Hope and a Home’s mission is to empower low-income families with children in D.C. to create stable homes of their own and to make lasting changes in their lives. Our mandate is to break the cycle of poverty for qualified families through the programs and services we offer. 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.
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 and he organized the renovation of the properties. He hired addicts and ex-offenders to work along as part of the work crews, thereby rehabilitating both boarded up properties and human lives to bring about a positive change in the Columbia Heights neighborhood.
Also in 1976, Grace Dickerson joined Hope and a Home as a volunteer, and later became a staff member in 1986. She is married to Jim Dickerson, former director of Hope and a Home. Grace helped many young people gain admission to private and charter schools, and continued to support them through their matriculation and beyond. As a strong advocate for cultivating a strong support system for every student, she is the inspiration behind The Grace Dickerson Higher Education for All Program, and was fundamental in developing Hope and a Home's model for educational success.
In 1978, Mary Jo Schumacher joined the organization among the first 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 programmatic 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 is the inspiration for our nutrition security program and her principled approach to helping families and building communities is fundamental to our methods.
In 1982, Mike Young succeeded Rev Jim as Executive Director. Mike started as a volunteer at Hope and a Home. He worked 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.
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 well as to achieve certain capital development projects. Two of our eight properties, which housed four dwelling units, were rehabilitated and capital improvements were made to the other six properties. Subsequently, the vacant cellar of one of our properties was renovated into an office for our corporate headquarters.
Lynn French has worked in community development and housing policy in Washington, DC, since 1980, focusing on community development. Prior to joining Hope and a Home in 2010, she worked at the Council of the District of Columbia, drafting legislation and supporting the work of two Council Members in a variety of bills affecting rent control, the Comprehensive Plan, and drafted the Homestead Housing Preservation Act of 1987. Lynn was appointed Homestead Program Administrator at the DC Department of Housing and Community Development from 1987 to 2001. 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.
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 is a highly devoted advocate for family services (mental health and housing). She is the current Family Support Worker at Hope and a Home. Ms. Tingba has over 7 years of servicing the homeless and less fortunate population in DC and Maryland. 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. She strongly believes in reinforcing positive behavior in order to get desired results. She believes in serving the population served by service planning, monitoring, and need assessments. Ms. Tingba believes in working collaboratively on a dynamic team to assist clients in maintaining their housing through the effective application of trauma informed care and harm reduction strategies. Ms. Tingba’s entire modus operandi is based on the quote “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”.
Cierre Hunter is the Educational Advocate at Hope and a Home. Cierre has 10 plus 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. As a Special Education Teacher, Cierre worked to engage students and their parents by creating a positive learning focused classroom community. Cierre devotes her passion for teaching by celebrating diversity and providing a quality education that is accessible for all students regardless of disability, socioeconomic status, race, age or gender. Cierre advocates for students by building a support network for students 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 is the current Educational Advocate at Hope and a Home. As a 3rd Generation Washingtonian, and former participant of the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (formerly known as the SYEMP), he has an abundance of experience and knowledge of the District’s resources, history, and culture. For 8 years, Bryce served as a Volunteer Counselor with Freedom Youth Academy, helping at-risk inner-city youth (primarily Ward 8 Residents) prepare for society by focusing on education. He supported the students with improving their performance in school and on scholastic assessment tests. Bryce’s passion for human services continued after completing his undergraduate degree from Hampton University. He then went on to serve 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 embarked on a new journey, the fight to end homelessness in DC. For 7 years, he provided outreach, case management, and advocated for the chronically homeless population. Bryce is committed to assisting Hope and a Home achieve their mandate to “break the cycle of poverty for qualified families through” education!
Office Manager, Property Manager, Volunteer Service Coordinator
Rosa Mooten is the glue that holds together our operations. She manages Hope and a Home’s office and its property, greets 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 and clerical support for other staff.
Our Transitional Housing programs provides below-market rental units to homeless and low-income families 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 18 2-,3- and 4-bedroom apartments to low-income, homeless families with income 30 percent at or below the Area Median Income (“AMI”). They are located 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:
Working with case workers: weekly in-home meetings, quarterly goal-setting meetings, and annual progress evaluations;
Individual counseling by a licensed psychologist, when appropriate;
Coaching to be responsible tenants and assistance 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 using Hope and a Home’s workbook, Our Dreams and Our Money:
Setting Goals about Money, and intensive one on one credit counseling, in collaboration with
Housing Counseling Services; and
Peer group support in monthly family workshops.
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 that pay living wages.
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.
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.
The program offers an SAT/ACT workshop for its participants and exposes students to various colleges through college tours. Due to the pandemic, this now includes a virtual ACT/SAT Prep Course (Fall/Spring) for our students preparing for college.
Students are also counseled as they apply to college and settle on a school. Recently we have connected our High School Students with virtual college tours.
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.
Mary Jo Schumacher
Nutrition Security Program
Access to healthy food has been an increasing need for our families. In response, we’ve launched the Mary Jo Schumacher Nutrition Security Program to deliver groceries such as fresh produce, milk, eggs and meat to families twice a month.
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!
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