St. Croix Valley Hope House provides more than just a home for individuals living with HIV.
For 25 years, Hope House has been providing love, support, and shelter to people with HIV diagnoses. As a nonprofit organization, Hope House is focusing and serving the community and providing a safe and happy home for those living with HIV. So far, Hope House has been able to serve 86 clients from all walks of life. Of these, 75 percent have been male who face a serious risk of homelessness without the support of Hope House.
“Hope House provides a home for individuals with HIV who can no longer live independently. The alternative for many of our residents would be homelessness or living in another, less independent institution such as a nursing home,” says Hope House Executive Director Bill Tiedemann.
Tiedemann says Hope House is also a cost effective alternative to traditional nursing homes, and it includes many more health care services tailored to people living with HIV.
In 1991, Hope House was founded by Teresa and Casey VanderBent along with a task force of seven founding members with the mission of providing a nonjudgmental home with compassionate care for everyone living with HIV.
When Hope House first started, the VanderBents say they did not receive community support. Instead, they were sent hate mail and their children received threats. To combat the negativity, the VanderBents found a safe haven in the ecumenical community, where they were endorsed by different congregations.
From there, they were able to get a house, funding, volunteers, and a sense of trust within the broader community. In 1993, Hope House welcomed home its first client.
While Hope House focuses on serving clients living with HIV, its residents are also working through a variety of other ailments, from Hepatitis C to drug addiction. Hope House recognizes that HIV and other health struggles often go hand-in-hand, and they have the resources, time, and respect to help its clients overcome whatever obstacles they might be facing.
Located in Stillwater, Hope House has become a fixture in the community over the past 25 years. Tiedemann says they pride themselves on being able to provide an environment filled with love, dignity, and respect, which he says are core values that we all deserve.
“We have a reputation to be proud of, and our founders helped create that,” he says.
On Dec. 3, 2018, Hope House celebrated 25 years since the day it welcomed its first client by hosting a dinner for its current clients. In spring 2019, Tiedemann says Hope House will open the celebration to its founders and community members by unveiling its strategic direction for the next three to five years and introducing the “Hope House heroes”, the individuals who made Hope House what it is today.
“Hope House is a transformative place where are clients restore faith in themselves and hope for the future,” Tiedemann says.
Hope House hires staff members and volunteers, and it accepts donations and advocacy support from community members who are interested in getting involved with the organization.
For more information about Hope House, visit hopehousescv.org.