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Hope and a Home, Inc.

Strong Families. Vibrant Neighborhoods.

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Welcome to Hope and a Home

Hope and a Home’s mission is to empower low-income families with children in Washington, D.C. to attain their aspirations. Our mandate is to break the cycle of poverty for qualified families through the programs and services we offer, to help them create stable homes of their own and to make lasting changes in their lives. We envision a Washington, D.C. in which all families are housed, growing stronger and contributing to the life of their neighborhoods. Our unique, multi-generation strategy combines affordable housing, education services, and family support services to ensure success for the whole family.

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Hope and a Home began as part of a volunteer-based, grassroots local charity called For Love of Children (“FLOC”) that was organized in 1965 to find nurturing homes for 900 children who were crowded into Junior Village, the city’s orphanage. Many of these children had been removed from their families because their parents lacked adequate housing. It was a critical need that was hard to fulfill.

In 1976, Rev. James Dickerson, founder of Manna, Inc. and New Community Church, resurrected and expanded Hope and a Home as its Program Director. Under his leadership the housing inventory was expanded to include 18 units of housing in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. He organized the renovation of the properties, hiring former addicts and ex-offenders to work as part of the work crews and went to work rehabilitating both boarded up properties and human lives to bring about positive change. This cemented Hope and a Home’s basic mission: transformation of people and communities.

Grace Dickerson joined Hope and a Home as a volunteer in 1976, and became a staff member in 1986. Grace’s focus on finding the best educational environment for each child is the key to the success of Hope and a Home. Based on her example, the organization continues to focus on placing our children in good performing schools-- public, private and charter-- and making sure they have all the tools for attending college or vocational school, so that they can create a successful life of their own. To shore up support for them through their matriculation and beyond, Grace’s work of cultivating a strong support system for every student has become the Grace Dickerson Higher Education for All Program (HEFA), and has been fundamental to Hope and a Home’s success.

In 1978, Mary Jo Schumacher joined the organization as the first of a cohort of full time staff members to support the Hope and a Home mission. As a key member of the original team, she would go on to pioneer what would eventually become the program's framework and in doing so, touched the lives of every person that would join the organization (be it staff or families) that she worked with during her 43-year tenure. Mary Jo’s principled approach to helping families-- with a major emphasis on loving accountability-- is foundational to the success of the family unit in the program and in community. The Mary Jo Schumacher Nutrition Security program is named for her and ensures fresh and nutritional food for our families.

In 1982, Mike Young succeeded Rev Jim as Program Director. Mike started as a volunteer at Hope and a Home. He started as our maintenance worker before becoming the program’s director. He led Hope and a Home through its 2005 reorganization into an independent 501(c) 3 charitable organization with a full-time staff of nine at our former headquarters in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC. The Mike Young Education Fund is named for him and is used to ensure that all of our graduates finish higher education programs with as little debt as possible.

In 2010, Lynn C. French joined Hope and a Home as its Executive Director and led the organization through its strategic plan to stabilize it. As a recent retiree from the District Government, Lynn brought both her skill as a seasoned administrator who created and ran the city’s Homestead Housing Preservation Program, and wealth of knowledge about homelessness prevention, having spearheaded the District’s remaking of its shelter system in the early 2000's. To achieve certain capital development projects, Lynn established key partnerships and got a grant from Freddie Mac to rehab the vacant cellar of one property into our corporate headquarters. Working through the stabilization of the program, two of our eight properties, which housed four dwelling units, were rehabilitated and capital improvements were made to the other six properties. Under Lynn’s leadership, the organization is thriving, having added another property to its portfolio, with a greatly expanded donor base, and has garnered the support of foundations and corporate donors.

Board of Directors

Hope and a Home’s Board of Directors bring to bear a diversity of experience from nonprofit organizations, city government, and the private sector.

