A special thank you to our Grant Partner the House of Hope for writing this guest blog and telling us about their work.
House of Hope turns 25 years old this year! Since 1995, House of Hope has helped hundreds of women and families out of homelessness in the Cedar Valley. In the last year, House of hope has expanded services and added multiple programs to help more women and families out of homelessness and poverty.
In the summer of 2019, House of Hope added a career employment program called Boost. Women in Boost spend two weeks learning crucial soft skills, basic computer skills, and employer expectations before they are placed for six weeks at one of our five partnering companies for a job shadow experience. If the employers are satisfied at the end of that time, they have agreed to hire the women in permanent positions that pay a living wage.
House of Hope has consistently maintained a waitlist for years, which grows daily. Currently there are 125 families waiting to get into House of Hope. After much planning, House of Hope hired an Outreach Case Manager in September of 2019. The Outreach Case Manager works with families on the wait list to provide services and resources until they can get into House of Hope or become stable and self-sufficient. We have seen that providing women with fewer barriers as well as outreach services has a huge impact. Removing barriers allows those women to be self-sufficient, meaning they no longer need to be on the waitlist and that saves the House of Hope apartments for the families most in need.
Change is difficult, and even success can be stressful. The women we serve often suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression, in addition to not having healthy coping skills due to living in crisis. In December we started our Family Support and Wellness program. The Family Support and Wellness Case Manager works with the moms and the kids individually and together on positive parenting strategies, stress management, healthy coping skills, and other skills vital to successful, like independent living.
In 2019 we had two moms accepted into the Habitat for Humanity program—going from literal homeless to being homeowners! Since January, we have graduated two families who are successfully living on their own. They continue to stay in touch and volunteer at House of Hope regularly. We also graduated two of the women from the Pillars program. One is in Job Corp and the other is living in her own apartment and earning $19.19/hour at her job. The House of Hope continues to empower women, build futures, and enrich the community. With the pandemic facing communities everywhere House of Hope will be more important than ever in the months and years to come.