Tennessee: Hope House Gives Rental Help to Families Affected by AIDS
May 17, 2007
The Memphis-based nonprofit Hope House will be able to provide rent subsidies to 15 families affected by HIV/AIDS thanks to a $200,000, two-year federal grant administered through they city's Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program. The grant comes from the federal Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program, which will provide almost $1.9 million to local agencies this year, said Mary-Knox Lanier, the city's administrator of homeless and special needs housing services.
Hope House Executive Director Betty Dupont said that when families come to the agency, "virtually all of them live in poverty. We have to convince them they can have a different life and this is how you do it."
Hope House provides a pre-employment course that includes a GED program -- a key offering, since more than 50 percent of its female clients lack a high school diploma. The agency also has day care, an early education program for preschoolers, and a 13-week course teaching parents alternatives to physical discipline, said Dupont. "The big hole we had left was the neighborhoods they lived in," she noted.
Mildred Richard came to Hope House in 2002. "I thought it was just a day care. I didn't know I was about to enter a whole new world." Soon after, she became a volunteer, started socializing with other mothers, received her GED, and found a job in the Le Bonheur Community HIV network.
Yet housing remained an issue for Richard. "I lived in South Memphis surrounded by prostitutes, drug dealers, and drug users," she said. "My kids couldn't go out and play without someone being shot [nearby] or seeing a drug deal going on in front of them."
Richard, the first Hope House client to benefit from the TBRA program, now lives in a better South Memphis neighborhood.
Commercial Appeal (Memphis),
05.15.2007; David Flaum
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.