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Oral Pottinger

Mayer Brown LLP

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Vice Chair

James Turner

Health IT Now Coalition

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Kimberly J. Levine

Financial Consultant

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Shanti Abedin

National Fair Housing Alliance

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Executive Director

Lynn C French

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Sonya Ali

Ben's Chili Bowl &

Ben's Next Door

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Lynn M. Fisher-Fox

Arnold & Porter LLP

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Monica Gonzales-Conic

Share Our Strength

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Corinne Kirkland-Mercedes, JD

TV One

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Julia Howell Barros

Development Consultant

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Monica Palacio, JD

DEIscovery Partners

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Leah Malcom Skrine

Malcom Property Management

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Our Team

Lynn C. French

Executive Director

Lynn French has worked in community development and housing policy in Washington, DC, since 1980. She joined Hope and a Home’s board of directors in 2006, serving for four years before becoming Executive Director in 2010. Prior to joining the staff, she had an extensive career working first at the Council of the District of Columbia, drafting legislation and supporting the work of two Councilmembers in a variety of bills affecting rent control, the Comprehensive Plan, and drafted the Homestead Housing Preservation Act of 1987. Lynn served as Homestead Program Administrator at the DC Department of Housing and Community Development from 1987 to 2001 and under her leadership more than $50M of private capital was leveraged to facilitate the renovation of over 2,000 substandard and dilapidated housing units that were sold to first time homebuyers. Under her leadership more than $50M of private capital was leveraged to facilitate the renovation of over 2,000 substandard and dilapidated housing units that were sold to first time homebuyers. From 2001 through 2006, Lynn served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Homeless and Special Needs Housing in the Executive Office of the Mayor. During her tenure, Lynn coordinated implementation of sweeping improvements in shelter conditions and facilitated the development of supportive housing and housing first programs. Lynn uses her knowledge of affordable housing development and commitment to providing safe, decent housing for the families of DC to ensure that Hope and a Home meets its mandate. Lynn raised her daughter as a single mother, an experience that fuels her desire to ensure families have all the resources they need to attain lasting success.

Jarreau Taylor

Development Manager

Jarreau Taylor joined Hope and a Home with over 6 years of experience in leveraging technology to help people in need. He brings along a unique skill set of solution-based service skills and technical expertise from previous nonprofit support roles that has strengthened our team. After a brief stint working for startups in the tech sector, Jarreau has once again rejoined the nonprofit world in support of our mission and is now back in his element – helping us to support our objectives.

Yawaseh Tingba

Family Support Coordinator

Yawaseh serves as the Family Support Coordinator at Hope and a Home. She has been working to help families experiencing homelessness and underserved populations in DC and Maryland for more than 11 years. She is an advocate for mental health services and is committed to eliminating barriers to ensure the population’s hierarchy of needs are met. She is well versed on resources available for clients and operates under the continuum of services model, by connecting providers to provide maximum service. Yawaseh works collaboratively as part of the Hope and a Home team, meeting with families at least once a week, as they work towards success and self-sufficiency. She connects families to additional supports as needed, as well. Yawaseh bases her work focus on the quote “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”.

Cierre Johnson

Education Coordinator

Cierre Johnson is Hope and a Home’s Education Coordinator. Cierre has over 14 years of experience as a Special Education teacher, working with students in grades ranging from K – 12 as well as teaching adults pursuing a GED. Cierre’s expertise is working with and advocating for a diverse population of students including: students with moderate to severe physical and health disabilities; moderate to severe learning disabilities; and a variety of Social and Emotional Disabilities. Cierre brings her experience as a teacher to Hope and a Home, engaging children and their parents by creating a positive environment in which they work together to develop the best plan for success. Cierre advocates for students by building a support network for them between school, teachers, and home to ensure proper resources are provided to guarantee an excellent education. Ultimately, Cierre’s mission and values align with the premise that “education is the golden ticket out of poverty.”

Bryce Cromartie

Education Advocate

Bryce Cromartie is Hope and a Home’s Education Advocate . Bryce brings an extensive background to his work. He served as Volunteer Counselor with Freedom Youth Academy, helping at-risk inner-city youth (primarily Ward 8 Residents) prepare for society by focusing on education. He has experience as a Social Services Coordinator (Norfolk, VA) for ex-offenders in a Residential Reentry Center (aka Halfway House), assisting with job readiness, family reunification, and placement into adult education programs. In 2013, Bryce joined the fight to end homelessness in DC. For 7 years, he provided outreach, case management, and advocated for the chronically homeless population. Bryce also brings the enthusiasm and knowledge of a Washingtonian whose first job was in the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment program (formerly SYEP) to his job, understanding how small opportunities create big outcomes. Bryce is committed to assisting Hope and a Home achieve its mandate to break the cycle of poverty through education.

