Grandma's House of Hope
Santa Ana, California, USA
MissionGrandma's House of Hope (GHH) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to improving the quality of life for Orange County's most vulnerable, underserved and socio-economically disadvantaged community members by providing housing, food and trauma-informed supportive services. GHH rescues and restores women in crisis, Including Human Trafficking survivors , compassionately recognizes their trauma with dignity and restores their hope in finding a forever home.
What We DoGrandma's House of Hope (GHH) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to improving the quality of life for Orange County's most vulnerable, underserved and socio-economically disadvantaged community members by providing housing, food and trauma-informed supportive services. We accomplish this through three core programs, which collectively serve 3,750 people each year: GHH's Nana's Kidz program, HopeWorks! Education and Enrichment Center program and Rescued and Restored Housing Program.
GHH started Nana's Kidz in 2007 to provide healthy meals to homeless and unstably housed children and families on weekends and during school breaks. Many homeless families rely heavily on school cafeterias as their primary source for meeting their children's nutritional needs and therefore struggle on non-school days. Nana's Kidz serves children who are enrolled in the Free and Reduced Cost Lunch Program through their school district. To be eligible, the family's income must be below 185% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and they must be currently living in homeless conditions. We break down barriers to reaching these most vulnerable children and families by delivering 3,430 meals each month directly to 160 kids at their motels and after-school programs in low-income neighborhoods in Orange County. We also bring meal bags to 2,000 additional low-income kids through bi-weekly motel outreach and quarterly holiday events throughout the year. In total, we plan to deliver 140,880 meals to hungry people across Orange County this year.
HopeWorks! Education and Enrichment Center
Operating since 2014, our HopeWorks! Education and Enrichment Center (HWEEC) program offers after-school programs and adult education to 165 low-income housing residents in Anaheim. Our program is based in a very low-income Section 8 housing complex--Cherry Orchard--in west Anaheim that houses 45 families. By delivering services at this culturally diverse housing site, we minimize challenges and eliminate obstacles such as traveling costs, time constraints and safety concerns. Thanks to the accessibility, breadth and quality of these services, families are able to maintain stable housing and thrive. In the past 5 years, we have supported 17 first generation college students from these families and eliminated gang activity on our property.
GHH's Rescued and Restored Housing Program
GHH's Rescued and Restored Housing Program is our first and largest program, addressing a critical need for housing and trauma-informed care for Orange County's homeless population. GHH started with only one home and now runs 14 housing facilities in 9 locations throughout Orange County, operating year-round with a total of 157 beds. We offer a broad continuum of housing options, including emergency shelter, bridge (interim) housing, transitional housing and long-term supportive housing. Every participant of our Housing Program also is offered an array of supportive services.
Our Housing Program is more important than ever, given that our county's homeless and unsheltered population is growing and far too few resources exist to house and support them. Annually, 15,000+ people experience homelessness in Orange County (United Way, "Homelessness in Orange County: The Costs to Our Community," 2017). According to the Point in Time Count in 2017, there are over 4,700 homeless people on any given night in the county. Orange County lacks sufficient emergency shelter beds to safely house the homeless population. Moreover, transitional housing beds have become scarce since the de-prioritization of transitional housing programs by Orange County's Continuum of Care a few years ago. The result is that 54% of homeless individuals were completely unsheltered in 2017. Unofficial tallies from the 2019 Point in Time Count reflect that the unsheltered count has grown and now makes up 72% of the 4,700+ homeless individuals in our community (Voice of OC, "At Least 1,300 People Sleep in OC Homeless Shelters," 2/6/2019). The unsheltered homeless are most likely to include single adults without children, the chronically homeless, veterans, people with serious physical and mental illness, people with substance abuse disorders and survivors of domestic violence.
The homelessness crisis in Orange County resulted in a major federal lawsuit, filed against the County of Orange and several Orange County cities in January 2018, right before the county cleared 700 homeless people from the Santa Ana River Trail (Courthouse News Service, "SoCal Cities, Homeless Rights Advocates Agree to Shelter Settlement," 9/7/2018). The federal judge has called upon the cities and county to develop and implement plans to create sufficient emergency shelter spaces to house all of the 2,500+ unsheltered homeless individuals in the county (referencing the 2017 Point in Time Count). The cities of Anaheim, Orange and Tustin entered into a settlement agreement in November 2018 on this case, where they committed to building at least 575 new homeless shelter beds in north Orange County. Though progress is being made - one interim shelter with 200 beds (The Link) has since opened in Santa Ana and two temporary/interim shelters with 424 beds opened in Anaheim - too many homeless women, men and children still remain on the streets (Voice of OC, "Homelessness Legal Settlements Approved with Anaheim, Orange and Tustin," 11/6/2018; City of Anaheim, "Anaheim Shelter Plan," accessed 2/11/2019).
Additionally, these new large-scale shelter facilities are not appropriate for homeless individuals with acute illness or serious trauma histories. In fact, such facilities are likely to cause more harm, exposing acutely ill individuals to additional germs and viruses and re-traumatizing survivors of trafficking, abuse and other crimes.
Our Housing Program--which utilizes single-family homes to provide shelter and care to homeless individuals--focuses on housing and supporting the "hardest to serve." In 2018, 46% of our participants were survivors of domestic violence and/or human trafficking; 50% had mental health disabilities; 25% had physical disabilities; 39% were battling chronic health conditions including terminal illness; 26% were chronically homeless prior to moving into GHH's housing; and 44% were dealing with addiction at the time of intake. These percentages demonstrate the unique vulnerability and heightened needs of the population GHH serves. Without our Housing Program, these vulnerable and traumatized individuals would remain on the streets facing perilous situations.
Our unique client population often requires more support services and longer stays to help them heal, strengthen and rebuild. They need compassionate care from people who understand trauma and can help individuals identify and address the root causes of their situations. GHH's Housing Program is designed with all these client-centered, trauma-informed features. We offer a safe, supportive space for participants to recuperate and heal.
When a homeless individual first enters our program, we focus on meeting their basic needs. Then we work closely with the participant to build an individual action plan and structure supportive services to meet that participant's unique needs and empower the participant to improve his/her life circumstances. Our Housing Program, with wrap-around services, is designed to address the root causes of each client's situation, helping them achieve stable housing and preventing them from cycling back into homelessness. These individuals are not likely to maintain permanent housing if they are moved too quickly into it. Once evicted, they may suffer a life time of struggles ever renting again. .
Our services include: weekly case management/advocacy meetings, weekly house meetings, individual and/or group counseling, crisis intervention, substance abuse treatment, individualized care coordination and assistance in obtaining benefits, emergency food and clothing, transportation assistance, workforce development training, help securing permanent housing, resource referrals and follow-up support after move-out. Additionally, we cultivate a strong sense of community among the residents within each housing site so that they are able to provide support and encouragement to each other.
Through the combination of emergency, transitional and bridge housing plus wrap-around services, GHH helps participants heal from trauma and abuse, access healthcare, improve their physical and mental health, feel safer, maintain or increase their income, and successfully transition into permanent housing.