- Associated Press - Sunday, August 20, 2017

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A generous community is helping the House of Hope provide new opportunities to more homeless mothers.

The two-year transitional program for homeless single mothers, currently operating from two older homes, is expanding its program into the former Ross Christensen dentistry office.

An army of volunteers is helping to renovate the building, donated by the Christensen family, into 15 apartments and classroom space to serve House of Hope families.

Karin Rowe, the agency’s executive director, said the new building will help the program, established in 1995, serve even more families.

“We walk alongside these mothers as they break down the barriers that have held them in homelessness and achieve self-sufficiency,” she told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier . “Usually when people first come in they just want to be able to pay their bills and feed their children. But when they get here they can open up and dream.”

House of Hope is selling its eight-plex to the city so it can razed for a new supermarket. A duplex will be repurposed when the transitional housing program consolidates in to the new building as early as March.

“This is going to increase our program by 50 percent,” Rowe said. “But it also opens up our duplex where we can house a prevention program for young ladies aging out of foster care.”

The new building in the Church Row Neighborhood is close to Grin and Grow Daycare, Irving Elementary School and a bus line.

“There is easy access to employment, education and to needed services,” Rowe said. “It opens up possibilities for the moms to get what they need for that next step.”

House of Hope, which receives no federal funds, has had strong community support for its services.

Along with the building donation and volunteer construction help, the project has already raised more than $1.42 million of its nearly $1.86 million goal. That includes money from the sale of the eight-plex and a $400,000 grant from the Black Hawk County Gaming Association.

The House of Hope is now asking the Cedar Valley to help it raise another $25,000 through an online grant competition through State Farm Insurance.

There are 200 projects competing for 40 grants through the program, which will be decided by online public voting through Aug. 25.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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