Chippewa Falls non-profit launches $2.7 million capital campaign for affordable housing

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - Chippewa Falls hasn’t had a homeless shelter since 2014 when Starting Points Harmony House closed down.

One non-profit that is tackling homelessness and affordable housing recently announced a $2.7 million capital campaign.

Hope Village has built tiny homes in Chippewa Falls to help those experiencing homelessness.

“We’ve housed single men, single women, we’ve housed families up to as large as five,” Hope Village director Mike Cohoon said. “We’ve housed high school students, seniors in high school that are e18 years old or older.”

Cohoon says the tiny homes are currently located at five different churches throughout Chippewa Falls. He says soon the tiny homes will be moved to the future site of Hope Village at 1825 Kennedy Road.

“The second phase, we received a grant, a HUD grant that will help us put in the infrastructure to move the tiny houses here on the property,” Cohoon said.

The third phase of the project is to build five duplexes and three 6-plexes as affordable housing.

“This is something that everyone’s trying to solve,” Hope Village capital campaign co-chair Dick Hebert said.

Hebert says Hope Village is working to secure $2.7 million in funding to build the apartments.

“We currently have 60 community volunteers working on putting together the campaign materials,” Hebert said. “We’re soon going to start the next phase, which is the validation process, to let community members look at those campaign materials.”

Hebert says the goal isn’t just to build affordable housing but to make sure it will be sustainable.

“We’re very confident we have a sustainable process in place to make sure that once it’s built, it will continue to flourish for many, many years,” Hebert said.

As part of phase two, Cohoon says the tiny homes don’t have running water so a former surgical center on the property is being converted into a community center.

“Which will have bathrooms and showers in it and other laundry facilities, and it’ll have a kitchen area that can be shared and a community room area and room for offices and a conference room,” Cohoon said.

Cohoon says projects like this are important because, as he put it, a community is only as strong as its people are.

“If we can help people who find themselves in a situation of not being sheltered, that’s a struggle, especially if you’re a family with children in school,” Cohoon said. “So if we can help lift up that group of people, the whole community becomes healthier.”

Cohoon says the tiny homes are estimated to be relocated to Hope Village by this fall or winter.

The affordable housing apartments are estimated to be completed between 2023 and 2027. Cohoon says Hope Village will partner with other organizations helping people find affordable housing.

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