In a city experiencing rapid population growth and exorbitant rental rates, Hope Communities, a local leader in affordable housing and support services, is using its 40th anniversary year to highlight its impact on vulnerable individuals and families throughout the Denver metro area
Hope Communities was established in 1980 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by a group of concerned citizens, troubled by the growing number of friends and neighbors who were unable to gain ground financially due to economic and social barriers coupled with a lack of safe, affordable housing. The organization, co-founded by community activists Ray and Marilyn Stranske, originated in Denver’s historic Five Points neighborhood to help residents who might have been pushed out otherwise to stay in their community. Ray and Marilyn Stranske point out that “Hope Communities has never been about just building buildings, but rather about building community. As reflected in the Hope Communities’ vision, working alongside community residents and other community organizations, Hope strengthens the fabric of community by providing safe places that people can call home and assisting them with the resources they need to thrive.”
One of only six founding members of Enterprise Community Partners (https://www.enterprisecommunity.org/), a pioneering and nationwide affordable housing developer, Hope Communities has helped create thousands of units of affordable housing in Denver over the last 40 years. Currently, Hope operates four affordable and supportive rental housing communities in the diverse Denver neighborhoods of East Colfax, Five Points, and Northeast Park Hill. Hope was founded on the belief that stable housing is a necessary foundation for self-sufficiency.
Building on its original mission, Hope uses a unique, integrated model of service to help individuals and families find and take advantage of economic opportunities through educational programs, resource navigation, and support services tailored to their needs. Programs and services are offered free of charge to Hope residents as well as to neighbors from the surrounding communities. This customized, holistic approach has been transformational for the more than 1,100 individuals Hope serves each year.
Through several special events planned for this 40th anniversary year, the public can learn about the work Hope is doing to build a community in which everyone has a safe place to call home and the resources they need to thrive. Events will include presentations and educational opportunities with some of Denver’s thought leaders, as well as community gatherings and celebrations. “The lack of affordable housing is arguably the most pressing issue in our community,” said Hope President and CEO Sharon Knight. “According to recent data released by the Colorado Department of Education, the number of homeless school-aged children in metro Denver has grown by 322% over the last ten years. With our resource navigation services and customized programs that increase equitable access to economic mobility, Hope Communities is a champion for people who have long been marginalized and disenfranchised.”
To better address the growing need for safe, affordable housing, Hope aims to expand within the next few years. For additional information on Hope Communities or to learn more about 40th Anniversary events and opportunities to get involved, visit https://www.hopecommunities.org/.