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Success Stories

It Takes a Village: Building Hope in Southern Oregon

Max Sprague
Community Facilities
Homeownership 2024
An illustration of I.V. Hope Village housing. I.V. Hope Village is a transitional living project in Cave Junction, OR designed to increase the number of affordable housing options.

A strong community must have affordable housing.

The lack of affordable or available housing in Cave Junction, Oregon, has led to a housing crisis that has affected the people of this small, rural community within the Illinois Valley. Unpredictable wildfires and a major shift to use land for growing legalized marijuana left many individuals and families struggling or facing homelessness.

The USDA Rural Development (RD) in Oregon learned of Cave Junction’s housing crisis in 2022 during a series of virtual and in-person meetings with stakeholders in Illinois Valley through its targeted CORE (Creating Opportunities through Rural Engagement) effort, which is designed to increase investments in underserved rural communities by increasing engagement. 

RD Oregon connected with two key stakeholders in Cave Junction, the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization (IVCanDO) and Illinois Valley Living Solutions, and learned that Cave Junction did not have the ability to take on debt for USDA RD loans and had limited staff capacity.  “In order for projects to be successful, people need to believe that change is possible,” said Margi Hoffmann, Oregon State Director for USDA RD. “This hope is created when we can build strong partnerships. Partnerships are essential in leveraging resources – working with community provides a greater impact than any one agency or organization could do alone.”

USDA RD Oregon worked with IVCanDO and I.V. Living Solutions to find like-minded partners who could provide the necessary technical assistance, which included the Housing Assistance Council (HAC), a national nonprofit that supports affordable housing efforts throughout rural America.  HAC Technical Assistance contractor Joyce Barr began working with I.V. Living Solutions, mentoring on certain aspects of non-profit housing development, including property management, board development and future housing activities.

In September 2023, I.V. Living Solutions was awarded nearly $800k through Oregon legislation, which is slated for I.V. HOPE Village, a transitional housing facility to be built complete with a community building that will have showers, laundry room, communal kitchen, living area with office spaces along with 16 tiny housing units —all on a 3.4-acre lot. The project is set for completion in November 2024.

Preliminary Site Plan for I.V. Hope Village

“It was such a huge collaboration for this little area. And the key to us securing funding from the state was because we had a shovel ready plan in place.”  Laura Mancuso, executive director for I.V. Living Solutions 

HAC is also assisting I.V. Living Solutions secure a USDA RD Community Facilities Grant to purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment for IV Hope Village. “It has been very rewarding to assist IV Living Solution’s bring in their first development,” said Barr. “Ms. Mancuso’s dedication and energy are a huge advantage which will also be instrumental in the success of Cave Junction’s first transitional housing community.”

USDA RD’s active engagement with its underserved communities spotlights the importance of exploring all possible options to fill in crucial gaps. By bringing together partners to provide the essential resources needed to address the unique housing challenges faced by Cave Junction, will help to create a stronger, more vibrant community for all residents.

Story by Dastina Wallace, Program Coordinator, Strategic Engagement Division, USDA Rural Development Innovation Center.

Obligation Amount:
Year(s) of Obligation:
Congressional District:
  • Oregon: District 2