We go into their home and we teach them how to cook, budget and shop. We teach them how to launder their clothes. We teach them how to take the bus, and how to get back and forth to different things in the community.
I think personally it would give me a great feeling to know that Beth had a place she could call her home long after we were gone -- and I know that is true of other parents that we know.
The neatest thing about living in my own place is cause I love it here... I can do things on my own.
My dream was always living in a house and I got that dream, and I made that dream come true.
I really like it. This is the best place I ever lived, and my Dad was so happy when we found out about this program and found this place.
Many adults with mild to moderate developmental disabilities have the capability and desire to work. Just like anyone, they strive for respect and they aspire to live as independently as possible. Despite these desires and abilities, many remain unemployed or underemployed in today’s economy. HOPE wants to be a catalyst in changing this reality.
In partnership with the forward thinking venture, Urban Edge Gardening Services, HOPE is now helping to employ members of this important segment of our community. Founded in April of 2016, Urban Edge is coordinated by Diverse Journeys, a 501(c)3 public charity. Speaking on the origins of this entrepreneurial enterprise, Executive Director Amanda Gerhardt explained, “Our goal was to develop a small business that was owned and operated by regional center clients. This business model provides real work experience, real business ownership, and the clients are earning real paychecks.”
For HOPE and Diverse Journeys, implementing a model that includes hiring adults with developmental disabilities is not simply out of a charitable spirit. We also understand the research that points directly to the many clear benefits of employing these ready and willing workers.
In the article “The Employer's Perception: Employment of individuals with developmental disabilities,” published in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, the authors, Robert Morgan and Melina Alexander, found that companies identified several advantages to employing from this population at a higher rate. “The most frequently identified advantages were consistent attendance, workforce diversity, long-term employment, and co-worker partnerships.”
Currently, Urban Edge Gardening Services has two teams made up of three clients each. And the business owners are Westside Regional Center clients who reside in Diverse Journey’s Family Teaching Homes. One currentUrban Edge employee, who requested to remain anonymous, shared his feelings about this new job, "I really enjoy getting up and going to work every day; I get excited when I get my paycheck." And we can all relate to the increased peace of mind that comes with stable employment.
HOPE is happy to announce that for the past 10 months we have received outstanding service through Urban Edge at five of our properties in Los Angeles and Hawthorne. Due to this successful partnership, we are looking into additional ways we can employ and contract with firms that prioritize hiring adults with developmental disabilities in the future.
We couldn’t continue our mission without the support of our community. To assist HOPE in covering our operational expenses, like renovations, property management, and landscaping of our more than 80 homes, make a donation today.
HOPE and its donors desire to empower young adults with developmental disabilities to attend college as a means to achieving their personal, academic, and professional goals. In an effort to increase our capacity to meet this objective, in 2016 HOPE purchased its newest College-to-Career (C2C) building for $1.6M with internal equity and financing through First Republic Bank.
The C2C program launched in 2010 as a collaboration between Harbor Regional Center, California MENTOR, HOPE, and Long Beach City College (LBCC). It was designed to offer dorm-like housing near campus for students with special needs.
This new location, off of Clark Avenue in the Lakewood Village neighborhood of Long Beach, sits on a 17,000+ square foot lot that is a mere ½ mile walk from LBCC. This property’s charming courtyard layout includes two adjacent buildings that total eight units of housing. It will ultimately be home to 14 additional students, with one unit reserved as an onsite staff office.
Students enrolled in this program will receive a full range of both on-campus and residential supports. Staff members are available onsite and on campus, to provide additional academic counseling and assistance with independent living skills.
Dilworth Construction began renovations in the summer of 2016 when property improvements were ordered on the scale of more than $21K per unit. HOPE would like to offer a big thank you to California Mentor for partnering with us and providing $50K toward rehabilitation that has totaled more than $172K.
These property enhancements include new interior paint, kitchen cabinets, countertops, sinks, faucets, flooring, light fixtures, exterior paint, and landscaping. Plumbing and electrical elements were replaced as needed, and interior water heaters were relocated outside to open up additional kitchen space.
Beginning in December, new residents started moving into the building as each unit’s rehabilitation was completed. The construction phase of this project will be finished in March, just in time to allow the final group of new C2C students to move in during the spring semester.
Creating this much needed housing would not have been possible without financial support from our donors and community partners. HOPE wishes to offer a special thank you to Lennar Charitable Housing Foundation that contributed $10K and US Bank Foundation that contributed $5K toward renovations. Also, we must offer a final thank you to California Mentor that, beyond their generous contributions to the construction costs of this property, also furnished beds, dressers, tables, chairs, couches, and appliances for each unit.
With renovations near completion, a grand opening celebration for our newest C2C location will be scheduled for mid-May. Please consider joining us at this event as a very special naming ceremony will be held to honor two longtime benefactors of HOPE, Colleen Mock and Mercedes Lowery. We are certain that this housing will serve as a solid foundation for its residents to accomplish their academic goals and begin their journey toward adulthood.
