President’s Yearend Report 2017!

Hope Family Villagers:

Happy New Year! May you be safe and warm today.

First, I want to thank you all for the notes of encouragement and support. It’s not the amount of time you put in, it’s that you have been there. You are part of a nucleus that has become an organization, a public charity. Not just any group. It’s a creation. An innovation. A connection. A reinvention of neighborhood. Descriptors that have not even occurred to us. This year, in June, because of you, we became Hope Family Village Corporation. 

I started to make a list. Just a list. Of all the 2017 activities, meetings, and events and it filled one page and a half legal pad pages! Then, I started to associate each of you with those occurrences. Honestly, it was stunning. Perhaps a simple categorization will help.

Founding family dinners

We dined monthly at Nick’s Spaghetti and Steak House in Gloucester. This is where we got to know each other. We discussed what amounted to our vision (April 2016) (a cohousing project for families and their loved ones with at least one Fairweather Lodge). (We will resume these gatherings in 2018.) Even while eating and talking, we evolved our name. We determined the need for a Planning Committee to address both the skillsets and tasks required to accomplish the development of a village and culture of acceptance, where neighbors help neighbors. 

Hope Family Village Organization: Inc., 501(c)3, Planning Committee

In 2017, our Planning Committee started meeting monthly, wrote on white boards, created work assignments. Here, we determined our vision – Hope Family Village is a community-centric collaborative, offering acceptance, housing, and sustainable support for people with mental health conditions and their families. I remember that day: How remarkable it is to work with people who selflessly and respectfully engage with one another to create something. We commissioned Christine Andreoli to help us incorporate; seek 501(c)3 status, prepare By-Laws; guide us. We opened a bank account. We selected corporate officers; received our 501(c)3 status (October 2017); established a board (5 to start); held our first meeting; took actions to adopt By Laws; signed Conflict of Interest Documents; and appointed committees. We even received donations and have already prepared a draft yearend financial report. 

College of William and Mary Connection

In late August of 2016, we arranged a meeting with a scholar in real estate at the Mason Business School to study our vision for a village (April 2016). That lead to a project with the Corporate Field Consultancy (CFC) Program and a relationship with the College. Not only did we receive final and comprehensive products from this study specific to a piece of property at Eastern State (March 2017), but we began acting on their organizational startup recommendations. We continue to meet more and more people from the business school, who have led us to other connections. By summer, we reached out to the Office of the President of W&M to advise them of this evolving relationship that would benefit the community. W&M alums have played a significant role in, for example, connecting us with film students, who made videos for us concerning Fairweather Lodge and a relationship with the Center of Entrepreneurship and new study concerning the Hope Family Village’s startup and business model due in March of 2018. All of this, with the idea, we wanted people to know something very special was being done. Hope was at hand.

Coalition of Community Living (CCL), Fairweather Lodge

In March of 2017, for the second time, the CCL board of directors held their semi-annual meeting in Wiliamsburg. They conducted a workshop, which W&M students filmed, to understand Fairweather Lodge. Subsequently, we started a “virtual” lodge that, since June, has been meeting at The Coffee House every Saturday at 8 AM. In October, two virtual residents, and their lodge coordinator, attended the 33rd Fairweather Lodge Conference (Erie, PA)  Afterward, the members decided to start doing activities together. They took a field trip to examine a prospective house. They planned, shopped, cooked and held a dinner together, which began with a prayer. Each week they review their week, work on their goals, and plan for the next week. We had a total of 5 people participating in coffees. We currently have three active members. All obtained jobs and were working this past year. In November, we filed our first outcome report, for certification, with CCL. Each month the lodge coordinator participates in lodge coordinator conference calls with other lodge coordinators from around the country. Currently, we are looking for a house to rent. Their next activity is bowling. At our next HFV board meeting, we will recommend joining CCL as a member agency ($100 per year).

