Deidra never thought she’d be raising an 8 year old at 26. Contrary to stereotype of the young urban mother, Evan is not Deidra’s son, but her little brother. When Deidra and Evan’s mother died several years ago, Deidra was on her way to finishing her last year in college. With the support of her ailing grandmother, Deidra became Evan’s guardian and moved to the DC area to live with family.
Deidra quickly learned that their new home environment was a not suitable place to raise her brother, but with limited income she had limited options. Her $10.50 an hour job was not enough to afford a market-rate apartment and provide for herself and her brother. According to a National Low-Housing Coalition report, a market-rate two-bedroom apartment in the District of Columbia was $1461 in 2011.* Deidra heard about Hope and a Home from a co-worker and joined the program late last year. Deidra and Evan now have a two-bedroom unit at an affordable rent. As part of the 3-year program, Deidra also saves money every month. If she saves more than the minimum amount, Hope and a Home matches the difference up to $50.
Deidra continues to work at her job, but she is also preparing to return to college. Evan is adjusting to a new school. His progress is being monitored not only by Deidra, but also by the Hope and a Home education staff who make sure that Evan’s academic needs are being met. Hope and a Home has sponsored for Evan to attend Kung-Fu classes after-school.
Her journey has had some setbacks, but Deidra is always improving, and she does it all with warmth and good-humor. Hope and a Home has helped Deidra create a stable and safe home for her brother and an environment that promotes achievement and success. She is determined to finish her education, find better employment, and be the best caretaker for her brother. We know she is capable of this and more.
In 2011, overall outcomes for Hope and a Home include:
• The Transitional Housing program served 23 families, including 24 adults and 60 children;
• Due to their unwavering persistence, despite a difficult economy, 88% (21 of 24) of Hope and Home parents were employed during 2011. The remaining 12.5% were enrolled in full-time GED or vocational training programs;
• In partnership with Housing Counseling Services, 14 adults received financial counseling;
• Mental health counseling was provided to 5 adults;
• Of the 9 families that graduated, 5 moved into market-rate housing and 4 moved into subsidized units;
• Our Higher Education For All (HEFA) program provided essential educational assessment and advocacy services to 116 children (47 from transitional housing, 63 program graduates, 3 from our neighborhood and 3 from our partnership with Sinai House);
• Of the 44 children who participated in Good Grades Incentive Program, 36 consistently earned a 2.5 or better grade point average;
• HEFA staff advocated for and enrolled 80 children in good-performing schools--including 24 in private schools, 10 of whom were in special education settings;
• HEFA enrolled 18 people in college, 5 of whom were parents; and
• HEFA's work was supported by 42 volunteer mentors and 6 volunteer tutors.
With your support, we may help others gain the skills to create stable homes and make lasting changes in their lives. Please give.
*National Low Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach 2011, available at http://www.nlihc.org/oor/oor2011 (last accessed February 17, 2012).