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.
By Ian Nevarez | JUNE 26, 2019
LONG BEACH: We were deeply moved by the outpouring of support received at the grand opening of our newest homes on the 100 block of Redondo Avenue. Thank you to those in attendance, volunteers, and of course our many project partners. This day would not have happened without you.
This rehabilitated two-story, six-unit housing will be home to seven low-income adults with developmental disabilities. Funded with support from the City of Long Beach and the Long Beach Community Investment Company, on-site services will be made available to residents through Harbor Regional Center and Ambitions CA.
To learn more about this project and the housing needs of people with developmental disabilities, read this excellent article published in the Long Beach Post: Five-unit affordable housing complex for adults with disabilities to open
To find out more about our grand opening celebration and one of our newest residents, read the below article published in the Press-Telegram: Long Beach opens HOPE on Redondo, a new five-unit affordable complex for adults with special needs
With your support, HOPE will continue to pursue our important mission with a continued sense of urgency, passion, and integrity.
by IAN NEVAREZ
“People with developmental disabilities live everywhere,” says Kristin Martin, Executive Director of HOPE, Inc. “That’s why we are intentional in our strategy to create affordable housing options where they live, in as many unique communities as possible. So we are thrilled to be opening up our first homes in the historic Wilmore neighborhood of Long Beach.”
This new housing opens in summer 2019 and is located on Daisy Avenue less than one mile from downtown. The location, with convenient access to transportation and services, is ideal for HOPE residents. The property will be home to seven individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD), and was completed in partnership with Harbor Regional Center, Long Beach Development Services, the Long Beach Community Investment Company, and California MENTOR. The site consists of five units that will serve seven residents, while one unit is reserved as an office for supported living services staff.
These homes are being made available for individuals who desire to live more independently than their current housing arrangement. This will mean that adults who are currently living with their aging parents, in 24-hour residential care group homes, or in other types of state-run institutions, will have the opportunity to live with greater self-reliance.
There is an urgency to build more of this type of housing. A recent survey of 102 people with I/DD, conducted by the State Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Lanterman Housing Alliance, found that 85% of respondents living with their parents reported a desire to live independently alone or with roommates. These individuals reported limited finances, lack of affordable housing options, and lack of accessible housing as the barriers to their ability to achieve these housing goals. If that percentage is reflective of a larger desire in this population, the units needed to meet demand throughout the state could be in the tens of thousands.
As was mentioned, this new HOPE housing is located in the Willmore City historic district, which was first developed by early city pioneer William E. Willmore in the late 19th century from a subdivision of Rancho Los Cerritos. It is the site of the original township of Willmore City and contains Drake Park named for Colonel Charles Rivers Drake, developer of the Pike amusement complex and the Knoll Park housing development. Part of this area became a historic district—Long Beach’s first—in 1978; since then the residents have been preserving and protecting it. The entire neighborhood now enjoys the protection of the historic designation.
As a now proud member of this community, HOPE made certain that the entirety of our renovation plan conformed to the neighborhood’s historic preservation guidelines. Here is a link to the districts website (https://willmorecity.org/). During the renovation process, HOPE preserved the porches on all units, the columns on the front of the main house, the wood siding on all three units, the stairways, wooden windows, wooden fencing, concrete pathways and the exterior tri-color scheme.
With renovations completed in mid-April, resident interviews were coordinated immediately by California MENTOR. California MENTOR is a nonprofit organization with the mission to offer adults innovative, quality services and supports that lead to growth and independence, regardless of the physical, intellectual or behavioral challenges they face. Moving forward, they will be onsite during work days to provide the needed supported living services for HOPE’s newest residents on Daisy Ave.
This type of housing is so important for the security and quality of life of people with I/DD. Like current HOPE resident, Jody, who in the past bounced around between different expensive housing options and feared that she would never find a safe, stable, long-term home that was affordable. Her parents confessed that they were concerned for their daughter and not certain what Jody would do once they were no longer able to take care of her. Luckily she found HOPE and has been a tenant with our organization for more than 20 years. “I never thought I would live in such nice housing,” says Jody, “and it’s actually affordable.”
Additional collaborators on this project include, First Republic Bank, Dilworth Construction, real estate agent Todd McIntosh, Appleby Property Management, Gonzalez Construction, and architects Brad Fowers and Brian Noteware. Finally, the Long Beach Water department in February completed an installation of a new drought-tolerant landscape in the front yard. This garden was a generous donation through their DIG program. HOPE is always looking for ways to utilize sustainable housing practices and asset management in our portfolio.
To support HOPE’s ambitious goal to house 250 additional people with developmental disabilities by 2025, please contribute here.
by Ian Nevarez
HOPE knows that living an ordinary, independent life is a primary goal for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Housing plays an enormous role in achieving that objective, but how can someone afford a home in this challenging real estate market without a job? If HOPE truly wants to be a part of the solution, then we also must prioritize creating employment opportunities for this population. That is why, in 2016, we started a contract with the landscaping arm of Social Vocation Services (SVS), a statewide service provider for people with I/DD.
SVS was founded in 1977 as a small after-school program for teenagers with autism. Since its establishment, SVS has grown to serve over 4,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout California. They offer a wide variety of services to meet the needs and interests of a diverse population, from day programs, work programs, and licensed group homes. Their landscaping business has been operating for nearly 20 years while providing jobs and personal growth opportunities for people with I/DD.
The current employment rate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in California lags far behind the rate for those without disabilities, as well as the rate for people with all other types of disabilities. While a majority of people with I/DD desire to work, the State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) reports that during the past decade, little more than 13% of this population has been employed.1 Despite efforts to enhance employment opportunities, substantial barriers to accessing gainful employment still persist for a majority of these individuals.
