, offering them 9,925,731 nights of hospitality, 25,013,830 meals (including breakfast, lunch, and dinner), 2,729,500 appointments with internal social work services, and 330,630 medical appointments and medical prescriptions (Data updated in March 2020). This journey has been possible thanks to the trust of the Government of the State of São Paulo and the Municipal Government of the city of São Paulo.
The prayerfulness and spirituality lived out by SERMIG – the Fraternity of Hope inspire and embrace all this work and make the Arsenal a "metropolitan monastery," a point of encounter and collaboration with civil society, with the world of volunteering, and above all with young people, who find within this establishment the opportunity for dialogue and "growth," being promoters of actions of peace, justice and solidarity.