Transforming lives through Hope’s Family Opportunity Centers

MONTCLAIR, Calif. – A professional home health nurse and single mother of two, Marisol Thompson never figured her struggles would reach this point – unemployed, no child support coming in, struggling to put food on the table.

With the help of Hope through Housing’s Family Opportunity Center, Marisol has been able to line up job interviews, and through Catholic Charities has been able to get assistance with her rent. But it’s been anything but easy.

“I’ve been going through some really hard times,” she said one recent afternoon. “I want to work. I want that stability for me and my children.”

Marisol’s story is one of millions across the country that speak to the need for quality affordable housing and support services. She lives in Montclair’s San Antonio Vista apartments, developed, built and managed by Rancho Cucamonga-based National Community Renaissance (CORE). With nearly 9,000 units across four states, CORE is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit developers of affordable and senior housing, and one of the few that also builds, manages and provides transformational social services at its communities.

The latter are provided by CORE’s Hope through Housing subsidiary, and include preschool and after-school services and, in the case of San Antonio Vista, a Family Opportunity Center. FOCs, as they are known, are a one-stop system that allows families and individuals to work with financial coaches to set and achieve short-term and long-term economic goals. They are also linked to appropriate service providers to remove any barrier on the path to financial stability.

Marisol said her apartment managers at San Antonio Vista “have been such a help during this time” – something Hope’s senior vice president, Natalie Reider, says is part of the organization’s DNA.

“When we talk about transforming lives and communities, it’s more than just words. It’s what we commit to,” Reider says.

Steve PonTell, President and CEO of National CORE, says the Family Opportunity Center concept is a partnership between Hope and residents.

“This is all about providing residents with the tools they need to move from dependency to self-sufficiency,” PonTell says. “In the end, everyone benefits – residents and the community at large.”

Hope’s Family Opportunity Center model is based on the Annie E. Casey Foundation one-stop centers that have proven successful in assisting families increase their income and assets, improve their credit and decrease their debt. Each family who comes to Hope’s FOC works with a financial coach to set long-term economic goals such as purchasing a home, creating an emergency savings fund or obtaining an educational certificate or degree. Action steps are created and monitored to help families reach this goal. Families also have access to a myriad of services to eliminate the barriers that keep them from obtaining financial security.

Research shows that participants in programs such as this are three to four times more likely to achieve major economic success than if they had received only one type of service.

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About National CORE

National Community Renaissance, based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit developers of affordable housing. CORE manages nearly 9,000 affordable, senior and market-rate units in California, Arkansas, Texas and Florida. Over the past two decades, its Hope through Housing subsidiary has provided more than 2 million hours in supportive services to enhance quality of life, including preschool, afterschool, senior wellness and upward mobility programs. For more information on both organizations, please visit www.nationalcore.org or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nationalcore.

Contact: Steve Lambert, The 20/20 Network
(909) 841-7527/ steve@the2020network.com

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