Governmental Affairs

In 2017, we began reaching out to everyone locally who would have interest in our organization and its vision for mental health care. We introduced Hope Family Village to the Governor-elect, Ralph Northam, MD (followup communication with his campaign staff), Sen. Norment, Sen. Mason, Del. Pogge, Del. Mullin, Bryan Hill (the then County Executive JCC), Jack Haldeman (JCC Planning Commission member). All were receptive. Delegate Pogge helped us fashion a request to set aside 50 acres for the development of two community projects. We discussed this, in detail, with Sen. Norment, Co-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. After hearing of our request, Sen. Norment contacted Mike Tweedy, legislative aid to the committee (July). October 2nd, Tweedy contacted us to discuss the basis, scope of, and our requirements, essentially a longterm renewable lease at no capital cost to the state. November 24 – 5, several of us attended the Joint Subcommittee on Mental Health 21st Century to understand the state’s plans for the next couple of years and how we might dovetail. Our distinction, as a project, is we address the caregiver community, too. What we plan to accomplish is an amendment to the Governor’s budget which sets aside the property for Hope Family Village.

Healthcare Organizations: Riverside, Lackey, Colonial Behavioral Health

We know working with healthcare providers is critical to success. As caregiver citizens, our pitch has been, Give us an opportunity to demonstrate what we can do. Let us innovate on care. Create a new model that lessens the burden on the traditional system of mental healthcare and access it more efficiently, with measurable outcomes. To that end, this year we met with Lackey Free Clinic, Colonial Behavioral Health, and, most recently, Riverside Behavioral Health System to introduce Hope Family Village. 

With Riverside, we prepared and delivered a 30-slide, power point presentation that discussed the basis of our organization and went through our progress and plans. That led to about a 45 minute discussion of possibilities for working together. We subsequently met with the Director of Riverside’s Government Affairs to describe our proposal and learn about the budgetary process and participation in it. We are very hopeful about our future relationship. We intend to repeat this process with other stakeholder prospects, inside and outside healthcare, in 2018, that bear on community-centric care development. 

Network and Communications

Our momentum this year came from taking the initiative to reach out to the community. Show that we’re communicators. We’re collaborators. We gave public speeches which led to meetings. We met new people who led us to others. Gradually, the word has gotten around that we’re a serious group and we will not be denied. We’re here to elevate this community when it comes to care for mental health conditions. Aside from the above, in 2017, we met, spoke with, and/or have been working with the Kiwanis Club (Colonial Chapter), the Shriners. the Lions Club, the Mid-Pemisula Women’s Bar Association, the Rotary Club, Sona Bank, FirstAdvantage Credit Union, the United Way of Greater Williamsburg, the House of Mercy, Walk the Talk, Gateway Homes, Vanguard Landing, E3 Restoration, Austin Impact Capital, Williamsburg Health Foundation, Choose Home, St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, the Chapel, The Relevant Church, NAMI Hampton Roads, Newport News, NAMI Virginia Beach, NAMI Mid-Tidewater, and, where it all began for us, and was seeded, was NAMI Wiliamsburg’s Board of Directors. Thank you.

Our Donors

Finally, our donors. From the very beginning, my friend and fellow alum, Van Black (W&M, ’75) believed in us. The Griffin Family believed in us. From the time they both came to the first Fairweather Lodge community presentation in 2015. We are deeply appreciative of their faith in us.

Also, we thank the Andreoli Family and matching funds from Exelon Corporation, Joe Bell, Henry Loboda, NAMI Williamsburg, Barb Ramsey,Tom Rideout, Craig and Jill Sease, Jim and Lisa Thomas, and Deborah Worstell. More donations are still arriving.

Financial support goes a long way in starting something, but it is the questions, the ideas, the suggestions that ultimately move an idea from water cooler chatter to action. 

I know we have a long way to go, but it really was an unbelievable year. There are so many to thank. What we promise is that we will remain flexible and open to possibilities that make our vision a reality. We must. We will operate lean. What that means is that our sponsors, donors, stakeholders can have confidence that we will be focused on managing our resources efficiently and directly into projects. Our first annual report will demonstrate our transparency. 

