Hope Family Village Incorporates in Virginia

Hope Family Village has filed its application for incorporation in Virginia.

We have reserved several different web domain names. We have prepared the documentation for and applying for nonprofit status with the IRS. As soon as the Commonwealth approves our application, we file our papers with the IRS.

Our mission: Hope Family Village is a community-centric collaborative, offering acceptance, housing, and sustainable support for people with mental health conditions and their families. 

Fairweather Lodge Re-Visits Williamsburg

John Trepp (2nd from left), CEO of the Coalition for Community Living
facilitates discussion of Fairweather Lodge Residents (The Woodlands, Williamsburg, VA)

The Coalition for Community Living (CCL) returned to Williamsburg to give a presentation on Fairweather Lodge. This is the second time the board has come to town. This year they met at Colonial Williamsburg Woodlands Conference Center. The two-hour presentation was excellent. 

Audience for the three panel discussions

Longtime lodge residents of these homes were a crowd hit. They described their lives before and after joining a Fairweather lodge. (Currently, there are 60 lodges in operation around the country.) The audience was inspired by their stories. Who attended?  Local and state governmental leaders; NAMI affiliate families; peer and family support group attendees; W&M Business School; and the founding families of Hope Family Village.

W&M film students filmed the entire session. Here’s the link.

Afterward  we held a dinner, where residents, family members, community members were invited to get to know each other better. 

Hope Family Village plans to incorporate a lodge within their community design. Fairweather is a highly successful, research-based model and practice. We have been coordinating with CCL for two years now. Tremendously dedicated people work in this organization. If you are interested in knowing more, their next conference is in Erie, PA in September.

W&M MBA Completes Study for Hope Village

In August 2016, on behalf of our five families (from Williamsburg and Gloucester NAMI Affiliates), several of us (Tom Rideout and Allen Whitehead) put together a scope of work for an MBA Corporate Field Consultancy (CFC) Project with the College of William and Mary.

The Entire CFC Team

The project was extremely ambitious, but sought to have the 2nd year MBA candidate team become familiar with serious mental illness, needs of families and their loved ones, and cohousing, a form of neighborhood, then design a template for Hope Family Village, 25 families living on 25 acres on the Eastern State Hospital property that the state wants to sell.

The team was supported by two Executive Partners (former executive and senior management professionals) and a faculty advisor. All are pictured here. We thank them, from left to right: Issac Boateng, Pablo Otero, Petter Rapuzzi, Julie Campbell, Hayden Spencer, Brooke Waggoner, W. Corey Trench (the blogger, on behalf of an extensive client team), Chuck Owlett, and Kim Mallory.

What fantastic work they did. They worked very hard. We received three formal presentations from them and work products. The finale was mainly about economics. We were joined by 30 audience members, including NAMI families, United Way’s Home for Good Program, and Gateway Homes.

Now, we begin the work of design and development of this project. We seek stakeholders, more family participants, and funding sources. All will be much more realizable and sooner because of the work of this project team.

Best of luck with your future!! Your are going to change the world.

It’s Not A Hospital, Not a Medical Institution

Soteria is a home.

Explained in the piece is what people do when psychiatric hospitals are closed and there is no place left to go.

Hope Family Village is similar to Soteria Shelter Home in that we don’t have a place, yet. We meet monthly at a restaurant.

A W&M MBA Corporate Field Consultancy project team is researching and studying a co-housing approach and possible location for a project.

In this recent article (1/18/17), we see proposed legislation that responds to a constituency need to preserve home values and ensure neighborhood safety out of a fear for the arrival of a group home.

If one googles group homes, which are licensed by states, most newspapers articles will discuss the need for notification, regulation and oversight.  After reading them, it will become quickly apparent that living together in a home is rather difficult.

Moreover, does anyone want to live a neighborhood where they are under surveillance? Isn’t that what most of us want to avoid?

Sure, we want people to look out for us. We would want people to look out for each other. We would want to live in a neighborhood where we would do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

If we are closing permanent, chronic health care facilities, coming up with criteria for evaluating a group home, we leave no place to go, other than to live quietly in a family home, on the streets, or in jail.

Shelter is a basic human need. We must find it. Human connection and support is another basic need.  In all cases, if it is not provided, it must be created.

