Updated: Jun 8, 2022
Many in America are 2-3 paychecks away from being homeless. Like a domino chain job loss leads to losing housing, losing a car, to be on the streets. Once on the streets th, ere is little opportunity to get off the streets without a hand-up. There are emergency shelters, but time limits and strict rules leave many out. For those living in a sleeping bag or blanket, there is no legal place to be. In Medford, there is a $3,000 fine for illegal camping. Of course homeless can’t pay the fines so fear keeps them from going to court dates and contempt of court leads to warrants for arrest and a criminal record. It is a downward spiral that society needs to understand and address.
Wishing there were no homeless doesn’t change the fact that many in America are trapped in it. To ignore it costs the rest of Americans to pay the bill for it. The homeless find themselves in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Without proper clothing, housing, nutrition, hydration, and medical and dental support the homeless escalate into emergencies that stress the resources of the community.
Think emergency room visits for something simple like dehydration. I say simply because a lack of water can create dehydration, but the homeless have little to no access to water. There are no drinking fountains in most cities. Without money, there is no legal way to get water. An average cost for an emergency room visit is $1,233. Even though many of the homeless have Oregon Health Plan it is the taxpayer who is footing the bill. It is by far cheaper for the community to find ways to house the homeless and give them a hand-up rather than ignore them and wish it will just go away.
Tiny house villages for the homeless are popping up all around the country to give the homeless hope and a hand-up. With a safe place to live the homeless can catch their breath and focus on rebuilding their lives rather than spend all their time and energy in survival mode. Tiny House villages offer not only a place to sleep but showers, laundry, cooking facilities, peer support, connections with case managers to help with education, job search, medical support, and more. Tiny house villages are an answer to the homeless epidemic.
Hope Village will become Medford’s first tiny house village for the homeless. It is the dream of the Jackson County Homeless Taskforce and Rogue Retreat. Hope Village will be modeled after other successful tiny house villages like Opportunity Village in Eugene or Dignity Village in Portland, Oregon.
Hope Village will be a gated community to create a safe environment. Residents will have a community governing council and follow community rules. There will be life coaching and peer-mentoring to help residents progress to more permanent housing. Hope Village will be pass-through support rather than a permanent destination.
For more information or to donate visit Hopevill.org or rogueretreat.org Fundraising is underway and negotiations with the city for land are progressing. Hope Village is scheduled to be open by the fall of 2016.
Chad McComas is the executive director for Rogue Retreat.
Real Estate Broker, Licensed in the state of Oregon
Shanon holds an MBA in International Business, loves writing in her “At Home with Shanon” column that has been delivered to 47,000+ homes in Medford since 2014, has appeared on the Real Estate Radio Show, and was also featured on A&E TV network’s Real Estate Reality TV show.