A dream almost 10 years in the making has become reality for Mobile Hope of Loudoun, as the nonprofit unveiled plans to move into a large campus in Leesburg.
Mobile Hope began under the umbrella of Inova Loudoun Hospital in 2011, and branched off as its own nonprofit in 2014, with the goal of serving the often-unseen homeless or precariously housed youth in Loudoun County. In its early years, Mobile Hope was best known for its bus that it would drive around the county, giving out clothing and food donations to area youth, but the nonprofit has evolved to provide lodging and job training assistance, among other services, in addition to still operating its bus.
It’s been a years-long search to find a property that could house all of the nonprofit’s needs, from accommodating its large amount of donations and volunteer foot traffic, to providing space for its teens to train for work or recreational opportunities.
“We’ve been really hard to place,” CEO Donna Fortier admitted. “But now we’re right in the heart of Leesburg and we’re thrilled.”
Hope’s Village will be located at 302 Parker Court, a short walk to the historic downtown. It’s a central location to all of the nonprofit’s clients in the eastern and western parts of the county, and also nearby transit stops and the W&OD Trail, Fortier said.
The property contains six outbuildings behind the main building, which will all serve a purpose, Fortier said.
“One of the buildings will be our store. That’s always been kind of a training center for our kids, also so they can learn how to do retail, interact with clients. One building will be our trade school where they can learn and hopefully get certified on trades. One building will be our teen lounge that we currently have at our [Miller Drive] location but is very, very small and can only accommodate maybe three kids. The other outbuilding will be our gym and boxing ring. We have some professional boxers who want to come in and work with us to give the kids a better way to deal with anger and frustration, and get them in shape. And then we’ll have one of the other buildings be the welcome center and donation center, and where volunteers check in. The upstairs of the two-story brick building will be where our operations are,” Fortier said.
Lodging is not envisioned in the first phase of the project, but there is a parcel on the campus that is zoned for residential use that could be a potential down the road, she said.
In addition to the much-needed extra space, the new campus will also give Mobile Hope the opportunity to apply for some grants for which it has previously not been eligible. Expectations are to begin moving into the campus by mid-November, Fortier said.
The move comes at a time when, not surprisingly, the nonprofit is finding itself even more needed. Mobile Hope is serving around 50 individuals monthly aged 24 and younger, which is up since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The nonprofit also has served more than 132,000 area residents on its mobile bus since March.
“It’s humbling,” Fortier said of the new campus. “After even five years of just looking for space that would accommodate us, I think it just speaks volumes to the support we have in the community. But most important it is the impact that it gives to the kids. We’ve taken a bunch of the kids over to see [the new campus] and they’re overwhelmed with the potential of what can happen for them at this new place.”
For more information about Mobile Hope, go tomobilehopeloudoun.org.