Van Raden Facebook groupExciting news for the chemically sensitive community! Last week James Van Raden, a general contractor/developer from Fargo, North Dakota appeared on to announce his interest in tackling the housing crisis of the chemically sensitive. Van Raden’s Facebook profile is Buildin Impressions. After joining various Facebook groups focused on environmental illness/chemical sensitivity and “friending” many “MCSers,” Van Raden created his own Facebook group called Building the perfect MCS / EI houses and developments to start a conversation with the community in order to learn more about our needs for safe housing. Within two days of forming the group, over 200 people joined and started contributing to this very important dialogue.

Van Raden admits that he has no personal experience with chemical sensitivity and is in the learning process right now. But he emphatically states that he believes the illness is real (i.e. physiological and not psychological) and that he thinks people with chemical sensitivity deserve housing options that allow them not just to survive, but to thrive (exactly our motto here at Planet Thrive!).

Van Raden’s youthful enthusiasm (he is only 35 years old) is contagious. With an awareness that our community is mostly indigent — made up of individuals without personal finances to build a custom home let alone pay a high rent — he appears to strongly believe that there are green (and other) initiatives available through the government and private investors that he can access to fund future chemical free housing communities.

While there is a long road from here to there, we at Planet Thrive want to support Van Raden in this initial information-gathering stage and encourage all members of the chemically sensitive community to join his Facebook group, whether or not you are in need of safer housing currently. At the very least, here is a chance for us to demonstrate a very loud and clear need for solutions to our growing housing crisis. Facebook is a great platform to get noticed by the outside world, and Van Raden’s group provides a central discussion forum to share housing requirements and wishlists. join the conversation

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