Hope and Independence
About 80 percent of Community of Hope’s housing clients live in Wards 7 and 8, which have the highest unemployment rates in the city. As of Jan., 2015, the unemployment rates in Wards 7 and 8 were 13.1 and 16.2 respectively, according to the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services.
“These are individuals we’re really trying to target to work with them on job skills, helping them access benefits, and find the resources they need to find and keep jobs,” she noted.
The housing component of Community of Hope ranges from rapid re-housing – families and individuals who need a few months of help to get on their feet – to permanent supportive housing, which consists of having a lease in ones own name and paying up to 30 percent of rent from income.
Housing clients are referred by the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center.
Monique Walls lives in one of COH’s Rapid Re-Housing apartments with her 3-year-old son.
After being laid off from a position she’d held for 14 years, Monique could no longer pay rent, and was eventually evicted. The DC General Shelter was an unhealthy environment for her child, who had heart problems as a baby.
The two spent 11 months in a motel before finding Community of Hope. Now, Monique and her son not only have a safe place to live, she has support. Monique is actively searching for employment.
“It’s programs like Community of Hope that make me feel hope – for myself and others like me," she said. "It’s giving me an opportunity to gain my independence back. I needed help and Community of Hope has just been such a blessing.” Continue to Part 3