Daily Press, Virginia Pilot, Suffolk Times Cover Us

Dave Ress, Daily Press, interviewed founding families at our monthly dinner at Jimmy’s, December 13 – to find out more about Hope Family Village.  Our ambitions.

25 people came to family dinner (click pic for article)

His piece appeared on Christmas Eve. Our families were overjoyed to see the coverage. Neighboring NAMI Affiliates have been contacting us with the same excitement.

Our colleagues at the Coalition for Community Living, where Hope Family Village is a member, really liked the presentation.

2018 Achievements Set Up the New Year, 2019

We competed our first year of the 501(c)3 Nonprofit Public Charity, Hope Family Village. Our accomplishments have been stunning!


Members of the Williams Fairweather Lodge at their Christmas Potluck (December 2018)


Lodge Members Bowling with the W&M Fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta (The Fijis) (December 2018)

Number 1. Hope Family Village was named in the Governor’s Budget for the development of a community for 25 caregiving families and their loved ones living with a mental illness.

Since June, we have been working with James City County Planning and Social Services, culminating in the submission of a preliminary conceptual design. The project will take an estimated 3 years to develop (2022).

Number 2. We identified the right landlord to help Hope Family Village open the first Fairweather Lodge in Virginia in July of 2019. We have been working toward this moment since March of 2015. Lodge members have been preparing – meeting weekly, obtaining jobs, filing outcome reports (measure 14 fidelity standards), and conducting lodge activities –  since June of 2017 at The Coffee House. Our innovation, as a lodge without a house, was honored in Minneapolis at the Fairweather Lodge Conference.

W. Corey Trench, President of HFV and Executive Director of the Coalition for Community Living’s John Trepp. Award Ceremony, 2018 George (Bill) Fairweather Innovation Award

Additionally, Hope Family Village:

• Received startup funding in 2017, which we have grown in 2018

• Held 3 board meetings, one special meeting, and one annual meeting.

We worked with the W&M School on a number of projects; the student joined us for one of the meetings.

• Established Planning and Finance Committees

Within each are subcommittees (e.g., community eligibility criteria)

• Held Strategic Planning Workshop facilitated by Susie Hill.

Here we reviewed our founding vision, history, state of the state, priorities, milestones and responsibilities for 2019

Session Held at CDR (Norge, VA)

•  Received its first grant from the Williamsburg Community Foundation

• Participated in two NAMI VA Events, one a workshop that our board members facilitated

Facilitated Brainstorming Session about Hope Family Village at NAMI Virginia Leadership Conference in Richmond, Virginia

•  Were recognized with the NAMI VA Hope Award

Hope Family Village Members in Richmond, VA

•  Held monthly dinners expanded (20 – 25 people attending), adding to our list of HFV community prospects

Family Dinner at Jimmy’s Oven And Grill

•  Participated, as a member agency and board member, in monthly CCL lodge coordinators calls, board member and marketing committee meetings

The coalition has embraced and supported Hope Family Village and our approach to incorporating Fairweather principles into our community’s design.

CCL Board Meeting and Workshop (October 2018)

•  Sponsored W&M Center of Entrepreneurship Project (2017 – 2018), a business model evaluation project, that recommended the Fairweather Lodge as a gateway to Hope Family Village, the community


Cooking a Meal, Having Fun, Working Together at W&M’s Fiji House and with the EFC Team


Making and then breaking bread is essential to caregiver and peer wellness. Hosted here by the Fijis, who live to cook.

EFC Team Leading Brainstorming Session

W&M Team Pictured with Van Black, project donor, and Board Members Trench, Rideout and Whitehead.

• Delivered presentations to Riverside Health System, the W&M Entrepreneurship Center, Rotary Club, and Crown Colony Club

• Expanded our network. Coordinating with Colonial Behavioral Health,  James City County, House of Mercy, NAMI Affiliates, and 3E Restoration

• Toured various property options, including Eastern State

Walked Eastern State State property (plus considered other options (e.g, Riverside Quarterpath, land) and various house rental options). Visited Oxford Houses.

• Participated in intense learning and networking Cohousing Regional Conferences (Boulder, Amherst), where we visited and met with members of co-housing villages.

In 2018, we visited 7 villages in three states (CO, MA, and VA)

In Amherst, we met with, and subsequently engaged co-housing architect Laura Fitch, who developed our first preliminary concept design for 25 families on 10 acre plot.

Pioneer Village, Amherst, MA

•  Developed an identity, presence on the web (thanks to Phil Trench), and initial marketing materials through the support of W&M’s Kim Mallory

Ted Pino, a longtime advertising agency, has been lending his expertise to help us keep improving our outreach.

2019: Year Ahead will not be quiet, either.

We will:

• Follow Strategic Plan Priorities, reviewing our progress throughout the year

• Start a lodge in a real house (Jan – July window)

Move-in the first residents. Make this place a focal point for HFV

• Keep rallying prospective caregiving families to live in the 25 family village

• Develop details of the hypothetical village at Eastern State

• Participate in JCC Comprehensive Planning Process

• Seek VA Budget Amendment that creates specific acreage and financial terms for Eastern State property.