If you are interested in supporting our C2C program and would like to help fund future HOPE homes, please consider purchasing an engraved brick through our Pave it Forward campaign here. Your donation will create a lasting memory of your support for HOPE’s mission
At HOPE we direct our focus on the people we serve, their diverse housing needs, and the differing supports they utilize to live full, active, and meaningful lives. For those most vulnerable in our communities, adults with severe behavioral and medical conditions, HOPE offers an alternative to state run institutions.
In partnership with the Regional Center System, families, and a network of service providers, HOPE has worked tirelessly to create homes with greater choice, dignity, and meaningful opportunity for our residents. This is evident in our commitment to creating new licensed homes that are located not in hospital settings, but in neighborhoods. This model creates the most inclusive community environment possible for our residents.
To this end we are ecstatic to announce that over the past six months we were able to acquire six new homes that will include with 24-hour resident care for adults with increased behavioral and medical needs. The California Department of Developmental Services requires that home care organizations be licensed either through the California Department of Social Services to provide 24-hour non-medical residential care (e.g., personal services, supervision, and assistance essential for self-protection and sustaining activities of daily living) or through the California Department of Public Health to provide 24-hour medical care (e.g., habilitative, supportive health, and nursing services).
Darcy Farias, a program director at California Mentor, currently works at a HOPE licensed home that serves medically fragile individuals. “Our residents come from huge state-run developmental centers. Those facilities have hundreds of rooms where in the past our tenants lived in bedrooms with five or six other individuals.” This is in contrast with a HOPE home where each resident is given her/his own room. For many ex-developmental center clients, this may be the first time they have experienced privacy in their personal bedroom. “When a new client moves into HOPE, we make sure it feels like a home. We don't ever want to make it seem like a hospital.”
Darcy sees the big picture impact that HOPE housing makes on the lives of those living with new found respect, support, and choice. “Of course our primary focus is our residents’ health,” Darcy continues, “But our secondary priority is making sure they get out in the community. Recently we took one of our residents to the beach. At first when we arrived, he didn't know what it was. He was so excited to find out that he was actually at the beach for the first time. Stories like that are the reason I’m here today.”
This type of supported living environment at HOPE is creating dramatic behavioral and health improvements for our residents. After being integrated into a neighborhood and receiving needed individualized supports, some of these adults have even started walking for the first time or talking for the first time.
These new homes were made possible in part by our donors, foundation grantors, community lenders, city partners, and the California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA). As California is facing an affordable housing crisis, funding is scarce to develop homes for those most vulnerable in our society. In spite of what might seem to our industry like an upward climb, HOPE and our donors continue to identify creative funding solutions to further our mission.
One such creative avenue of funding was identified by capitalizing on recent research that finds housing to be a major determinant of public health. “CHFFA begun to consider affordable housing agencies as potential partners in their mission to promote community health,” says HOPE Manager of Finance and Operations Charles DeCuir. “Through their Health Expansion Loan Program II, they have allowed HOPE to obtain the lowest interest rate in our portfolio.” This is a huge step forward for HOPE that used this financing to purchase three of our newest licensed homes.
This type of creative financing is essential for HOPE to continue our mission during this time shrinking resources and growing need. The heavy demand for our housing is confirmed by HOPE’s lengthening wait list and the recently published 2016 homeless count, coordinated by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Their research found 1,483 people with developmental disabilities living in the streets of our county.
With the purchase of our six newest licensed homes: three in Carson, two in Long Beach, and one in Wilmington, we will be able to provide a home to 20 additional adults with special needs. Renovation plans are currently underway to prepare these homes for these future residents, but we are more excited about the improvements to the quality of life that they will receive through HOPE.
We are continually inspired by our residents. On a daily basis they strive for greater self-reliance, achieve dignity through the contributions they make in their communities, and endeavor to take full advantage of all that life has to offer. Because of donor support, our homes play a part in empowering this reality. Housing is foundational, and if together we can provide stability where our residents live, they in turn will be able to focus their energies on improving their health, enhancing their behavioral wellbeing, or achieving greater self-reliance.
To assist HOPE in creating additional homes with 24-hour residential care for those most vulnerable, join our sustain gift program, Mission Makers. For as little as $10 per month you can make a statement that safe, stable housing is foundational in lives of adults with developmental disabilities.
HOPE is thrilled to announce that during the previous two months we were awarded $75,000 from the S. Mark Taper Foundation, $10,000 from the Bank of the West Foundation, and $5,000 from the U.S. Bank Foundation.
As public resources become increasingly scarce to address the shortage of affordable housing in our state, HOPE has relied on community partners to sustain our mission of creating safe, stable, and affordable homes for adults with developmental disabilities. We cannot express enough how grateful we are for these community partners: individual donors, corporate sponsors, foundations, regional centers and cities, who over the years have contributed to our cause’s success.
Foundations are special amongst our community partners though. Throughout the years, they have continued to provide a steady stream of funding specific to grow internal capacity, push innovation, and expand programing. For this, we thank them and offer a special recognition of our three most recent grantors.
