Hope through Housing is a non-profit organization whose mission is to end generational poverty through affordable housing, educational programs and advocacy. In 2022, they were the recipients of an MLK grant which will be used to fund their youth development initiative. As people across the country celebrated MLK day on January 16th, Greg Bradbard, president of Hope Through Housing, sat down with HousingWire to talk about the impact the grant will have on his organization and the affordable housing community at large.
HousingWire: What can you tell us about the mission of Hope Through Housing? How will the MLK grant enhance this mission?
Greg Bradbard: The Hope through Housing Foundation (Hope) is dedicated to breaking the generational cycle of poverty by providing quality services within affordable housing communities that empower individuals and families. Hope delivers an array of programs, activities and resources to children, adults and seniors within 100 apartment communities throughout California, Texas and Florida. The key to creating generational change is preparing children and teens for future self-sufficiency through our Building Bright Futures initiative. The MLK grant we received last year is helping to enhance our youth development initiatives in the Houston area. Specifically, the grant has helped us create a reading corner to increase access to books while supporting our development of additional community partners to support after school programming for children in our Angleton, Texas, community. This grant is directly aligned with our goal to provide the tools, guidance and resources needed for youth to realize their full potential.
HW: Which of Hope Through Housing’s Accomplishments this past year are you most proud of?
GB: In the past year, Hope added several new after-school program sites serving children and teens in both California and Texas. Students now have a safe place — right inside the community room within their apartment complexes — where they have positive role models, homework help, a nutritious snack and other enrichment activities. From science and technology experiments to the arts to career conversations with local businesspeople, these programs introduce young people to new possibilities for their future. We regularly see students become the first in their families to head to college as a result of our work.
Additionally, in 2022 we launched CORE Academy, a workforce training program designed to introduce non-traditional candidates to the property management industry. The program is aimed at recruiting residents of affordable housing to become employees who help operate affordable housing communities. CORE Academy provides the basic skills to enter the property management or property maintenance industry.
HW: Looking into 2023, what are the biggest initiatives you are focused on?
GB: As we transition from the COVID-19 pandemic to a period of record inflation, meeting the financial needs of our residents is critical. Therefore, we are providing both basic needs assistance to help families pay for food, schooling, transportation and maintaining their housing, as well as expanding our support employment and job searching resources.
We have just hired a new director of workforce development who is increasing resources and partnerships to connect our residents with job training and new career opportunities.
HW: How can other housing industry professionals get involved with Hope Through Housing?
GB: At the local level, we rely on volunteers and donors to help with special events, volunteer in our after-school programs and serve as community ambassadors. On a national level, there is a great need for strong advocates to help increase funding specifically for resident services within affordable housing. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Congress just authorized $2.5 million in funding to demonstrate the importance of community services within affordable housing. It is a great starting point, but we must continue advocating for increased funding in the future to enhance these services which have the power to transform lives across affordable housing communities.
HW: Is there anything else you’d like to include, about winning the MLK grant or any other information about Hope Through Housing?
GB: As we observe MLK Day this time of year, we are reminded of the importance of empowering residents of all backgrounds to reach dreams they never thought possible. Hope serves a diverse population of children and adults including many ethnicities, veterans, formerly homeless and individuals with disabilities. Our goal is to provide any resources needed to help our residents overcome obstacles and build bright futures. We are grateful for our many partners who help to make this work possible.
This conversation was originally published in the February/March 2023 issue of HousingWire Magazine. Click here to read the full issue.