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Faith-based non-profit gives HOPE to 2,000 homeless families
The original HOPE Family Shelter on West Yosemite Avenue. - photo by Bulletin photo
HOPE Ministries has been helping homeless families get back on their feet for 19 years.

The Manteca-based non-profit operates three shelters: One for families, one for single mothers and their children, and the other that serves as transitional housing.

The only government assistance the shelter receives is through Manteca Redevelopment Agency funds that help with building-related issues plus some federal funding. The state cut off homeless funding several years ago as the need becames more acute.

Staff and service cutbacks have allowed the shelter to get by with a $160,000 budget - $40,000 less than last year’s amount. Almost all of that money is generated through support of various churches, individuals, and organizations.

To make it possible for families to save money and get back on their feet in a two-month period work, the shelter tires to provide as much as the basics they can from food and everyday items such as toilet paper and personal hygiene products. They rely heavily on individuals to donate such items.

The non-profit organization was born in the middle of the recession that followed the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, the winding down of the aerospace industry, and massive closure of military bases in California. HOPE Ministries now struggles in the midst of the Great Recession to meet a need that has increased proportionately with Manteca’s record post World War II unemployment rate of 16 percent.

Since the doors of their first shelter opened in 1992 Hope Shelters have assisted more than 2,000 families get back on their feet.

The shelter’s success rate – people who basically end up being able to provide their own shelter – is just above 60 percent. It is a high rate among shelters. HOPE Executive Director Dave Thompson, who retired from the Manteca police force 11 years ago, credits it to counseling servings that are provided.

The counseling services address everything from money management to life choices.

HOPE Shelter has a zero tolerance policy toward drugs as well stringent requirements that tenants following a stringent program in the two months they have to get back on their feet financially.

Twenty-five percent of the homeless passing through HOPE Shelters are employed. Some financial event – including foreclosures on rental properties in the current climate – puts them out on the street. They can afford rent but not the deposit.

Others are helped to get back on their feet with assistance in getting a job. Due to the success HOPE has had with helping homeless families get their finances in order, a number of apartment complexes in Manteca have a working relationship with the non-profit and have no problem taking renters who’ve been at HOPE shelter.

For more information or to help with donations of money or items, call 824-0658.