When Vision 1505 opened in January 2013, it created 32 units of supportive housing in a factory that had been vacant since 2006 and provided no value to the neighborhood. The units include one, two, and three bedrooms for homeless families determined to have severe housing barriers. The project is based on a “Housing First” model, meaning that a homeless individual or household’s first and primary need is to obtain stable housing, and that other issues that may affect the household can and should be addressed once housing is obtained. Aurora provides supportive case management on-site when possible, supplemented with referrals to outside services as needed. This housing is considered permanent, but families are encouraged to move into other forms of permanent housing when they are able.
The target population for Vision 1505 is families who are currently homeless, residing in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs or living in places not suitable for habitation. A “family” includes couples, two parent families, and single parent households. The project is not specifically targeting any one specific sub-population other than families with a disability and multiple housing barriers who most likely will also be frequent users of emergency systems.
One of the most important elements of Vision 1505 is community engagement – internally and externally. To ensure that residents become involved in activities at the complex and in the community, Aurora employs a Community Engagement Specialist. This person works to build relationships among the residents and maintain a healthy environment for the families to live and grow. She is creating relationships with groups, clubs and the school system to have knowledge of community happenings and available family activities. Examples of this work include game nights, holiday parties, trips to local attractions, and educational workshops.
Because engagement activities are not supported by the state grant, these endeavors must continue to be supported by private, local donations and grants.