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
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.email@example.com or (310) 543-0635.
Each year during the holiday giving season, HOPE is astounded by the generosity of our community. This year we launch our End-of-Year Giving Campaign with a goal set to raise more than $11K to support our mission of creating stable, affordable homes for people with developmental disabilities.
Donations made through our End-of-Year Giving Campaign will directly fund renovations at our newest property on Redondo Ave in Long Beach. These units are set to open in 2019 and will be home to seven people with developmental disabilities moving out of less-independent settings.
This campaign always offers community members several ways to support our mission. Starting in November, HOPE constituents will receive a letter and email from HOPE Board Member Kelly Sutton sharing her reasons for supporting our work and providing an opportunity to give.
Next up is #Giving Tuesday on November 22nd, which will provide donors with a way to give back online and through Facebook. #GivingTuesday is a day of philanthropic celebration taking place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. This event kicks off the charitable season when many people focus on their holiday giving and search for different ways to be generous. Remember to consider HOPE!
Finally, in early December, our HOPE Helps Gift Catalog will be emailed to donors to allow them the chance to choose a home gift item or renovation project to benefit our residents, while simultaneously honoring a loved one with a free personalized holiday card. Items can be selected that improve mobility for our residents (such as ADA sinks), support increased self-reliance (like washers & dryers), or assist with socialization (like patio furniture). We will send a complimentary card with every HOPE Helps Gift Catalog purchase you make to let your family and friends know about the special donation you gave in their name.
Give today and become a hero in the lives of our residents! Your contribution will directly empower HOPE to create more housing stability for our most vulnerable neighbors.
To access the many ways to support the End-of-Year Giving Campaign, click here.
On a clear, cool morning in Seal Beach, HOPE, Inc. welcomed more than 140 golfers and 55 sponsors to beautiful Old Ranch Country Club for its 11th Annual Charity Golf Classic. The yearly theme of this event is “Creating Independence,” and the 200K raised through the tournament goes directly to empowering people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) through housing to become valuable, contributing members of their communities.
It is the dream of many people with developmental disabilities to one day live with greater independence in an affordable home of their own. Unfortunately, the current housing market is not creating sufficient affordable housing to meet the needs of many Californians’ with low-to-moderate incomes. Today, an individual with I/DD earning minimum wage would be required to work 92 hours a week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent.
For eleven years, HOPE’s Charity Golf Classic has raised significant financial resources to address this issue in Los Angeles County. Titanium level sponsor California MENTOR contributed $15K alone to support this cause, while Ambitions California, City National Bank, Patricia Del Monico, Integrated Life, LRA Interpreters, and Social Vocational Services each contributed $10k to assist in creating future HOPE homes.
Tournament participant and current HOPE Board Member Robert Wasserman, of Wasserman Commercial Real Estate, said, “This is such a great event; I love supporting it every year.”
“The tournament makes such a great impact in the community and ends up being one of the best charity golf tournaments in the region,” he adds.
As the golf action concluded in the late afternoon, more than 80 additional guests from the philanthropic community arrived for the sold-out tournament dinner. This premier Southern California fundraising event offered attendees the chance to support HOPE’s mission through a silent auction and opportunity drawings for vacations to Pebble Beach, Carmel, and Palm Beach, as well as scores of other prizes. Due to the passionate support of these attendees, the “day-of” donations through these activities surpassed $25K alone.
Dinner corresponded with HOPE’s “Creating Independence” program where guests heard from HOPE Executive Director Kristin Martin as he shared organizational accomplishments from the previous year. These include the purchase of three new properties in Long Beach that will house 11 people with developmental disabilities and the completed renovation on two new 24-Hour Residential Care Homes in Carson that now serve six people with increased medical or behavioral needs.
Closing out the evening’s program was a speech by HOPE resident Eric Cline, who spoke to how his affordable College-to-Career home has given him the opportunity to succeed in school and life. “Living on your own is like riding a bike for the first time without training wheels,” he said. “At first you don’t think you can do it, but then once you start peddling on your own, you realize you can.” Eric spoke to how his HOPE housing serves as the foundation of his growing independence.
Since establishing this annual tournament, more than a decade ago, HOPE has raised $1.4M to create stable, affordable housing for people with developmental disabilities. Today, we operate more than 110 homes that serve more than 330 people with I/DD in Los Angeles County.
HOPE thanks its golfers, dinner attendees, sponsors, donors, and volunteers, who each year rally together to ensure this event has the greatest impact possible on the community.
If you are interested in supporting the mission of HOPE, please consider making a donation to our End-of-Year Giving Campaign at www.hope-homes.org.