I.V. HOPE Village rolls out the plan to homeowners

I.V. HOPE Village steering committee and/or I.V. Living
Solutions Board members: Shelby Kamman (L), Ryan Leeson, Amy Lusson, Laura Mancuso, Angela Franklin, Mona Staehr, Mark Dillinger, Kathy Schwindt and Lindsey B. Jones.

(Photo by Lindsay Martinho for the Illinois Valley News)

The nonprofit Illinois Valley Living Solutions partnered with the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization to deliver a presentation to community members regarding the planned transitional housing facility I.V. HOPE Village. This presentation gave locals the opportunity to learn more about the regulations, goals and layout of the planned facility, and intended to put to rest any concerns fueled by rumors regarding this project.
I.V. Living Solutions Board President Laura Mancuso and IVCDO Executive Director Lindsey B. Jones spearheaded this honest conversation about the moves their respective organizations have been making to address the needs of our many unhoused I.V. residents. Since 2019, when the former nonprofit organization Cave Junction Homeless Alliance was first formed, many of the people involved in this undertaking have been taking note of the numerous barriers that our local unhoused community face in their attempts to regain their stability.
Mancuso spoke about how one of these barriers in particular is the lack of a home address, something that allows an individual to receive mail such as their birth certificate and other forms of identification. While Mancuso has created a houseless mailing service to help some people combat this “vicious circle,” this is a small piece of the bigger puzzle that Mancuso and the rest of the IVLS board have been trying to piece together, and soon their hard work is going to be paying off.
The presentation that Mancuso and Jones delivered touched upon many of the concerns that residents have had since this project was first made public, many of which were unfounded and fueled only by fear, rumors, and speculation. It was emphasized that only those who are ready to take the proper steps toward stable housing, like finding employment and learning how to live independently will be accepted into the program.
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There will be an off-site application process that includes a background check, ensuring that any potential residents will not pose a risk to both the facility and community as a whole. There will also be an operational manager and live-in host who will be vetted and trained, and no unauthorized outside visitors will be permitted inside.
While there have been issues in the past with securing property for I.V. HOPE Village, I.V. Living Solutions has finally found a suitable location for the facility. The organization recently purchased 3.4 acres of property off Schumacher Street, and a portion of this property will be the place where our unhoused residents will finally be able to work toward stable housing.
The front of the community building will face Schumacher Street, and this will be the most visible part of the building. There are also plans to keep as much of the property’s old growth and trees as possible. An attractive privacy fence will surround the premises as well, to ensure residents’ safety. Inside the gated community there will be 16 tiny housing units, a community center with bathrooms and a kitchen, outside gazebos, a dog park and a community garden. Residents will be directed to contribute to the overall structure of I.V. HOPE Village as much as possible by being given daily tasks and duties. Beyond that, there will be resources and supportive services made available so that residents can seek employment and housing, both within the Illinois Valley and in nearby areas.
By the end of the presentation, many of the community members in attendance were able to walk away with a better understanding of what I.V. HOPE Village is going to be. If you would like to volunteer to help our unhoused residents get back on their feet, please call or text 971-415-0281, visit ivlivingsolutions.org or e-mail ivlivingsol@gmail.com for more information.