• Identify other land options in JCC, York, and possibly other counties

The way to see Hope Family Village’s mission.

When others are running from a problem, we are embracing it. Turning difficulty upside down into opportunity. We see what others might not. We take one small thing, a family dinner, demonstrate it, and show how it leads to another small thing. Eventually, you wind up with a neighborhood. A family of acceptance and respect. Unafraid of the future. That’s Hope Family Village. And, why you want to be here more than any place else. The welcome mat is out.

Hope Family Village @ Eastern State

Let us show you something.

Yeah, it’s a preliminary, draft conceptual design for one prospective location at Eastern State.

We shared it with James City County Planning and Social Service last Friday.

The board has engaged award-winning community architect Laura Fitch at the toughest stage. The starting blocks. And, on a very quick turn around, combined with a snow storm.

We know terrain laced with obstacles.



Seeing is Believing!

Our Board member, Lisa Thomas, had the great opportunity to attend the Northeast Co-Housing Summit last month in Amherst, MA where she attended workshops about designing and running an intentional housing community. She also met with others living in existing co-housing communities or getting ready to launch their own.

The highlight of her experience was visiting Pioneer Valley Co-Housing, a community that started 25 years ago with a focus on social connections and shared experiences. 

This multi-generational community of 32 families living on a six acre footprint includes a Common House, described as the “Living room of the community,” clustered homes, pedestrian walking paths, community gardens and outdoor recreational spaces. Each resident contributes to the well being of the community by volunteering 6-8 hours a month to organize activities, maintain the community, cook occasional shared meals, or other activities designed to bolster a sense of community support and connection.

The community encourages “random connection by design” with a carefully designed footprint that includes, public, semi-private and private spaces for all residents. Every neighbor knows everyone in the community, children play freely outdoors and often visit frequently between the houses, and members support each other through personal challenges, as well as celebrating small successes and major milestones.

The community is so popular, they have a long waiting list of families who want to move there and have opened up associate memberships for others to participate in community life while waiting. Residents own their own homes, but pay monthly fees similar to a Homeowners Association for maintenance and upkeep of the community. 

After experiencing a weekend at Pioneer Valley and seeing how well this concept works, Lisa may well be the first to make a down payment on a home in Hope Family Village!

Summer 2018 is over.

From April until the present has been nonstop for Hope Family Village.

On April 19 – 23, this villager was in Boulder, CO for the Western Region Cohousing Conference. I met many startup communities like ours; learned from cohousing architects and developers; and visited four different communities in the area. We were there to find out what it really takes to develop a community. In short, a lot of hard work by committed families.

The board of directors, along with our founding families, are in a learning mode. Taking Cohousing 101 seemed the most natural of first steps. The session on Marketing, though, was also very informative. Director Lisa Thomas, recently retired from an Williamsburg icon nonprofit, CDR, will be attending the Amherst, MA conference.

In August, Parade Magazine covered How America Lives: Creating Housing for Boomers, Veterans, Millennials, and More. We are the More. A MUST READ.

On returning, we had our board meeting, April 28th, then I was off on a 2-day visit to Virginia cohousing communities, Elderspirit in Abingdon, VA and Shadowlake Village in Blacksburg, VA.  For different reasons, spending one-on-one time with members of both these communities and reviewing their layout was incredibly helpful. Elderspirit is a 55 and older community, located on a 3 acre plot, borders a gorgeous park and trail. Shadowlake is on a larger piece of wooded property, around 30 acres, and has younger families. In both instances, the communities completely understood our mission and had experience in caregiving for people with a mental health diagnosis. The heart of both communities is the common home. Mail, meals, and activities can be shared here.

In May, we concerned ourselves with the Virginia State Budget. An milestone for us, Hope Family Village Corporation was specifically named for a co-located project at Eastern State surplus property (400 acres). The two other projects are behavioral health and medical/dental services. James City County (JCC) leads the effort. We will be part of a comprehensive planning and rezoning effort. Several directors had a meeting with JCC officials to define our project and needs. Our plan is to develop one project  for 25 families. The community will feature at least one Fairweather Lodge.

NAMI Virginia held their Leadership Conference and Annual Meeting in Richmond, VA in June. We offered a short workshop on our concept. Only, we presented from the vantage point of creating community. How would families go about taking care of one another? We handed out fliers about the project and picked up the names of interested families. We expect to draw families from outside the Williamsburg area.

In July, Bill McHenry, Lodge Coordinator for New Visions, Inc. (PA), George Duke (MD), retired commercial and industrial development investor, and Van Black (FLA) our intrepid supporter came to Williamsburg. We walked the Eastern State property; participated in a lodge meeting together; and met other potential partners in our project (e.g., House of Mercy).

Was August any slower? Yes. It was summer. We did manage our monthly family dinner. We are gradually sharing our story with more and more people.