As with NAMI Williamsburg, our board and planning committee members are all volunteers. I feel both honored and blessed to be serving with you.
W. Corey Trench
President, Director, Co-Founder
Hope Family Village
PO Box 982
Williamsburg, Virginia 23187

Hope Family Village is a community-centric collaborative, offering acceptance, housing, and sustainable support for people with mental health conditions and their families.  

Hope Family Village Presents to Riverside Health System

To say that things are happening at a dizzying pace would be an understatement.

Last Thursday, our five board of directors, and presentation architect, traveled to Newport News to present our story to Riverside Health System at their corporate offices.  This was our first presentation describing who we are, what we have accomplished, and where we are headed.

We told our story, which began in 2014, with the simple idea of creating a neighborhood. As the letter to the editor describes, we asked questions about the fate of Eastern State surplus property (400 acres) in terms of behavioral health care. At the time, our idea was not to create Hope Family Village, a new nonprofit. It was to inspire.

Naively perhaps, we expected a white knight to surface. Offer something different. Innovative. That treasured valuable lives and all that they had to, and do, offer this world. These are our family members and friends who endure mental health conditions. Suggested was one geographic place that integrated housing, work, treatment access, lifelong learning, social connection and coaching. A village.

You have to travel back in time to find the last comprehensive national approach to mental health care in America. The mid-1800s and Dorothea Dix.

As with many great ideas, once we institutionalize them, something changes. Often lost is the vibrance and reason we decided to take action in the first place. The result: we de-institiionalizationed to reaffirm civility, humanity, and respect. The new options and results for many who visit us here are known and unsatisfactory. We were left with complaining that not enough was going done. Care had been lost.

Yet, when we looked around the world, and the United States, we found innovation everywhere. Practiced on a small scale. Serving a very well a small number of people. That’s why these solutions tend to work. They are small and manageable. Certainly, technology can help provide connection, but can we truly replace a live human being caring for another?

The problem is much greater than the our imaginations will allow. Scientific America (July 2017) blogged that studies in New Zealand, America, and Switzerland report that almost all of us are touched by what we label as mental illness. In most cases, it’s a temporary experience. Conservatively, somewhere in the range of 3 – 5%, the condition is permanent. Of this population, only 40% receive “treatment” in a medical and therapeutic sense.

The staggering figure, and, again, conservative, according to the principal investigator, is the number of caregivers of loved ones with a mental illness. It’s 8.4 million.

Our presentation described our answer. Grassroots, bottom-up, ordinary citizen caregiver thinking and acting.

Fairweather Lodge + Cohousing Community = Hope Family Village.

That’s oversimplifying a bit.

Riverside was our first presentation and they were generous with their feedback and ideas. The hospital exemplifies what we seek: Collaborators to join us in building options that are real and last long beyond us, the founding families.

Hope Family Village Achieves 501(c)3 Status

Welcome to Hope Family Village.

Hope Family Village is a community-centric collaborative, offering acceptance, housing, and sustainable support for people with mental health conditions and their families.  

Our first project, and an original reason for our creation: Develop an inclusive village, where 25 caregiving families and their loved ones. who endure serious mental illness, live on 25 acres. We imagine a center, a Common House, to congregate, meet, cook and share meals, recreate, otherwise care and support one another.

We imagine a pedestrian community, where neighbors look after neighbors. We imagine designing different types of living arrangements, dwelling units, from single family homes to small individual units. We imagine the inclusion of at least one Fairweather Lodge, within our community, for residents in recovery, living autonomously, with light coaching. We seek partnerships with the best organizations in healthcare, energy conservation, architecture, and development.

We have requested the set-aside of 50 acres, on a longterm renewable lease, from the Commonwealth of Virginia at Eastern State, neighboring Eastern State Hospital, to consider a first and second project.