Rosa Mooten

Operations Manager

Rosa Mooten is the glue that holds together the operating system of Hope and a Home. She manages Hope and a Home’s office and its property, as well as the Mary Jo Schumacher Nutrition Security program. Rosa greets all visitors, responds to calls from families who are in need of affordable housing, coordinates volunteer work parties, assists with the selection of families for our Transitional Housing Program, handles correspondence and provides IT for other staff.

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Transitional Housing

Our Transitional Housing program provides below-market rental units to unhoused and low-income families with minor children for up to three years. Once in our program, families work intensively with our professional support staff to identify and break down personal and external barriers to success. We mentor parents and children in their journey from homelessness to permanent housing, from educational failure to success in school, and from instability to stable and nurturing family life.

We rent our inventory of 19 2-,3-, 4- and 5-bedroom units to low-income, homeless families with income 30 percent or below the Area Median Income (“AMI”). The properties are in the Columbia Heights neighborhood and are professionally renovated and maintained.

Families may reside in our housing for up to three years – longer than most DC-area housing programs. This longer stay makes it possible for children to become established in good schools and for their parents to build strong relationships and acquire the skills that foster long-lasting change.

We support our parents through:

  • Case management: weekly in-home meetings, quarterly goal-setting meetings, and annual progress evaluations.
  • Individual counseling by a licensed psychologist, when appropriate.
  • Supporting efforts to identify and to move to permanent housing.
  • Requiring personal monthly budgets that include mandatory savings as well as bonuses for living within one’s budget and/or saving extra money;
  • Training in financial literacy to develop a plan to pay off debt, improve credit and work towards home ownership.
  • Peer group support in monthly family workshops.

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Grace Dickerson Higher Education for All Program

Hope and a Home’s Higher Education for All (HEFA) program implements an individualized education plan for each adult and child within each family. The HEFA team ensures that children are thriving in their schools and have what they need to succeed academically. The program staff also work with adults to prepare them for stable jobs. Family heads of household develop educational and skill-building plans to improve their job horizons and build careers.

  • We assess each child’s academic standing, conduct classroom observations, and identify and secure the educational resources that children are entitled to by law: testing, evaluations, and appropriate school placements in public, charter, or private schools;
  • We train parents to serve as educators and advocates for their children. We help them build essential skills to engage in school activities such as parent-teacher conferences;
  • We match our students with volunteer mentors and tutors;
  • We reward students for setting and achieving academic goals for each advisory. One half of the financial reward goes to the student; the other half is deposited in a savings account to be used when the child attends college or vocational school;
  • We provide and promote meaningful after-school and summer enrichment activities that reinforce academic learning;
  • We enroll our children in other DC programs that support higher education for low-income students.
  • We work with adults to identify their academic strengths and weaknesses – sometimes placing them in programs that strengthen their math and literacy skills; and
  • Adults are enrolled in educational, vocational and certificate programs that better position them in the job market.

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Mike Young Education Fund

Hope and a Home also provides scholarships for college students through our Mike Young Education Fund (MYEF), as a key part of our college prep program.

Students go on tours of college campuses as we work to connect them to their best possible higher education match. Students are supported in taking SAT/ACT prep classes in addition to taking the test.

Students are also counseled as they apply to college and settle on a school.

We award scholarships through our Mike Young Education Fund to continue supporting students in our program throughout their academic journey.

In addition to providing scholarships, staff also assist students to apply for Pell grants, DC TAG, DC-CAP, and other sources of educational support funding. We are proud that MYEF has helped students from Hope and a Home start college year after year, with a plan that includes acquiring as little debt as possible.

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Mary Jo Schumacher

Nutrition Security Program

Due to food insecurity and inflationary prices, Hope and a Home delivers healthy groceries such as fresh produce, protein, milk, and eggs to families each month. This supplements EBT and SNAP allocations and especially ensures a healthy diet for Hope and a Home’s youth.

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Hope and a Home’s success is built on the goodwill of caring friends who have volunteered countless hours to advance our mission. Friends like the volunteers who worked to refurbish housing in preparation for new tenants… Friends who show up for our work parties to paint and repair our affordable housing units… Friends who mentor and/ or tutor Hope and a Home children to help them succeed in school.

We would not be where we are without our stellar volunteers... Please join us!

Please fill out and submit this form, and a Hope and a Home representative will be in touch with you shortly. Thank you!

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1236 Columbia Rd., NW, #LL

Washington, DC 20009



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