A tiny house village for homeless people now boasts a larger community room to handle new residents who will move into the new shed-like shelters.
Supporters of Hope Village have raised $224,000 of a $260,000 fundraising goal to add 16 units to the 14 units already at the tiny-house complex at the corner of McAndrews Road and Columbus Avenue.
“We just received another $15,000 from the Raymond Family Trust,” said Matthew Vorderstrasse, development director for the homeless advocacy group Rogue Retreat.
With the money, Rogue Retreat is prepared to put people in four new units a month at Hope Village, which gives the organization a chance to catch up on construction and prepare for the new arrivals. Each unit is 8-by-10-feet with no electricity or running water. Showers and other facilities are provided in the welcome center.
As part of the new construction, a large outbuilding has been turned into a community room. It will have six large tables, a vending machine and refrigerators.
In a separate welcome center next door, workers have been busy installing everything needed to add more coin-operated washing machines.
Last July, Medford City Council agreed to a new two-year deal with Rogue Retreat, extending the previous one-year agreement.
Residents of Hope Village are required to pay a monthly $75 fee for their unit. They must provide their own food and prepare their meals in a separate kitchen area. Many of the residents qualify for government assistance to help pay their food costs.
After three months, the fee is raised to $175, but 50 percent of the increase goes into a trust to help the homeless person move into more permanent housing.
Rogue Retreat receives money from community care organizations to help support the Hope Village operation, which costs about $20 a night for each resident.
Rogue Retreat, funded by community support and grants, spends $11,000 a month to operate Hope Village and $42,000 a month to operate the Kelly Shelter, which offers a warm place to sleep for the night for 50 homeless people.
Eugene Maldonado, a 62-year-old former investment officer who hit hard times, landed at Hope Village after finding himself on the streets last year.
He went to the Medford Gospel Mission and then to the Kelly Shelter, but also worked on the Klondike fire last summer.
“Being on the fire line you had housing,” Maldonado said.
After his firefighting was over, he was again looking for housing.
“Hope Village called, and it was a blessing in disguise,” Maldonado said.
The average stay for a resident in Hope Village is 4.7 months, and Rogue Retreat works with the residents to get them back into society.
Chad McComas, executive director of Rogue Retreat, said it takes someone about a month to get used to living in a community and to get the “street” mentality out of their head.
Case workers, who have offices in the Hope Village welcome center, deal with issues such as mental illness, drug abuse and other behavioral problems.
McComas said that after a few months, he and others gently nudge the residents to start thinking about moving out of Hope Village.
“We want them to be comfortable, but we want them to have a better life than this,” he said.
For those wishing to donate, call Rogue Retreat at 541-499-0880, extension 1060.