New Hope Housing - Fighting Homelessness in Houston
July 23, 2019
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Houston takes first place in Texas for least-affordable housing for the lowest income renters, based on population size. It is a prize most cities wouldn’t want to win. With only 19 affordable and available rental units for every 100 households of the most precarious economic demographic, Houston is far below the national average.
Statistics show that Houston currently needs an additional 200,000 affordably-priced units, and that is not necessarily a projection based on future growth.
So what is being done to bridge the gap?
Non-profit organizations are stepping up to the challenge and providing much-needed housing. For some of them, they are continuing work they have been doing for years and trying to scale for current needs.
New Hope Housing is one of these organizations. They have served more than 9,000 people since they opened in 1993. This award-winning organization operates seven Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing properties for single adults, most of whom have been chronically homeless, as well as one property designed for homeless and at-risk families.
“We create an environment that empowers the human spirit; through dignified environments, we encourage people to do what they are able to do, and we believe we are lifting people out of the cycle of poverty,” President and CEO Joy Horak-Brown said. “Housing is critical, but there is only so much housing can do for someone. We also collaborate with many non-profit organizations to provide additional supportive services, which we find is helping to enrich residents’ lives.”
Through partnerships with other social service organizations, New Hope Housing is not duplicating the services it provides, but rather being good stewards of private funds. Residents can work with a case manager, be referred to other services, participate in on-site educational programs, and enjoy recreational activities within a community setting.
This model has been extremely effective. In 2018, 500 residents received some kind of on-site medical support; and, nearly 700 residents participated in life-skills training and education, including financial literacy that helped them learn to balance a budget and reduce food insecurity. After these educational and health offerings, 60% of residents said they had been able to save money and also reported improved health since moving into their new home. More than 1,000 residents have worked with a case manager and 70% say they have made progress towards their goals.
While these statistics are impressive, they are even more impactful when you consider the real lives they represent. Several years ago, Victoria was struggling with drug addiction and was on the verge of ending her life. With her cousin’s support, Victoria took a 17-hour bus ride from Kansas to find shelter with her family. “I spent a month resting and getting clean, preparing for the birth of my daughter,” Victoria shared. Shortly after her daughter’s birth, Victoria entered an outpatient substance abuse treatment program. Not too long after graduating from the program, she discovered she qualified to move into her own apartment at New Hope Housing Reed. “When I look around my new home at Reed and see the beautiful apartment, the community rooms, and the playground, I feel safe,” Victoria said. Now, her goal is to absorb all of the knowledge and skills she can at New Hope Housing to buy a new home.
New Hope Housing is clearly changing lives and producing measurable outcomes, outcomes that Joy is always excited to share.
“To fund these empowerment programs, we rely on the private philanthropic community, like our grant from TMF, not on government grants. As a result, we have a great deal of flexibility and can be creative to meet resident needs,” Joy said passionately. “That flexibility is the difference between being housed and being homeless. This is a profound difference and TMF is a vibrant partner in our work. TMF is always engaged in long-term conversations with each organization they fund because they are dedicated to moving the needle for systemic change, and so are we.”
As TMF continues to partner with organizations like New Hope Housing, we are ceaselessly reminded of the powerful achievements non-profits can make in their communities. If you believe your organization is making a difference and you want a partner like TMF, please consider reaching out to Jacki Lammert, director of grants – firstname.lastname@example.org– to learn more.