S. Mark Taper Foundation, assisting HOPE since 1999, is a private family foundation dedicated to enhancing the quality of people's lives by supporting nonprofit organizations and their work in our communities. Their most recent grant to HOPE, in December for $75,000, will go toward renovating two of our most unique housing projects in Long Beach. Our Daisy location includes four small bungalows on a beautiful lot centered in the historic Willmore neighborhood. This housing will eventually serve eight people with intensive behavioral needs in a new supported living environment. Our Banner property on the other hand, with its new On My Own program, will serve seven adults who are ready to move from their families’ homes and into their very first apartments. “We are so happy to have the continued trust of S. Mark Taper Foundation,” said Kristin Martin, Executive Director of HOPE. “There is a real shortage of this type of specialized housing for adults with different levels of support needs. And this funding couldn’t have come at a better time as we finalize our renovations on these two exciting projects.”
In January we also received $10,000 from Bank of the West Foundation. These funds will be used to perform renovations at a HOPE home in our northeast service area. This grant is our first with Bank of the West Foundation whose mission is to help meet the needs of the communities they serve by supporting nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving quality of life, particularly for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities. We are optimistic that this is just the beginning of a sustained and impactful relationship.
Finally, the U.S. Bank Foundation awarded HOPE $5,000 in January to assist with the renovations at our newest College-to-Career housing in Long Beach off of Clark Avenue. U.S. Bank Foundation has been a partner with our organization since 2010, and their ongoing contributions to our cause mean so much to our team and ultimately our tenants. Their mission is to support nonprofit organizations that assist with workforce education and economic prosperity, neighborhood stability and revitalization, and arts and culture.
HOPE wishes to express our highest level of appreciation for these foundations and their dedication to making lasting, positive change in their communities. Together we are creating independence, choice, and dignity through affordable housing for those most vulnerable in our society.
If you know of a contact at a foundation that funds community development, affordable housing, or services for people with developmental disabilities, please contact Jennifer Byram at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org. Your introduction could be instrumental in securing funding to create HOPE’s next home!
One size does not fit all when it comes to housing. This is also true for people with developmental disabilities, a segment of the population that has been historically underserved with living options. For this reason, our organization offers several housing models: licensed homes, for those that require 24-hour medical or behavioral care; affordable homes, for those who are more self-reliant; and college to career housing, for students enrolled in community college but who require additional on-campus and residential supports.
HOPE believes a home should not just be a roof over our tenants’ heads; it should also empower them to make the most of their lives. And different people need different supports to reach their full potential and take advantage of all the opportunities that life has to offer.
One common concern of parents of young adults with developmental disabilities is the need for support in assisting their children as they prepare to move out on their own.
That is why HOPE is partnering with SL Start and Harbor Regional Center as they launch their newest supported living program, aptly titled, "On My Own." Beginning in February of 2017, this model will serve seven adults who are ready to move from their families’ homes and into their very first apartments. Residents will each receive their own one-bedroom unit in a recently renovated multifamily building. A staff office will be located onsite, with personnel available to provide ongoing supported living services as needed. This innovative model not only creates increased independence, but also peace of mind for both our residents and their families.
HOPE acquired the location in early 2016 with a vision of this program in mind. “The collaboration between agencies aims to provide housing plus the needed individualized levels of support for each resident as they move toward greater independence,” said Executive Director Kristin Martin. “Harbor Regional Center is at the forefront of creating housing programs that best serve the unique needs of their clients. We are excited as ever to play our role in assisting our newest residents find success during this important stage of their lives.”
The site is a beautiful eight-unit property at the heart of the Bixby Knolls neighborhood in Long Beach. Originally constructed in 1947, and maintaining much of its historic charm, the building has also been rehabilitated to improve safety and comfortability for future tenants. A special thank you should be given to the City of Long Beach for partnering with HOPE on the purchase of this much needed affordable housing by contributing more than $500K toward the purchase of the $1.6M residence.
Our first tenants began moving in on February 3rd as Associate Director, Denise Fanelli, was on site to welcome them to the HOPE family and distribute house keys. “It was great to see the excitement on their faces and their families there to support them as they start this next phase of their lives,” she said.
To add fanfare to this unique housing project, one of the new residents is none other than Cristina Sanz, star of the Emmy Award winning, A&E original docuseries, Born this Way. The show highlights the outgoing personalities and amazing abilities of seven young adults born with Down syndrome.
HOPE has followed along with the rest of America as we watched Christina build relationships, overcome challenges, and venture further toward independence, stability, and happiness. We are glad our newest housing program can play a role in her journey.
This show is an empowering opportunity for all people of differing abilities to witness a HOPE tenant on television successfully moving toward greater self-reliance. Filming began for the new season of Born this Way on Saturday, November 18th. More to come on her story this summer on A&E!
If you would like to sponsor an item for an On My Own or other HOPE residents that will help to turn their houses into homes, please consider making a contribution through our HOPE HELPS Gift Catalog.