Today, we have achieved an important milestone in our process, have an important announcement to make, and will be making more in the days ahead.

On October 23, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service determined Hope Family Village Corporation (Commonwealth of Virginia) was exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)3.

According to the correspondence, our organization is qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devices, transfers or gifts under sections 2055, 2106, or 2522.

The effective date of our exemption is June 14, 2017.

According to the IRS, we are classified as a public charity (170(b)(1)(A)()vi)

Our current officers are: W. Corey Trench, President (email:, Allen Whitehead, Secretary and Carmen Andreoli, Treasurer.

If you want to correspond with us by mail or support our mission, in some way, our address is: PO Box 982, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187.

Hope Family Village: Proud Fairweather Supporter

When you see organizations, like the Coalition for Community Living, and committed people being successful, it’s inspirational and motivational. We can see all that is possible.
There is hope for people who endure serious mental illness. Living options exist. Hope Family Village not only believes that, we already see our village at Eastern State, serving our community. Before that happens, we keep moving forward.

Ed Dawson
Former Lodge Coordinator
Board Member, The Coalition of Community Living
Click Ed’s Picture to See Film

Drew Darby is a senior in film and marketing at the College of William and Mary.  NAMI Williamsburg, because of donor Van Black (W&M, ’75), was able to commission a short video about Fairweather Lodge. Drew and a colleague came to film the workshop on Fairweather Lodge.

We thought that by filming the entire two-hour event (here) and making a short film that we could reach more people here in Virginia and elsewhere.

Here’s a link to Drew’s short film.

We should have hundreds of lodges in America. We’re starting one in Williamsburg. We have four prospects who meet weekly. Hope Family Village is in search of a home for them to live in, where they will share rent for their space. We are reaching out to and working with many organizations in our town to make this happen. House of Mercy and the Greater Williamsburg United Way, as examples.

Hope Family Village – 25 families living in neighborhood, on 25 acres, supporting one another is our concept. The community will employ the principles and practices developed in the over 180 established cohousing communities in North America. Our first village will feature at least one Fairweather Lodge as a living option.

33rd Annual Fairweather Lodge Conference

Welcome to Hope Family Village. Now incorporated, we continue to move forward on many fronts.

Scott, Corey, and Matt

In late September, Matt, Scott and I attended the 33rd Annual Fairweather Lodge Conference in Erie, PA. There were 100 participants.

Organized and hosted by Stairways Behavioral Health, we were treated to discussions of veterans lodges; taught how to write a haiku; given ideas for finding a job; and learned the importance of being active and socially

Matt and Scott (left) @ Stairways Behavioral Health’s Training Lodge
Erie, PA

engaged for brain health.

These conferences are incredibly inspirational. We meet other agencies from around the country, lodge coordinators, and lodge residents.

As we seek to establish a lodge in the Williamsburg area, we visited a training lodge operated by Stairways.

In the meantime, we created a “virtual lodge” together. The Williamsburg Fairweather Lodge meets weekly on Saturday mornings at a coffee shop. Weekly meetings is one of the fidelity standards for having a certified program.

Aside from reviewing our weeks, setting and monitoring goals, and planning the next week, we are working on having a meal together. From recipe to shopping, budgeting, serving … we’re having a meal together. Exciting stuff.

Welcome to Hope Family Village!

By now, many of you have received our business card. You are coming to see us for the first time.

My name is W. Corey Trench and, along with others, I am one of the co-founders of Hope Family Village (Williamsburg, VA). (Ed. 12/12/17: President, Director of Hope Family Corporation 501(c)3.) Until we have an official web site, you have been directed to this blog, where we have been sharing ideas, visits, information about this exciting new journey that we are on.

In the way of background, we have decided to create a village, where neighbors help neighbors. Only,  our village caters to caregiving and support for family members who endure mental illness. By design, we are an inclusive group.  We are ordinary families and their loved ones, and quite possibly people who want to live in a place of acceptance, where understanding, caring for and about mental health conditions is a top priority.

