Mayor Greg Fischer and representatives from The Hope Buss and the Louisville Metro Resilience and Community Services (RCS) office today provided an update on the progress of The Hope Village, a pilot program aimed at providing a safe outdoor space for homeless residents.
RSC announced in January that The Hope Buss had been selected to oversee the $1.5 million project to operate and outfit what it calls The Hope Village. Work on the project site on College Street – including plumbing and electrical work worth $500,000 – began shortly after the announcement.
While the site preparation and development work was more extensive than initially thought, and complicated by supply and weather issues, the project sponsors pushed the project forward. And Mayor Fischer said it should open by March 31 barring any issues beyond our control, such as weather and supply chain issues.
“The purpose of today’s meeting is to provide an update on the work that has been done and the work underway on this promising new resource for people experiencing homelessness,” said Mayor Fischer. , adding, “Like other cities across our nation, Louisville faces a critical challenge in meeting the needs of those without stable housing, and we are committed to finding them a range of options. This is one of ‘them.”
When completed, The Hope Village will be equipped with 48 tents, a shower trailer, portable toilets, hand washing stations and access to electricity. Additional amenities will include a food distribution area and a staff office trailer available for resident reception. Other amenities may be added after residents move in and their needs are assessed.
“As we’ve noted before, creating an outdoor space is not a substitute for housing and shelter,” said Dr. Susan Buchino, director of the homeless services division at RCS, whose team will work with the city’s acceleration team on program oversight and funding compliance. “As a harm reduction approach, it mitigates the risks associated with homelessness by meeting people where they are, treating them with respect and dignity, and taking the opportunity to extend the support, build trust and provide accompaniment while navigating a complex system of services and resources. The Homeless Services Division is grateful for the partnership of The Hope Buss and is thrilled to see this space grow from a parking lot to a safe place that provides the compassion, stability, and relationships that help bring someone home. him.
Founded by Reverend Stachelle Bussey, the mission of The Hope Buss is to fight despair in underserved neighborhoods and populations of Louisville, bridging the gap between streets and stable housing by creating transformational housing communities and empowering marginalized voices.
“The Hope Village is not a permanent solution, but it is a bridge to more sustainable solutions around our housing crisis,” Bussey said. “Our promise remains – to engage and empower the community and encourage the residents of our village by providing equitable options. As a black-led organization, we are excited for this opportunity; this is just the beginning of a other Louisville At Hope Village, our motto is simple: Everyone Deserves Community.
As part of today’s update, Bussey outlined some of the support services that will be offered on-site and the partners that will provide those services, including:
- Feed Louisville: Food distribution.
- Dare to Care Food Bank: food resources.
- Homeless Coalition: Staff training resources and Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).
- Wellspring: stabilization of the mental health crisis and housing assistance.
- Metro United Way: United Us/United Community partner.
- John Center: Staff Training Resources
- NuLease Medical Solutions: Weekly COVID testing, 24/7 health care provider onsite to perform screenings, and initial admission of residents.
- New Leaf: Addiction and Mental Health Services.
- Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness: Safe syringe exchange/disposal and access to Narcan.
- My dog eats first: Pet food and supplies.
- The lawyer/Dr. Isaac Croudep: Veterinary examinations and vaccinations of pets.
- Bridgehaven: off-site mental health support services and activities.
- Louisville Recovery Community Connection (LRCC): Addiction and recovery support, offered onsite and offsite.
Other offerings include sex education, encampment outreach, job training, conflict resolution training, mentoring, service referrals to outside partners, care planning, and interfaith spiritual guidance.
The Hope Village will accept residents only upon referral from partner organizations. Applications from residents will be assessed on the individual’s ability to thrive in a community environment. Security personnel will be on site, in addition to security cameras and improved lighting in common areas. Residents will be assigned a Hope Village ID to enter the property and identify themselves to Hope Village staff.
Mayor Fischer noted that The Hope Village pilot project is just one of many efforts the city is making to end homelessness and create more affordable housing in the community – goals that have been targeted among Top Priorities in American Rescue (ARP) City Allocation Expenditure Plan Funding. In November 2021, the Metro Council approved $89 million in ARP funding to support the city’s plan to address chronic street homelessness and boost affordable housing through immediate, intermediate and long term.
In addition to the $1.5 million allocated to The Hope Village operations, other funding approvals include:
- College Street Property: $7.5 million to convert the College Street building into transitional housing and furnish the units.
- Permanent housing with supportive services: $32 million for client-centred housing with complementary services.
- Affordable Housing: $40 million will be invested in affordable housing through the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
- Down Payment Assistance: $4 million for the Louisville Metropolitan Government to increase down payment assistance to help approximately 160 new homeowners.
- Home Repair: $4 million to bolster an existing, successful program that helps people stay in their homes; it would help about 160 homeowners.
For more information about The Hope Village, visit https://www.thehopevillage.com/. Those interested in mentoring a Village resident, email [email protected] to learn more.