A ribbon-cutting for The Lotus Living, Rise Above Resilient Community, was held May 7 at the community's location in El Centro, paving the way for homeless college students to move in.
The Lotus Living community is the result of a partnership between the City of El Centro, Imperial Valley College and the Imperial Valley College Foundation. It consists of 26 tiny home units, assembled as a "tiny home village" for the use of Imperial Valley College students, with priority given to foster youth. Imperial Valley College estimates there are approximately 210 homeless students attending IVC.
The IVC Foundation celebrated the opening of the community with its annual foundation dinner May 13 on the site.
Since 2016, IVC has invested time, money, and hard work to ensure they remove barriers that perpetuate inequities on campus. The IVC campus serves as a beacon of hope for the Imperial Valley. The Lotus Living Community exemplifi es IVC's Basic Needs Initiative to provide preventative and sustainable solutions to housing insecurity and homelessness.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, ending homelessness became an even greater priority.
The State of California made $600 million available through the Homekey Program. Homekey is a statewide e ort to rapidly sustain and expand housing for persons experiencing homelessness and impacted by COVID-19.
The City of El Centro submitted a grant application and was one of 94 projects selected. The construction of the project was funded through $2.6 million from Homekey funds and $458,000 of Homeless Emergency Aid Program funds awarded by Imperial County through the Continuum of Care Council. Additionally, Enterprise nonprofit granted $524,114 for two years of operation costs.
Blue Shield of California awarded the funds to Enterprise, who then selected this project as a recipient.