There’s a shift happening here in SLO. Every paper you pick up lately has something about homelessness. We are grateful. Time for change.
Hope’s Village of SLO, now incorporated, has filed for nonprofit status and anticipates it by year’s end. We are looking at rural land to purchase where privacy will be afforded to all concerned. Hope’s Village board members have been working with county staff to ensure all requirements are met -we are grateful for their help. Construction will start with the common house, which will have a commercial kitchen, bathrooms and laundry facilities. The villagers and a team of volunteers will build thirty sustainably-designed cabins.
The village will serve local adults unable to find other housing. It will look like a mini neighborhood with human scale houses – well insulated and built to last. Hope’s Village will empower our unhoused citizens to contribute their own array of talents and abilities to the community.
There will be zero tolerance for drugs, alcohol or violence. Everyone at the village will work and contribute. They will receive training with new skills that can lead to employment and to help sustain the village. This self-sufficient program will benefit local government by reducing associated costs of homelessness and crime.
Hopes Village will augment services currently available – the shelters, People’s Self Help Housing, the Housing Authority, the Housing Trust Fund, Habitat for Humanity, etc. We are not attempting to replace any of the current programs. There are plenty of unhoused people who have called SLO their home for decades. They come with a variety of needs requiring many different approaches. We believe that everything starts with a home – a stable foundation from which to move forward in life.
Chronic homelessness can be reduced – along with the efforts of other homeless services, Hope’s Village has already found housing for nineteen previously-homeless people.
Thanks go to many people who are helping develop Hope’s Village; to those who donated four RV’s that have been passed on to homeless veterans; to the woman who donated her travel trailer to a homeless man and his two young daughters; to the Salvation Army who welcome us to their sanctuary where we hold regular planning meetings; thanks to San Luis Auto Parts for contributing batteries to one of our disabled veterans; to J. Carroll for donating over 100 shirts; to Oak Country Lumber and Quaglino Roofing for building materials; to Saint Benedict’s Church (and two anonymous donors) who contributed to our start-up fund; to the family who gave us a beautiful piano – there will be music in the village!
Thanks to our attorney who gives freely of her time in reviewing our documents; to Supervisors Adam Hill and Jim Patterson for their diligence on reducing homelessness, and for their encouragement and support of our village; to Laurel Weir (director of Homeless Services Oversight Council) and the council members for their support of our village concept; to Sheriff Parkinson for supporting us from the beginning, and working to ensure our villagers come to us with a clean slate; to the Earth Angels of Common Ground Worldwide who work all year making beautiful hats and scarves to help keep those who sleep outside warm at night; to Kris Cindrich, accountant for our nonprofit; to Morris & Garritano for our insurance needs; to Cal Poly’s “Beyond Shelter” students who will one day soon help us build; and to all the other folks who have come forward offering to volunteer as we undertake this novel housing project. We are grateful to you all.
Mark Lakeman came to SLO again (in support of Hope’s Village) to talk about Dignity Village and why a similar village will work well here on the Central Coast. This brilliant architect gives presentations worldwide, and presented for us non gratis. We are thankful for his support (and for the two city council members who came to hear his presentation.)
During this season of the harvest, may we count our blessings that we live in one of the most pristine places in the world. May we continue to work diligently so people like Richard (the homeless African man who suffers from debilitating mental illness after witnessing his family being brutally murdered) may one day enjoy a home as well.
We are dedicated to seeing this project through, and anxiously await the day when we open our village. In the words of a compassionate city council member, “none of us should rest until everyone has access to shelter…”
We can reduce homelessness in our town, in our time.
Becky Jorgeson, President
On Behalf of the Board of Directors
HOPE’S VILLAGE OF SLO
PO Box 100
Santa Margarita, CA 93453