Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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 poverty and into affordable housing is a very present need in Hartville and Lake Township.
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. Our plan is to transform the building into a community resource that offers stable housing for individuals and families facing homelessness. By meeting basic needs, like food and shelter, the LOC building will help residents focus on building a better life. Our current plans include an “anchor family” residence and four additional apartment units.
Q: What is the role of the “anchor” family?
The anchor family will commit to live in the LOC building as a full-time assistant 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: Is the LOC building a homeless shelter or halfway house?
A: Love Our Community is NOT operating a homeless shelter or halfway house. Our building will offer families their own private apartment 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: Why is LOC applying for R-3 Zoning?
A: Although applying for R-3 (multi-family residential) zoning was not our first choice, it is now our best remaining option to open the Love Our Community building. Originally, we applied for a zoning variance as a community-development project. Although our plan was approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), Hartville Village Council rejected it. Rezoning the property to R-3 will allow us to continue with the project, which will include housing for up to four homeless families, as well as our live-in “anchor” family.
Q: Is there any precedent for granting an organization like LOC R-3 Zoning?
A: Yes. In 2017, Hartville Village Council approved the rezoning of a project on Woodland St SW – the street on which we are located – from R-2 (one-and-two-family residential) to R-3 (multi-family residential).
Q: Will neighborhood property values decline if there is housing for homeless people at the LOC building?
A: The claim that the Love Our Community building will negatively impact property values is not based on any factual analysis. In fact, the opposite may be true. According to multiple real estate professionals, our planned renovations may keep property values from falling due to the building’s current state of disrepair.
Q: Why do the plans for LOC building continue to change?
A: Throughout the initial application process, the vision has remained consistent and our plans have not changed. But as this project develops, we’ve remained sensitive to the feedback of the community. For instance, upon hearing negative comments regarding our plan for laundry and shower facilities, we removed those elements from the plan. Our intent is to follow through on our vision to provide homeless families with a stable environment for life rebuilding, while remaining sensitive to the needs of our community.
Q: Will convicted criminals be allowed to live in the LOC building?
A: The safety of our neighbors and residents is a top concern for the Love Our Community building. 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 homeless residents in the LOC building?
A: The families living in the Love Our Community building 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, and will submit to random drug tests as a condition of living in the building.
Q: Will residents of the LOC building have to follow a set of rules to live there?
Yes, all residents of the Love Our Community building 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?
Our goal is for families to move out of the Love Our Community building 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?
The anchor family will play a key role in the success of the Love Our Community building. The family will be selected by our board of directors, and will be evaluated based on their interpersonal skills, family stability and ministry credentials.
Q: Why hasn’t an anchor family been identified and selected yet?
Currently, there are many factors impacting the timeline of our renovation project — including approval of the building’s R-3 zoning from Hartville Village Council. Our anchor family will likely need to make substantial life changes to commit to living in the Love Our Community building, 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 neighborhood and other Village of Hartville residents support this project?
The neighbors and Hartville residents we’ve spoken to have been very supportive of our efforts. And those who were initially apprehensive often change their perspective when they have all the facts. Due to the amount of misinformation surrounding this project, Love Our Community is undertaking more efforts to educate the community about our vision and plans for the future.
Q: Does the community at large support this project?
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. Additionally, businesses such as HRM Enterprises, Comfort Suites, Gentlebrook and Ramsburg Insurance have all been very supportive of our work.
Q: Why does the LOC building need a kitchen?
In addition to providing temporary housing for families facing homelessness, the Love Our Community building will be a resource for the community. We plan to use our large gym as a space to serve other community organizations — and a small kitchen will make this shared space much more useful to those utilizing our common areas.
Q: How does this project benefit the Village of Hartville and its residents?
Homelessness is a problem for everyone in our community — not just those in poverty. We’re proud to be building a strong presence in Hartville, in part because of the way this community cares for one another. But truly caring for others means helping those who are less fortunate, even when it’s not easy or convenient. Strong families are the foundation of a strong community. And by giving a hand up to those in our midst who are struggling with homelessness, we raise the whole community up.