Updated: Jan 24
The last time you heard from me I gleefully informed you that we had attained property for Hope House. Much has transpired as we continue to move forward. First, I want to explain the purchase and how the City of Sedona so graciously assisted us. Per the CDBG grant, we cannot sign a contract until we have the grant money, which makes a purchase nearly impossible for us. With the first property we had, there was a handshake agreement that we would purchase the property once we received the grant funds. As you all know, that agreement fell through.
Property and housing
As we searched for other properties, it became clear that sellers wanted their money right away. Part of the grant requirement is that an environmental review must be done on the property before the grant funds are released. This review can take up to 3-5 months. When we found the property we currently have, the seller could not wait that long for the money. So, the City stepped in and purchased the property for $200,000. When we receive our money, we will immediately reimburse the City for the full purchase price. The property is close to Hwy 89A, shopping and transportation, making it perfect for this project. The City has been extremely supportive of this mission and is doing everything they can to pave the way for our success. We are extremely grateful. Hope House must be a community wide effort to be successful in helping our most vulnerable citizens, homeless children and their families.
Prior to the environmental review being started, the Hope House Board of Directors must submit a new budget and plans for the housing on the property to NACOG (Northern AZ Council of Governments). In order to do this, we are waiting to hear about a cost estimate to purchase and install an IRC (International Residential Code) factory-built 4 bedroom, 4 bath home on the property. This is where we would like to start. We are currently working with someone from Blue Ribbon Manufacturing in Flagstaff on a suitable floor plan.
Phase I will be the installation of this home. Per the CDBG grant, we have until June 2021 to have Hope House open and running. Phase II of this project will be additional fundraising and purchase of a second home. It is our goal to split the property into two parcels so we can make two homes available to help those in need.
Meeting with neighbors
We recently had a meeting with the Hope House neighbors. An invitation was extended to 18 residences in the neighborhood. In addition to some of the neighbors, Karen Osburn and Warren Campbell from the City were there. We want to keep the neighbors informed as to what we are doing and form a positive relationship with them. We also want to give them an opportunity to air their concerns and have their questions answered. We assured them that each family will be properly vetted before being allowed in the house. We are working with both Catholic Charities and the Sedona Oak Creek School District on the vetting. Being good neighbors is very important to us. As such, we intend to put in an attractive house, keep the property well maintained and be quiet and friendly.
On-going assistance to those in need of housing
The Church of the Red Rocks has recently been able to assist two families needing help. The first was a mother and her twins who were about to be evicted from their home just before Christmas. The City had come to us to ask if we could help. We took a special offering in our congregation and came up with enough money to pay the back fees this woman owed, thus enabling the family to stay in their home. As the mother said, they could not have asked for a better Christmas gift. We had money left over from that special offering which we have put in reserve to help others. Recently, we were contacted by the homeless liaison for the school district, Deana DeWitt. She had a mother and four kids who needed lodging for 3 nights while she looked for a low rent place for them in Sedona. We were able to put them up in a Sedona motel for those 3 nights. Unfortunately, no rental was found for them and that family is now living in a shelter in Flagstaff. This is a perfect example of why we need Hope House. This family could have stayed there until at least the end of the school year so they would not experience even more upheaval in their lives.
We are still struggling with our website, www.hopehouseofsedona.org, so if you know of anyone who has time to help us, we would appreciate knowing about that. We have just set up PayPal and are in the process of getting our donation page done. In the meantime, if you wish to contribute to our 501(c)(3), you can make a check payable to “Hope House of Sedona” and mail it to : Hope House of Sedona, 54 Bowstring Dr., Sedona, AZ 86336. In addition to needing more money for the first house and its installation and fees, we will continue to fundraise for the annual operating budget and the second home.
Many thanks to Pastor David Brandfass of Christ Lutheran Church, Sedona. He applied for and received an $8000 grant for Hope House from the Grand Canyon Synod (ELCA). We will receive this in installments over the next year. This money makes a huge difference.
We also continue to look for more volunteers. As mentioned above, Hope House cannot succeed unless it is a community effort. Many more volunteers are needed. On Saturday, March 7th, 2-4:00pm, we will be holding a kick-off meeting for all the Hope House volunteers. That will be held at The Church of the Red Rocks, 54 Bowstring Dr., in Painted Cliffs Hall. Now that we have the property, it is time to get together and give every task group of volunteers an opportunity to set plans and goals for the coming year. Whether you have previously signed up to be a volunteer or not, please plan to attend this event to get the latest news on Hope House and address where we plan to go from here. If you have already expressed a desire to be on a task group, you will receive a separate invitation from this.
Many blessing for all you have done and continue to do for Hope House of Sedona.