We began with 7 families. Stated meeting about once a month for dinner to keep getting to know each other, talk about the most recent projects. Our idea, which grew out of a brainstorming workshop staged by NAMI Mid-Tidewater (April 2016) was 25 families living together on 25 acres, with a  multi-purpose common house, pathways, gardens and recreational areas. The homes might be regular single family, or condos, and incorporate tiny homes (or small condos). Above all else, we would mutually support one other and be willing to help a neighbor.

Why Hope Family Village?

In 1955, nationwide, there were 340 public psychiatric beds/100,000 people. People could have their family members placed in a hospital like Eastern State Hospital for care, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Care included therapy, medication, and training to return to the outside world. Families resumed their lives, their loved ones were permanently housed.

Today, there are only 11 beds per 100,000; the same as in 1850. (Source: Treatment Advocacy Center). Walk-in, out-patient care or assisted living are currently the best available options.

Many families (8.4 million, avg. age 54)) struggle as the primary caregivers; the wait time for non-emergency psychiatric help is often 90 days or more. (See: On Pins and Needles; Caregivers for Adults with Mental Illness, 2016).

How we change the scenario is to bring families together, create a community for self-care and support. Neighbors helping neighbors. This leaves already strained government resources to cater to those who are truly stuck in a never-ending cycle of poverty. 

Where will the village be?

Ideally, we have proposed to co-locate ourselves adjacent to the Eastern State Hospital, on the 400 acres that the state has had for sale. This past April, we met with Virginia Senator Norment and Delegate Pogge to introduce our concept. They both found our approach a creative and interesting way of addressing housing and care from a grassroots perspective. For us, pursuing this location is both logical and compatible with the the existing use.

You could think of our village as nothing more than a neighborhood, where neighbors care for their neighbors. Currently, we all live in other neighborhoods, separated from one another, except when we see each other at NAMI functions, for example.

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a grassroots organization with members who offer care, conduct research, have family members with mental illness, and are people in recovery. There are 900 NAMI affiliates located around the country. NAMI educates, advocates, and supports.

How much will it cost?

Mason Business School of College of William and Mary has become a very important partner of ours. You will find a post here that describes a 6-month study they conducted. The outcomes of the project were numerous. The capital cost will largely depend on the cost of the property and the style of home. On the high end, our project consultants estimated $8.8 million (Update (12/17/17: Closer to $7 million, with a long-term property lease). The cost of the project falls dramatically if we consider employing homes that are not typical single family homes. There would also be monthly fees and pay-as-you go costs, as when we would share meals together at our common house.

We are early in the process and considering all options.

Importantly, we will be doing more work with the College, and working with the Alan B. Miller Center for Entrepreneurship to further develop the Hope Family Village business model and to identify key assumptions, test and measure their outcomes. Think of it as conducting small inexpensive experiments toward the realization of the full village. This project begins in August and will last for an academic year.

We are very excited about this and other connections and relationships that we are building.

Can I donate to this project?

Hope Family Village is now incorporated and has received its nonprofit status as a 501(c)3 with the IRS. (Updated 12/12/17) We have filed our documents with the Dept. of Agriculture and understand that, while approval is pending, we can solicit donations. Until we have a DONATE BUTTON, we received donations made out to: Hope Family Village, PO Box 982, Williamsburg, VA 23187.

(Previously, we accomplished projects and studies through NAMI Williamsburg. You can donate on-line or by mail. Some of our donors have indicated a preference to fund “the housing project”. We honor these requests.)


Hope Family Village Incorporates in Virginia

Hope Family Village has filed its application for incorporation in Virginia.

We have reserved several different web domain names. We have prepared the documentation for and applying for nonprofit status with the IRS. As soon as the Commonwealth approves our application, we file our papers with the IRS.