Next up, while Lisa is in Amherst for the Cohousing Workshop and Conference, I will be in Minneapolis or the Coalition for Community Living Conference and Annual Meeting this month. Will be visiting Fairweather Lodges and a architect of eco-villages.

We know we are on a long road, but we will get there. 8.4 million caregiving families, just like ours, are counting on us.

Anyone who is interested in the community, please contact W. Corey Trench at wctrench@gmail.com

Second Thursdays: We’re all about the dining.

Welcome everyone. At Hope Family Village we are all about the dining. Why?


Our next dinner is Thursday, April 12th @ 6:30 PM at Jimmy’s in Norge, VA.

In developing not only our organization, the physical village, the social architecture, we know how important being on the same page really is. We share a vision and we are on a mission. Together. How we arrive is by giving everyone a voice in the design process.

For all of us, we know how important support groups have been in our lives. That’s how we met. Here, our families and loved ones in recovery bring tremendous experience. Whether it is lived experience or caregiving or coaching or research. We share a common bond to achieve value as human beings and know respect. We share without repercussion. We come to trust one another. We know that we are not alone.

Hope Family Village is another step forward in the creation of a physical neighborhood. You live among neighbors who look after one another.

Our dinners are social occasions to get to know each other better. Whether you join the physical or not, we welcome you to our community. You hear about the many that lie ahead. Join us.

Grand Event: W&M Entrepreneurship/Fiji House

Pictured is the future of Hope Family Village.

Maybe these graduating MBA and undergraduate students will do other things with their lives, but on Saturday they adeptly moved Hope Family Village forward by staging a grand event.

Graciously hosted at the home of Phi Gamma Delta, the Fiji House, brought together – by the current field consultancy team from the College of William and Mary’s Mason Business School Center of Entrepreneurship  – were the brothers, family caregivers, our Williamsburg Fairweather Lodge members and stakeholders (House of Mercy, City Council). The present and future of hope.

What was the grand event?

Part celebration of the Virginia Senate Floor passing SB 30, the set aside of property for Hope Family Village’s 25-family community project. One step closer to a dream. Part conversation and fun.

Breaking Bread

Part breaking bread, cooking and sharing a meal together. Part creative exercises – involving the W&M student team, the brothers, and the villagers – to share with each other who we are, what we think and believe, what defines us, and why we are creating this very special place.

The student team learned about us. We learned about them. What we demonstrated is how easy and effortless it is to come together, work together, with a common purpose.Home, family, care, acceptance, inspiration.

It was a beautiful day.

Hope Family Village Enters Agreement with W&M Law School

We are excited to announce a new relationship with the William and Mary Law School, Business Clinic. This action serves to continue and expand our relationship with the College of W&M to develop Hope Family Village. As we progress, we see the College as a vital partner.

As noted elsewhere on this blog, Hope Family Family Village has enjoyed an extremely productive relationship with the W&M Mason Business School Corporate Field Consultancy Program and the Center of Entrepreneurship.

Recently, we met with two third year law students, MaryKatlyn Lukish and Taylor Basford, who will be supporting us in the startup phases of the organization. While we have already incorporated, received our 501(c)3 status, had our first annual meeting and elected our board, among other actions, we are engaged in a number of tasks.

Katie and Taylor will be working on a variety of legal research-based activities and making recommendations.

Sen. Tommy Norment Introduces Hope Family Village Amendment

Last week, Senator Norment introduced an amendment to the Governor’s budget (SB 30) that sets aside Parcel C (79 acres) at Eastern State for Hope Family Village Corporation.

Specifically, the amendment states:
“R.  The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services in conjunction with the Department of General Services shall lease, for one dollar, Parcel C of the Eastern State Hospital property to the Hope Family Village Corporation for the development of a community project that serves as a residence for 25 families impacted by a member with serious mental illness. The long-term lease shall be for 25 years and renewable for another 25 years.”
For Hope Family Village, this is a major milestone. The founding families, our board, our planning committee members, and a growing number of stakeholders all realize the important need for the creation of a community of acceptance. A place where neighbors help neighbors. Families are the backbone, the infrastructure, of true care. If we create a place where we take care of caregivers, we take care of our loved ones.

Our first design will be 25 families. We will feature a common house at the community’s hub, where residents connect with one another socially and have the opportunity to dine together. The community’s design will be tranquil and cater to pedestrians; maximize open space; and employ gardens.  To start, we will feature two primary options, one for families, where their loved ones live with them. The second will be a Fairweather Lodge for people who are in recovery, who live together in a home, operated on the specific principles and practices. In addition, because we will be an inclusive community, one of acceptance of serious mental illness as a human condition, we expect clinicians, students studying for degrees in family counseling will want to live in the village. They will be similarly welcomed.

Much of our present work has resulted from a very positive relationship with the College of William and Mary. For two years, we have been engaged with Mason Business School and recently have have begun to work with the W&M Law School. As we develop, we will likely find other opportunities to engage with other W&M departments and Virginia state education institutions.