Louisville selects operator for unique ‘safe outdoor space’ for homeless

“The Hope Village” will provide temporary open-air housing for unprotected residents

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (WTVQ/Phurry)The Louisville Metropolitan Government’s Office of Resilience and Community Services (RCS) announced Tuesday that it has selected an operations manager for the city’s Safe Outdoor Space, a pilot project where homeless people can live. temporarily outdoors, with access to food, showers and outreach services, located at 212. East College St.

Local nonprofit The Hope Buss will oversee the $1.5 million project to equip and operate the secure outdoor space. The Hope Buss was founded by Stachelle Bussey to fight despair by addressing community crises and root causes, including homelessness.

Called “The Hope Village,” the secure outdoor space will be equipped with tents, portable facilities, access to water and electricity, and client-centric case management, which will connect residents to community partners who provide support services. Services will include a joint assessment, which identifies housing needs, addictions counselling, mental health and housing navigation.

“As a compassionate city, our goal is to help homeless people transition into more stable shelter and then put them on the path to permanent, supportive housing,” said Mayor Greg Fisher. “Thank you to the teams at Resilience and Community Services, Louisville Forward, and The Hope Buss for working together to provide more shelter options for Louisville residents and putting us on the path to ending homelessness.”

The Hope Village is an evolving part of a multi-pronged approach designed to create shelter and housing for people experiencing homelessness. In August 2021, after identifying a site for the space, the city issued a Funding Availability Notice to solicit proposals from nonprofit organizations to serve as the site operator. Applications were reviewed by a committee of subject matter experts and stakeholders to determine the best solution. The city completed the purchase of the East College Street property in November 2021.

“The Hope Buss is perfectly suited for this role,” said Dr. Susan Buchino, director of the homeless services division at RCS. “Their team is well-equipped and has a vision for The Hope Village that focuses on the safety and well-being of residents and the neighborhood, while focusing on delivering effective and efficient services that engage residents in creating of a stability plan. We are delighted to partner with them on this initiative.

“The Hope Village is not a permanent solution, but it is a bridge to more lasting solutions around our housing crisis,” said Reverend Stachelle D. Bussey, Founder and Executive Director of The Hope Buss. “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 welcome this opportunity; this is just the beginning of another Louisville. At Hope Village, our motto is simple: Everyone deserves community.”

Ordering of supplies, including tents, portable toilets and showers, is currently underway for The Hope Village and site preparation will begin later this month. The expected opening date is March 1, depending on weather conditions, logistics and availability of supplies.

For placement of residents at The Hope Village, The Hope Buss will invite referrals from grassroots organizations that work closely with the community’s homeless population to identify people whose needs match the services provided at the site.

In addition to The Hope Village pilot project, the city will initiate a separate procurement process for the renovation of an on-site former administration building, which will be converted into transitional housing for homeless people going through the housing process.

RCS has reached out to neighbors and businesses near the East College Street property to invite them to a public meeting, to be held virtually on Tuesday, February 1 from 6-7 p.m. with District 4 Councilor Jecorey Arthur and The Hope Buss to review the benefits of the site and answer any questions. Register to join the meeting by video at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/metro-council-district-4 on District 4 Weekly E-news or register by phone at +1-415-655-0001 (access code: 2305-593-1449#).

Plus, follow regular updates on Hope Village’s progress on The Hope Buss (@thehopebuss) Facebook and Instagram sites, and watch for the launch of the new Hope Village social platforms on February 1.

Homelessness and affordable housing have been targeted as one of the top priorities in spending the city’s allocation of US Federal Bailout (ARP) 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.

The Hope Village pilot project is just one of many efforts the city is making to end homelessness in the community.

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 supportive housing: $32 million for client-focused housing with full 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 boost an existing, successful program that helps people stay home; it would help about 160 homeowners.

“We know the only solution to homelessness is housing, but until we close the gap of over 31,000 affordable homes, we need to meet people where they are. The Hope Village will help centralize essential services for Louisville residents on our streets. Our whole city should be proud of the monumental investments we’ve been able to make with the U.S. bailout, especially the funding that will one day turn this space into permanent housing,” said Louisville Metro Board Member Jecorey Arthur (D -4 ).

For more information on the Hope Bus, visit https://thehopebuss.org

Residents in need of emergency shelter are encouraged to call the Coalition for the Homeless One Point of Entry at (502) 637-BEDS (502-637-2337) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.