Our mission: Hope Family Village is a community-centric collaborative, offering acceptance, housing, and sustainable support for people with mental health conditions and their families. 

Fairweather Lodge Re-Visits Williamsburg

John Trepp (2nd from left), CEO of the Coalition for Community Living
facilitates discussion of Fairweather Lodge Residents (The Woodlands, Williamsburg, VA)

The Coalition for Community Living (CCL) returned to Williamsburg to give a presentation on Fairweather Lodge. This is the second time the board has come to town. This year they met at Colonial Williamsburg Woodlands Conference Center. The two-hour presentation was excellent. 

Audience for the three panel discussions

Longtime lodge residents of these homes were a crowd hit. They described their lives before and after joining a Fairweather lodge. (Currently, there are 60 lodges in operation around the country.) The audience was inspired by their stories. Who attended?  Local and state governmental leaders; NAMI affiliate families; peer and family support group attendees; W&M Business School; and the founding families of Hope Family Village.

W&M film students filmed the entire session. Here’s the link.

Afterward  we held a dinner, where residents, family members, community members were invited to get to know each other better. 

Hope Family Village plans to incorporate a lodge within their community design. Fairweather is a highly successful, research-based model and practice. We have been coordinating with CCL for two years now. Tremendously dedicated people work in this organization. If you are interested in knowing more, their next conference is in Erie, PA in September.

W&M MBA Completes Study for Hope Village

In August 2016, on behalf of our five families (from Williamsburg and Gloucester NAMI Affiliates), several of us (Tom Rideout and Allen Whitehead) put together a scope of work for an MBA Corporate Field Consultancy (CFC) Project with the College of William and Mary.

The Entire CFC Team

The project was extremely ambitious, but sought to have the 2nd year MBA candidate team become familiar with serious mental illness, needs of families and their loved ones, and cohousing, a form of neighborhood, then design a template for Hope Family Village, 25 families living on 25 acres on the Eastern State Hospital property that the state wants to sell.

The team was supported by two Executive Partners (former executive and senior management professionals) and a faculty advisor. All are pictured here. We thank them, from left to right: Issac Boateng, Pablo Otero, Petter Rapuzzi, Julie Campbell, Hayden Spencer, Brooke Waggoner, W. Corey Trench (the blogger, on behalf of an extensive client team), Chuck Owlett, and Kim Mallory.

What fantastic work they did. They worked very hard. We received three formal presentations from them and work products. The finale was mainly about economics. We were joined by 30 audience members, including NAMI families, United Way’s Home for Good Program, and Gateway Homes.

Now, we begin the work of design and development of this project. We seek stakeholders, more family participants, and funding sources. All will be much more realizable and sooner because of the work of this project team.

Best of luck with your future!! Your are going to change the world.

It’s Not A Hospital, Not a Medical Institution

Soteria is a home.

Explained in the piece is what people do when psychiatric hospitals are closed and there is no place left to go.

Hope Family Village is similar to Soteria Shelter Home in that we don’t have a place, yet. We meet monthly at a restaurant.

A W&M MBA Corporate Field Consultancy project team is researching and studying a co-housing approach and possible location for a project.

In this recent article (1/18/17), we see proposed legislation that responds to a constituency need to preserve home values and ensure neighborhood safety out of a fear for the arrival of a group home.

If one googles group homes, which are licensed by states, most newspapers articles will discuss the need for notification, regulation and oversight.  After reading them, it will become quickly apparent that living together in a home is rather difficult.

Moreover, does anyone want to live a neighborhood where they are under surveillance? Isn’t that what most of us want to avoid?

Sure, we want people to look out for us. We would want people to look out for each other. We would want to live in a neighborhood where we would do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

If we are closing permanent, chronic health care facilities, coming up with criteria for evaluating a group home, we leave no place to go, other than to live quietly in a family home, on the streets, or in jail.

Shelter is a basic human need. We must find it. Human connection and support is another basic need.  In all cases, if it is not provided, it must be created.