Q: What is Love Our Community?
A: Love Our Community (LOC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded to unite our community around meeting the unseen needs of our neighbors. Our vision is to be a community who serves together to meet the unseen needs of our neighbors. This means we provide a holistic, relational approach to helping individuals and families work their way out of homelessness and all the challenges that come with being insecure in your community. Hidden homelessness in suburban communities is on the rise. Our focus is to be in relationship with our neighbors and connect to needed resources.
Q: What is the Love Our Community building?
A: In 2019, Love Our Community purchased the former Lake Center Christian School building, located at 1116 Woodland Street SW in Hartville. We have recently sold that space and purchased a property in Uniontown. Our plan is to transform the property/Little Elk into a community resource that offers stable housing for individuals and families facing homelessness. By meeting basic needs, like food and shelter, the LOC Property/Little Elk will help residents focus on building a better life. Our current plans include an “anchor family” residence and additional individual living units.
Q: Is the LOC building a homeless shelter or halfway house?
A: Love Our Community is NOT operating a homeless shelter or halfway house. Our property will offer families their own private apartment or living unit for up to a year — not a temporary room or bed. By providing a place for them to call home, and the resources to help rebuild their lives, we can give families a better chance to make decisions that result in lasting, meaningful change.
Q: If homelessness is such an issue in our community, why haven’t I heard about it before?
A: Just because you haven’t heard about homelessness in our community doesn’t mean it’s not an issue. The stigma and shame of being homeless in our society leads many suburban families to suffer in silence. Since starting Love Our Community, we’ve connected with dozens of individuals and families living out of their car, sleeping on a friend’s couch, or even sleeping outside. Helping these people out of crisis or poverty and into affordable housing is a very present need in Lake Township.
Q: What is the role of the “anchor” family?
A.The anchor family will commit to live on the LOC property as a full-time support to its residents. The anchor family plays the role of a social worker, counselor and missionary. By living with the families they serve, relationships are built to bring about lasting change.
Q: Will neighborhood property values decline if there is housing for homeless people at the LOC property?
A: According to multiple real estate professionals, our planned renovations may keep property values from falling due to the properties current state of disrepair.
Q: Will convicted criminals be allowed to live in the LOC property?
A: The safety of our neighbors and residents is a top concern for the Love Our Community property. Our plan is to conduct thorough background checks to ensure that individuals convicted of sex crimes or violent offenses will not be permitted to live in the building. However, we will consider providing housing for non-violent offenders that meet all of our other application criteria.
Q: How will LOC protect the community from the potential dangers of residents in the LOC building?
A: The families living in the Love Our Community property will pose no more of a threat than your other neighbors. Each has demonstrated commitment to put in the hard work necessary to rebuild their lives. Additionally, they will have multiple touch points each week with the building’s anchor family.
Q: Will residents of the LOC property have to follow a set of rules to live there?
A: Yes, all residents of the Love Our Community property will sign a contract agreeing to submit to the rules of the building.
Q: What happens when someone’s one-year stay at the building is complete?
A: Our goal is for families to move out of the Love Our Community property before reaching their one-year anniversary. While we won’t immediately evict families when their year is up, we will work on a transition plan to help them find a new residence as soon as possible.
Q: How will you identify and select an anchor family?
A: The anchor family will play a key role in the success of the Love Our Community property. The family will be selected by our Leadership team, and will be evaluated based on their interpersonal skills, family stability and missionary mindset.
Q: Why hasn’t an anchor family been identified and selected yet?
A: Currently, there are many factors impacting the timeline of our renovation project. Our anchor family will likely need to make substantial life changes to commit to living in the Love Our Community property, such as selling their home and changing their employment. While several families have expressed interest in being our anchor family, we have not asked for any commitments because we do not have a definitive timeline for opening the building.
Q: Does the community at large support this project?
A: We have broad support from the Lake Township community, including Lake Schools, the library, YMCA, the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce and a large number of churches, businesses and individuals.
We look forward to sharing more about LOC, please contact us anytime