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A BEACON OF HOPE

House of Hope began as a grassroots effort in the late 1990's. Healthcare workers from the Hospital Sisters Health System in Green Bay recognized that young mothers who lacked a safe and stable residence were not receiving adequate prenatal and postnatal care for themselves or their infants.

 

This group talked with the Adolescent Parenting Coalition, St. Vincent de Paul, and the Salvation Army to form a collaborative effort that created House of Hope as a Wisconsin Association for Homeless and Runaway Services Second Chance Home. The group worked to pass the second chance home bill in Wisconsin and developed partnerships with numerous community agencies in order to provide a holistic program for the young mothers and children at House of Hope.

 

A year after opening the shelter in 2000, the group realized that the four bedroom home St. Vincent de Paul provided was too small for the community need that presented. St. Vincent de Paul supported the need by purchasing the current shelter facility in the name of Frederick Ozanam, St. Vincent de Paul's founder in hopes that no young mother or child born into poverty would have to suffer. 

BUILDING HOPE

In 2001, House of Hope opened ten rooms in its current facility. House of Hope worked on creating a program that effects real change for its clients and slowly began opening additional rooms as the waiting list to stay at House of Hope continued to grow.

In 2013, House of Hope began a Housing Stability program by providing young families up to age 24 with children rent and utility assistance with intensive case management and landlord support. Young families living on the street, in a place not meant for habitation, or in a shelter were provided assistance with finding a safe apartment, signing a lease, and budgeting to maintain housing stability. Program participants are served with a housing first mindset. They find housing as soon as possible and even after moving in, they meet regularly with a case manager and are offered supportive programming along with financial assistance for up to 24 months or until they become more financially independent. 

In 2018, House of Hope completed a major capital campaign, the Key to Hope, to expand the shelter facility and program. House of Hope opened the doors of the newly expanded emergency shelter in 2019 and doubled it's capacity to 20 rooms. A duplex on the property acquired for this expansion was also remodeled and provides two apartments for young families with high barriers to obtaining an apartment, so they can move out of shelter more quickly. An average of eighteen new families are added to the House of Hope waiting list each month. 

In December of 2019, WI Act 22 was passed and 17-year-old youth were permitted to access shelter independently. House of Hope responded by opening a youth hall for 17-24-year-olds along with a licensed shelter care wing, called Hope Center, for unaccompanied youth ages 0-17. To ensure young people had appropriate resources, two youth under 18 with lived experience were added to the Board of Directors and vote on all decisions involving youth at House of Hope.

In 2022, The Drop-In, a 24-hour drop in center for young people ages 14-21 experiencing housing instability opened and created a safe place with supportive resources. One of the youth serving on the Board who was also living in the Hope Center suggested the concept of a space in the building where youth could connect with other youth in an environment more tailored for teens. She brought this idea to the Brown County Youth Action Board and they all agreed a 24-hour drop-in center for young people with supportive outreach services was needed. With help from generous donors and expert advice from young people, plans were made and a space was tailored and designed to meet the need. Since, this program has been able to provide services for survivors of trafficking and outreach in the community for youth who need us most. 

In 2022 and 2023, House of Hope's Housing Stability program was expanded. Eleven additional units of low income housing were acquired bringing this total to 13 units. All available units serve young adults and young families with children who have heads of household under the age of 24. 

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