Image Credit: Lacey Stecker

HOPE House Builds Strong Communities and Second Chances

What happens when a dentist donates his clinic to Washington Conference? A community builds hope for others.

HOPE House of Tacoma, first conceived in 2014, has emerged as a beacon of hope for the community. Celebrating its grand opening on July 16, 2023, this unique initiative aims to aid former inmates with their reintegration into society.

HOPE House is a six-month program. The initial three months are funded by the Department of Corrections, providing residents with crucial support during their transitional period.

The last three months are covered by the residents, who are assisted in finding employment opportunities to sustain their stay. HOPE House diligently works with residents facing financial difficulties, ensuring they receive the necessary support to succeed.

Currently housing two occupants with more anticipated soon, the facility can accommodate up to six individuals, offering thoughtfully furnished rooms which residents can personalize. Food is provided upon arrival, but residents are responsible for providing for themselves thereafter.

HOPE House not only provides shelter, but also focuses on spiritual growth through voluntary weekly Bible studies led by Floyd Marshall, Washington Conference prison ministry coordinator. Though participation in these studies is not required, according to Nelson Miles, HOPE House chairperson, everyone attends.

The transformation of a dental clinic into HOPE House was made possible through generous donations. Everything except for a large television in the common area was contributed, including kitchen appliances, furniture and even a chandelier for the entryway. Volunteers played a pivotal role, completing approximately 65% of the renovation work.

Initially, the community was against the project. Petitions were submitted to the city and protests took place requesting HOPE House not be established. HOPE House took proactive measures to address these apprehensions.

Cleveland Houser, North American Division prison ministry leader, authored a comprehensive resource guide outlining the establishment of HOPE House and clarifying safety regulations and procedures. This transparency helped alleviate the community's worries and build trust.

Current resident Jose Martinez has been staying in HOPE House for two months. “The support we have here and the location are really good,” he said. With the help of HOPE House and the fast food job he landed, he’s able to dream big. “What I want to do is gather up some money and then start a handyman business out here.”

More than just a shelter, HOPE House fosters a Christian community for former inmates, encouraging relationships with neighbors and promoting self-reliance. The project creates a safe and welcoming environment for those seeking a second chance in life.

Featured in: September/October 2023