Sky and Blu have lived at Opportunity Village since October 2016. They moved from Salt Lake City about a year ago because they “needed to get into a better environment” and turn their lives around. They moved to Springfield, where Blu had lived previously and where some of her cousins live. But the cousins couldn’t have extra people in their apartment beyond two weeks (rules of Section 8 housing). They had to find other housing – not easy to do when you live on a a very limited, fixed income. Every rental they found was at least three times more than their monthly income.
They became homeless.
At first they slept outside where they could find safety and some comfort. Then they got a tent. They got themselves on waiting lists for affordable housing at several agencies and applied for Section 8 eligibility. They both see a case manager regularly at Options Counseling for help with mental health issues.
Their Options case manager referred them to Opportunity Village. They were vetted and accepted as new residents almost immediately, and they fit right into Village life. Each of them has served two-month terms on Village Council. They’re working with Leah, OVE’s social work intern, on their “transition plan” for gaining a Section 8 voucher and moving into more permanent housing.
“Living at Opportunity Village has been a necessary step in our transition,” says Blu, “and it’s been really good. We love it here. We weren’t expecting all the ‘extras’ we would get, like being able to do laundry or having wifi (in the yurt). Also, there are other people here dealing with the same things we are. Being here is what we needed to reach our goal of getting our own place.”
Sky and Blu have been married for 19 years. Blu is a nickname for LuAnn, and she wants you to know that she was Blu long before she met Sky!
Want to get involved? Here are a few ways to help people like Sky and Blu transition out of homelessness...
Become an Advocate:
Advocates will assist villagers with tasks such as identifying rental history and rental arrears, taking steps to overcome poor credit, filling out applications for low-income housing project sites, job searching, and other related tasks.
Volunteers will participate in 6 hrs of training prior to being matched with a villager as an advocate. Volunteers should expect to dedicate about 5 hours each month to advocacy and be willing to volunteer for at least a 6 month period. If you are interested in volunteering as an advocate, please contact us.
Become a Sustainer:
Villagers pay $30/month toward utilities, but that doesn’t cover all operating expenses. We fill the gap in the budget with contributions from individuals, foundation grants, and community fundraisers. Please consider becoming an Opportunity Village Sustainer by signing up for an ongoing monthly donation.
Donate your Bottles and Cans to OVE:
Looking for a quick and easy way to help? Consider donating your deposit bottles and cans to Opportunity Village. Every nickel helps! Bring them in a bag to Opportunity Village, 111 N. Garfield St. The Villagers will take them to the recycling redemption center.
Attend our March 27th fundraiser at Falling Sky: