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.
Our newest affordable home was officially opened Thursday, Sept. 25th in Norwalk. Mayor Marcel Rodarte cut the ceremonial ribbon to signify the opening of the home. Mayor Rodarte was even gracious enough to say the home was nicer than his own.
HOPE's affordable housing program is really at the heart of what HOPE does: providing low-cost, safe, high-quality housing for people with developmental disabilities. Tenants pay only thirty percent of their monthly income for rent and are able to live in homes where they may otherwise be paying triple the rent amount. The house in Norwalk includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two separate kitchens.
"People with developmental disabilities have very limited options for homes which are not only affordable, but also accommodate their physical needs," Kristin Martin, HOPE Executive Director, said. "It has truly been a gift to be able to partner with the City of Norwalk on these two homes and increase affordable living options for people with developmental disabilities. This is the second home HOPE owns in Norwalk; the other was purchased in 2006 and is the home for three tenants. HOPE has one more home to develop in Norwalk, which should be completed in January of 2015, and has also submitted an application to the city for one more. With the three homes HOPE currently now owns in Norwalk, HOPE is able to provide affordable housing to a total of nine tenants."
All of this growth is the result of the HOPE Board's commitment to continue to expand its offerings to HOPE's tenants. The Board launched a Capital Campaign in 2013 for the acquisition of properties with a goal of providing capacity for 15 additional people. The addition of these two homes in Norwalk brings HOPE to 40 percent of its goal.
"This is perfect. This is what we're really looking for for our clients," Pat Del Monico, executive director of the Harbor Regional Center (HRC), said about the Norwalk home. "It's the future we want." HRC is responsible for helping with the day-to-day well being of developmentally disabled clients. HRC, HOPE and Norwalk teamed up to make this project happen. Kristin Maithonis, Norwalk's housing manager, worked diligently to make sure funds of over $260,000 were approved to go toward the acquisition of the home.
"It's about making sure the money goes to the right place, and we were sure HOPE was the right organization," Maithonis said. "We hope we can do more affordable housing in the future."
It took the hard work and generosity of many different people and organizations to reach the end of this project in Norwalk. Generosity from organizations like the Del Harbor Foundation, which provided funds for the renovation, and also donations from our donors and friends who provided furnishings for the home.
With this home completed, and tenants moving in very soon, HOPE will turn its focus to remodeling the next home in Norwalk, which was purchased several months ago. The plans are just being finalized by the city and construction will start in October with tenants moving in by January, 2015. HOPE will continue to work with cities and other agencies to expand its affordable housing portfolio to meet the need of the over 150 people on its waiting list.
If you would like to help HOPE provide housing for people with developmental disabilities, please check out the Capital Campaign section of the website.
We are thrilled to announce that our newest home in Norwalk is almost ready for residents. But not without some furniture first! As you know, our tenants have very limited means and income, so we are asking for your help to turn this house into a home.
We will be purchasing all the furniture for the home. HOPE was lucky enough to receive a generous donation for this very purpose, but we still need your help.
HOPE is renovating a three-bedroom, two-bath house on Bacarro St. in Long Beach. Funds from the Del Harbor Foundation, US Bank, Union Bank, Rose Hill Foundation, and year-end donations will be used for a “make over” at the property. Extensive renovations include remodeling two bathrooms, removing and replacing the outdoor patio, installing new floors in the living room, bathrooms and hallway, and creating an on-site laundry for the tenants. The kitchens and bathrooms will be made accessible for non-ambulatory tenants. HOPE is in the process of a similar remodeling project at Clark Ave. in Long Beach. Both projects are projected to be completed by June 2014. HOPE is partnering with a local Boy Scout troop, as part of an Eagle Scout project, to install drought resistant landscaping at the property using funds from the City of Long Beach Lawn to Garden (L2G) program.
One day, I imagine myself working at a library, living in a nice house, and perhaps supporting a family. While this dream may sound easy to reach, it is something not so easily attainable among individuals with disabilities. According to the National Council on Disability (NCD), statistics show that “individuals with disabilities are more than twice as likely to live below the poverty line as individuals without disabilities” (New Freedom Initiative, 2001). This is why College to Career, or C2C for short, exists. It helps students with disabilities, like myself, succeed in life.
Prior to C2C, I started college at California State University Long Beach after graduating from high school. My first college year was disastrous, as I did not pass any of my classes due to many unfortunate circumstances, such as my confusion with how the assignments were posted, my laptop computer dying in the middle of the college year, and mainly, my autism disability. After that fiasco, I tried to get into Long Beach City College, but failed because I missed the cutoff date. Challenges like these are not uncommon among students with developmental disabilities. In fact, NCD points out that “young adults with disabilities in postsecondary education are less likely to persevere and complete a degree or certificate than are their peers without disabilities.” Fortunately, my counselor from Harbor Regional Center referred me to C2C, which was recently implemented in October of 2011. I was hesitant at first, but my family told me that this was my best bet to make something of myself, so I tried it, and have stuck with it ever since.
My weekly C2C schedule consists of attending my required, fully-integrated classes in the morning, then participating in four hours of Educational Coaching, and finally going home to do two hours of support with my Direct Support Provider (DSP). Thanks to my Educational Coaches, I have learned school skills that even my teachers have not taught me and I have become more diligent in completing my homework. Thanks to my DSPs, I have become more efficient and more independent in cleaning my house, buying my groceries, and preparing my meals. In fact, I actually enjoy doing these responsibilities. Not to mention, thanks to HOPE, I live in a beautiful house with three other roommates, which is conveniently located just a couple of blocks away from campus.
Both components of C2C (college and independent living), promote independence and encourage community integration. Activities and field trips, such as “Guys/Girls Night,” “Cooking Class,” the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Gardens, all teach important social skills.
It is really important for students with disabilities to get the support they need to get on track and reach their goals. In just one year of actively participating in C2C, I have had internship opportunities and have been recognized on the Dean’s List with Highest Distinction. I am on track to graduating with an AA in Library Science and aspire to transfer to CSULB after I meet all my goals with C2C. I, Julian, am proud to be part of a program that is paving the way for other students with disabilities; we are changing the statistics one student at a time. My story is a true testimony that a disability does not have to stop a person’s success.