LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The straight facts on Tiny House Village for homeless

There seems to be a whole lot of incorrect information going around about the Tiny House Village being planned for Kent County. [“Church hopes to create a village for homeless,” article, June 26]

I think it’s very important that everyone at least have the correct information with which to base their opinion on. I will lay out the facts as they are at the moment. There are a lot of things in process, discussions regarding final layout, site plans, etc., even additional locations; however, there are a few definite things that need to be shared so everyone is aware of the correct information.

Port Hope Delaware Inc., is a nonprofit organization established to advocate for and facilitate the establishment of Tiny House Villages for Chronically Homeless throughout the state of Delaware. We are planning a village of approximately 15 10-feet by 20-feet tiny houses equipped with a living area, bathroom and kitchen. It will include gardens, a green house, solar and wind energy, picnic benches and outside grills. These houses will provide affordable, stable and supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals.

Since incorporating in February of 2016, [we] have searched Kent County for a suitable site for the first Tiny House Village. In this search, we reached out to the city and the county, meeting with them in March and April to offer information on our plans and to request assistance in our search for an appropriate site. We sent information out to local churches and large property owners to inform them of our plans and request any help they might have to offer for a suitable site.

On May 14, Victory Church reached out to us with an offer of using the four acres of land that they own on Forrest Avenue next to their church. After meeting, we agreed to partner and begin the process of reaching out to the county with the idea of “Village of Victory” at 2736 Forrest Ave. We are working on architectural plans for the houses that the county has requested and will continue to meet with local, political and municipal leaders in our quest to see the village come to fruition. We understand the opposition to the plans and would like to express our support and encourage everyone to learn the details and understand the plans.

This is an unquestionably unique site that would come with advantages that few other sites could offer.

Briefly, 1) a pastor and congregation already committed to daily care of the homeless and now dedicated to the success of the village; 2) 24/7 onsite support and oversite by volunteer church members and staff; 3) transportation via two church vans and volunteer drivers; 4) infrastructure possibly already in place (they housed a school for 150 kids and had an exceptionally large septic [system] and well previously installed — inspections are forthcoming to confirm); 5) a church willing to offer this land free of lease or mortgage payment; 6) volunteer coordinators and donation solicitors ready and waiting to begin calling in all of the people that have volunteered to help build and prepare the ground. They have companies on hand to provide materials with which to build the homes.

At this point, we are set up and ready to build and place onsite 15 tiny houses, with no cost to the taxpayers. It costs Delaware $17,000 per person per year to do nothing and leave someone in the streets (costs incurred with hospital visits, police attention, jail stays, shelter beds and transitional housing).

This model not only saves that $17,000, but with the nominal rental fee of just $200-300 per month to pay for utilities, insurance and maintenance, the village would be self-sustaining and self-supporting. Even if you don’t feel a moral responsibility to house these folks, you should feel a fiscal responsibility to do so.

These are a few of the facts and the actual plans. Anything other than these plans is coming from rumor or misinformation. Please visit our web page [at] porthopedelaware.doodlekit.com/home or follow us on Facebook at Port Hope Delaware to learn what is actually happening and help support us in the endeavor.

Thanks.

Sue Harris and Cathi Kopera
Co-founders of Port Hope Delaware
Dover

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