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Developers seek tiny home development in Grants Pass

Riche Garza

A group of concerned citizens in Grants Pass are hoping to develop a vacant piece of property into transitional housing for the homeless, much like Hope Village does for Medford.

The vacant property is located at 802 SW Foundry St., across the street from the city's Sobering Center. A former attorney, two building contractors and a real estate broker, a so called "gang of four," teamed up to buy the property.

Right now the plan is to build about a hundred tiny home type residences to help the homeless get shelter. Grants Pass real estate broker John Jones hopes to close on the property next month.

"Our vision is transitional housing program much like the one in Medford," Jones said.

Jones said he wanted to get involved so he could sleep better at night like those he would help.

"My nana taught me to share," Jones said. "It's just that simple. I look at somebody that is in that kind of a fix and I think what can I do to help out?"

Long term the developers want to partner with Rogue Retreat who run Hope Village in Medford to possibly manage the Grants Pass property.

Matt Vorderstrasse, development director for Rogue Retreat, tells News 10 it's still in the planning stages, but they could support the operation, in some way, if and when it gets off the ground.

"We are in talks with a couple of groups about the potential about developing a village in Grants Pass. But nothing official yet," Vorderstrasse said.

Rogue Retreat operates 18 occupied tiny homes at its McAndrews Rd location which is expected to expand to 30 by April.

They also manage 34 apartments, three recovery homes with 20 beds and the Kelly Shelter that provides emergency sheltering for 50 people a night. "They're basically a storage building," Jones said. "Our's is a little more ambitious."

Jones said he hopes their version of the tiny home will include a bathroom, hot plate and a small refrigerator. He downplays criticism he's received that building the community will attract more homeless to the area or bring down housing values. "The research that I've been able to do.. it has no impact on property value," Jones said.

The need is great. According to recent figures, Josephine County found 654 people living on the street in 2017.

The homeless youth population is worse as this school year, Grants Pass School District No. 7 reported 513 homeless youths enrolled in the district.

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