This reality has a significant impact on the ability of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to afford homes. Currently, 8 out of 10 people with I/DD must rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to support themselves. A typical SSI payment is around $900 a month or $10,800 a year. SSI-level income is less than 20% of the area median income for Los Angeles County and below the 2019 federal poverty line of $12,490. 2 According to the 2014 Half in Ten Report from the Center for American Progress, 28.4% of adults with disabilities live in poverty, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities represent 16% of all adults living in poverty.
Housing is generally considered affordable when the rent or mortgage is no more than thirty percent of a person’s income. For a people living on a $900 a month SSI payment, affordability would translate to no more than $270 a month. Rents at this level are nonexistent in Los Angeles County. In fact, in Los Angeles, an average one-bedroom apartment rents for $1,360 and is five times more than what a person living on SSI can afford. 3
Jobs are vital to addressing this issue for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The SVS Downey Community Inclusion Services gardening group is just one example of the wide variety of work opportunities SVS offers their clients statewide. In order to be employed by SVS as a landscaper, candidates must demonstrate safety awareness skills and the ability to operate gardening equipment such as lawnmowers, edgers, or weed and hedge trimmers.
HOPE will be looking for ways to further expand our use of their excellent services.
Employees of this service take pride in their work. They are very detail oriented and guarantee a beautifully landscaped yard every time. HOPE can attest that they genuinely care about us as customers and the lawns and gardens they service.
When a person with an intellectual or developmental disability is given the opportunity to work, they benefit in more ways than just receiving a paycheck. There is pride in being able to contribute financially to their independence, a chance to make friends, and an overall ability to stay active and feel useful. “There’s a lot to do,” employee Ignacio M. says, “It keeps me busy. I like to use the lawnmower!”
Because of our donors, volunteers, and advocates, HOPE can pursue our mission of creating stable, affordable homes for people with developmental disabilities, while never losing track of why we do what we do. With your support, HOPE will continue to keep our values front and center as we create independence, choice, and dignity through housing for this valuable segment of our community.
1California State Council on Developmental Disabilities, https://scdd.ca.gov/ca_empl_rate/#.XNmilRRKhhE.
2U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2018), Poverty Guidelines. https://aspe.hhs.gov/2019-poverty-guidelines.
3Apartment List (April, 2019), Rent Report Los Angeles. https://www.apartmentlist.com/ca/los-angeles#rent-report
At HOPE, we know that your attention and energy is divided among so many priorities. Family, work, and social obligations can leave little time to consider additional community needs. So it is moving that at the end of each year HOPE donors take a moment to reflect on our mission and make the decision to support our work.
Thanks to you, HOPE had a busy 2018, reflected in our purchase of eight new housing locations in Long Beach and Torrance that now serve 34 people with I/DD. These homes change lives. To cap off this impactful year, our End-of-Year Giving Campaign raised more than $7,200 to continue propelling our mission forward in 2019.
Recently HOPE received a letter from one of our newest residents. His sentiment spoke to the importance of these donations that allow us to acquire, renovate, and create homes for future tenants:
“I would just like to thank any and all responsible that worked on getting me my own apartment. It’s been a long journey, but I am now beginning a new chapter in my life and I couldn’t have done it without HOPE.” - Scott
HOPE appreciates each and every one of you who contributed to our End-of-Year Giving Campaign, as well as those who gave in other ways throughout the year. You helped finish Scott’s journey to find stable, affordable housing.
It’s not too late to support the creation of future HOPE homes through our End-of-Year Giving Campaign. Make a gift here today!
The success of HOPE’s mission relies upon the community’s belief in our cause and their subsequent direct financial support for our work. This was exemplified in 2018 by two generous groups of benefactors who hosted events for their friends, families, and colleagues to raise money to empower HOPE to continue the work of acquiring and renovating stable, affordable housing for those we serve. These benefactors are members of HOPE’s Ambassadors 5 Circle: an engaged, activated, and excited group of donors who have each given $5,000 or more as vital support for HOPE.
A huge thank you goes out to Ricardo and Minnie Banos who hosted a tea party at their home on June 2nd and Sindee Smolowitz and Peggy Eaton who hosted Sindee’s birthday party at their home on August 26th. Each of these special occasions was specifically planned to benefit HOPE. Combined they raised more than $25K for our mission. We applaud Ricardo, Minnie, Mercedes Lowery, Sindee Smolowitz and Peggy Eaton on their creativity in organizing these unique opportunities for their communities to contribute to our cause.
The Banos’ afternoon event in Cypress was a lively high-tea and cocktail party that extended into the evening when dinner was served. There were more than 50 guests in attendance, and the festivities included a silent auction and raffle. At the end of the night, Minnie, Ricardo and Mercedes directly asked those in attendance to consider a gift to HOPE.
Sindee Smolowitz’s Birthday Party was hosted in the home she shares with her wife Peggy Eaton in Long Beach. Food was served casually by a vendor who prepared Mexican cuisine, including tacos. There were 40 guests in attendance to celebrate with Sindee and support our work. This casual outdoor event lasted into the evening when Sindee made a special appeal to her friends to donate to HOPE in lieu of a birthday gift.
These hosts were so generous that they also donated the food and beverages for their events so that HOPE would receive the full proceeds without a single expense to our organization. We are so lucky to have such warm and thoughtful benefactors. The donations received from these and other events in 2018 will directly go toward initiatives, such as the completion of the renovations at HOPE’s most recently purchased building in Long Beach. Starting in 2019, this new HOPE location will be home to seven residents with developmental disabilities. Thank you to all of our donors who helped to may this year such a success.
If you are interested in supporting HOPE by hosting a benefit event. Please contact Manager of Donor Relations Jennifer Byram at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 543-0635.