History and Experience Serving the Community
Founded in 1994, HOPE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission “is to create stable, affordable housing options for people with developmental disabilities.” A development disability includes autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and intellectual disability. People diagnosed with one of these conditions can receive services through the State of California Regional Center system. There are 21 Regional Center throughout the State of California which provide case management and support services to over a quarter of a million Californians. To learn more about the Regional Center system and the services provided go to www.dds.ca.gov.
HOPE was established by the Harbor Regional Center (HRC) in Torrance and a group of South Bay parents and concerned friends who believed that all persons, no matter the severity of their disability, have the right to live in and be part of the community and to live where and with whom they choose. HOPE, Inc. is the result of a few very special parents and dedicated community volunteers working with Harbor Regional Center to address the issue of a shortage of affordable rental housing. The shortage made, and continues to make, finding a place to live in a decent, safe neighborhood very difficult. HOPE’s goal is to give persons with developmental disabilities a chance to be successful on their own without having to pay the high cost of market rents. As a non-profit housing organization developer of affordable housing for persons with developmental disabilities, HOPE endeavors to provide stable, affordable housing that is not dependent on changes in the surrounding housing market conditions.
HOPE owns over forty independent living properties that include single family homes, condominiums, and small multi-family properties in Los Angeles County. In our independent living properties, HOPE’s tenants pay rent that is no more than 30% of their income. HOPE has an applicant list of over one hundred and fifty additional people who want the opportunity to live independently in a HOPE owned property.
As a developer of housing for persons with developmental disabilities for nearly twenty years, HOPE has been able to facilitate accelerated growth in its independent living housing model through a variety of innovative concepts and lending programs. In 1995, HOPE purchased its first two properties in Bellflower and Lakewood from the State of California Housing and Community Development (HCD), and then ten more properties from 1997-2001 with grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HOPE has purchased properties through Federal, State, and County of Los Angeles, City of Industry Fund housing programs, and private foundations, cities, and fundraising sources. HOPE is a certified CHDO (Community Housing Development Organization) in the cities of Bellflower, Norwalk, and South Gate qualifying HOPE for both acquisition and rehabilitation funding.
HOPE has approached housing development by accessing multiple funding sources. For example, HOPE developed an independent living housing triplex property in Bellflower with $550,000 in CHDO funds. Additional rehabilitation funding for the project was accessed from private foundations in Los Angeles such as Ahmanson, Ralph M. Parsons, John Gogian Family Foundation, and corporations such as City National Bank and the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers Association. In 2006, HOPE purchased and rehabilitated a single family home in the City of Norwalk with $532,000 in CHDO funds. HOPE has worked with the City of Long Beach Non-Profit Assistance Program (NAP) on three grants for rehabilitation on the Bacarro, Euclid, and Clark properties. Accommodations for non-ambulatory individuals were made in kitchens and bathrooms. In 2010-12, HOPE has accessed funds from the Residential Rehabilitation grant program to make improvements to the exterior of the Clark, Barcaro, Euclid, Ximeno properties in Long Beach. In 2013, HOPE purchased a three bedroom condominium in Long Beach housing three men with developmental disabilities with net proceeds from the sale of several condominiums in Torrance.
In 2012-13, HOPE conducted a major remodeling project at six of its independent living properties in Long Beach with private foundation grants in the amount of $260,000 from the Ahmanson, Rose Hills, S. Mark Taper, Union Bank, US Bank, and Bess J. Hodges Foundation. HOPE replaced old wooden windows with energy efficient, dual glazed type, and restored vinyl floors with ceramic tile at all six properties. A complete remodel was done at two duplexes that included remodeling the kitchens and bathrooms, installing on onsite laundry area with washer/dryers, and replacing old wall heaters with central heat and air. At one property, the roof was replaced. HOPE is preparing to commence work on three additional properties in Long Beach with completion scheduled for fall, 2014.
24-Hour Residential Care
When residential service providers terminate the residential service, people with developmental disabilities may lose their home and the state of California loses its investment in the associated real estate. The developmental disabilities system made a shift in public policy that invests in housing assets through the partnership of the regional centers and an associated non-profit housing agency, like HOPE. This will ensure that the real estate is purchased once and permanently stays in the developmental disabilities system.
Since 2008 HOPE has been engaged in developing permanent, sustainable housing through our 24-hour residential care homes. HOPE purchases single family properties and leases them to licensed service providers who provide on-site support services to individuals with developmental disabilities. To date, HOPE has developed over 60 properties in this model. The majority of the individuals who reside in these homes previously lived at a State Developmental Center (SDC). HOPE expanded this model by partnering with four Regional Centers: Harbor, North Los Angeles County, Lanterman and Westside. HOPE’s development efforts were recognized by the award of a $483,000 contract by the City of South Gate, with the use of CHDO funds, to develop two permanent, sustainable properties. The funds to develop one of the two homes in the City of South Gate are matched with Community Placement Plan (CPP) housing funds from the State of California, Department of Developmental Services.
College to Career
In 2010, HOPE began a partnership to provide housing for students in the College to Career (C2C) program that allows community college students with a developmental disability the opportunity to experience a college living experience close to campus. A variety of support services are available from Long Beach Community College and California MENTOR to meet the students’ academic and independent living needs. HOPE now owns thre sites for the C2C program in Long Beach with a combined capacity to house 14 students. The Weingart Foundation provided a $100,000 grant to purchase and rehabilitate one of the sites, a five-unit apartment building.
Looking to the Future
The need for affordable and permanent housing continues to be an urgent need for Southern Californians with a developmental disability. To that end HOPE continues to seek out funding opportunities to continue to grow its housing stock. In 2014 HOPE launched a five-year capital campaign to acquire at least 15 units of affordable housing. Also, HOPE is developing a new major gifts and planned giving program in which donors will be able to leave a lasting gift to HOPE.