Indigenous Cultures: How are they like Hope Family Village

Phil Borges: Storyteller and filmmaker

Phil has done several TedTalks about a documentary (Crazywize) he has been working on for over four years.

He has been exploring indigenous cultures to learn what they might tell us.

This one (15 minutes) discusses serious mental illness over the decades. He shares some of the interviews they have preformed. The insights he has developed. Some observations about people and their needs.

He examines America’s serious mental health crisis. He gives us both the historical context and the difficulty medial science has had making definitive proofs.

What can we learn about from Phil in creating Hope Family Village? What critical observation does he offer that cuts to the core of society’s investment in, or lack thereof, in care?

Could it be community? Hope Family Village.

Minimalism: The Documentary

You’re going to smile when you see Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things. It’s on Netflix.

The main characters are compelling. They reach a point in their lives that it all comes together. What they do next just makes sense to them. They are not selling anything, except maybe a book.

Their first audiences mirror their own philosophy and they find the humor in it.

A couple of guys reflect on where they came from, where they thought they wanted to go, their arrival, and their subsequent complete change in direction. The movie treats us to similar observations made by others, including families and scholars.

In the end, it’s all about quality and our connections to each other. We are on a similar road.

Realizing Value at Hope Family Village

Home of Open Dialogue and Experiment in Basic Income

As we think through designing Hope Family Village, we know that the cohousing platform is ideal.

For a community to work requires everyone pitching in, in some way, to support their neighbors and their community.

What brings us together is the need for mutual support and desire for mutual acceptance.

We want to do more than survive. We want to thrive.

Countries like Finland and Denmark offer us practiced innovations that might help us in our design.

Here are two recent articles about a new Finnish experiment on basic income (1) and (2). Western Lapland is also the home of Open Dialogue, which has been very effective.

Quite naturally, we all want to realize personal value and satisfaction. How do you measure that? It’s different for each person. Certainly, we can realize satisfaction from producing something, creating something, or simply working together toward a common goal (e.g. growing a garden).

Maybe in the case of an extreme northern latitude, the conditions are so harsh, a need to innovate to realize the value from one’s life is bred.

In our case, Hope Family Village is an experiment. Our own invention.

We’re creating something new. We can be open to other ideas and approaches that may pragmatically fit our community.

Why Hope Family Village?

Paris Wiliams Experiencing FREE
Rethinking Madness, Author

If we ever pause to wonder why we are passionate about creating a “place” that we call Hope Family Village, this short documentary film (30 min) called Surviving Schizophrenia begins to explain why. 

Featured are Elyn Saks and Paris Williams, who are both well known to the survivor and NAMI communities. Varietal concepts are brought to bear by each actor.

Creating hope, that’s what we are doing: Something way different to a cookie-cutter approach to care.

Announcing Hope Family Village

It’s official!

Hope Family Village (HFV) was born at Nick’s Spaghetti and Steak House in Gloucester Point, Virginia on December 1, 2016.

You have been directed here from our web site address. Thank you Phil Trench for helping me do all of this so painlessly. Bear with me, it’s not an elaborate site. More important, we started.

HPV has five co-founding families. They came together from the NAMI Williamsburg and NAMI Mid-Tidewater affiliates of NAMI Virginia. We discovered a shared interest in permanent housing for ourselves and our loved ones. Together, we have explored the cohousing and Fairweather Lodge models, practices and histories. Since July of 2016, we have been holding monthly dinner meetings to develop our vision. Last week, we picked an identity.

People will be shocked at what a small number will accomplish on a problem that has been wrestled with for all of mankind. We will bring something new to real mental health care. Imagination. A blending of the best practices in the world. What it will ultimately cost, as well as achieve, will be thought not to be possible. Hope Village is something new.

We imagine a neighborhood that accepts mental health and its care as our principal priority. The College of William and Mary, MBA Field Consultancy Program, five second year students, two executive partners, and a faculty advisor have been conducting a study to help take an idea and turn it into a reality. They have done excellent work. It’s been a wonderful collaboration. The study will conclude in March of 2017. But, we plan to continue this relationship.

Currently, we believe, the first project will be constructed for 25 families.

More to follow.