Louisville’s homeless set to move to city’s outdoor space this week
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Hope Village, Louisville’s safe outdoor space for the homeless, will open Tuesday to welcome its first dozen residents.
People who are not ready to move indoors can temporarily stay on the property and have access to resources that could help them find permanent housing, in addition to medical services, veterinarians on site, warm meals, showers, and a needle exchange for “safe” drug use. The city bought the Hope Village space, located on the old Archdiocese property on East College Street for $3 million. It will cost $1.5 million to keep the site up and running, and an additional $7.5 million to renovate one of the buildings on the property into transitional, temporary housing. The money came from American Rescue Plan funds.
The Hope Village will launch as a one-year pilot program.
“This is the Hope Village, and that is the terminology that we use,” Angel Todd, director of operations for the Hope Buss, the organization running the Hope Village said. “It is not a camp site; it is people’s homes.”
In order to live in the Hope Village, residents must be referred by a nonprofit or another organization. Officials received around 30 referrals over the past couple of weeks, but the site has space to hold 53 people. Because the homeless are often transient, the Hope Village organizers are working to locate some of the people who received referrals.
“Our hope here at the Hope Village is that we will be here, and we will bring resources to them,” Todd said. “We have partners who will come directly here, meet with our folks here, get all the information they need to help them with that next step.”
Residents can choose to work on site too, distributing meals or cleaning up around the village.
The Hope Village staff will focus on “harm reduction” by providing residents with tools to protect them from diseases and viruses, including COVID-19, HIV, and AIDS spread through the use of dirty needles.
In addition to clean needles, the Hope Village will provide other resources to ensure “safe” drug use on the campus.
“We don’t encourage use, but if you’re going to use, you’ll get fentanyl test strips to make sure you’re using in the safest way possible,” Rev. Stachelle Bussy, the Hope Village curator and executive director of the Hope Buss said. “A lot of people don’t like that, but I don’t care what people like. This is about treating people well and walking with them through their journey.”
The Hope Village will have a 10 p.m. curfew with 24-hour security tasked with checking residents’ ID badges as they come into and leave the property.
It is unclear what will happen to the site and the people who live at the Hope Village once the one-year allotted time limit and money run out.
The Hope Village is asking for donations. To learn more, click here.
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