Since opening its doors in June of 2003, HOPE has served thousands of local individuals and families through our agency’s mission to prevent homelessness and promote self-sufficiency and dignity. HOPE began as a merger of an onsite food pantry and a mentoring program to HUD transitional housing residents. In 2004, in partnership with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, HOPE’s pantry was converted into the first and only client choice pantry in Baton Rouge. In 2005, as a result of both the need and opportunities created by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, our programs were expanded to include an adult education component that has proven to be fundamental in attaining our mission. HOPE also identified a need for a broader community education initiative on poverty and the effects poverty has on a community. Since 2009, HOPE’s team has educated people from across the state and from a variety of organizations and companies on the causes of poverty and its influence on how our community looks, feels and acts. In 2015, after making several programmatic course corrections to better meet the needs of the community, HOPE consolidated and rebranded its mentoring program and shifted the focus of that program to a dedicated workforce development division that provides intensive services to improve workforce access and opportunity through success coaching of both employees and employers. Through HOPE’s programs, our board, team and volunteers help meet needs and move people forward.
In 2013, HOPE celebrated its 10th anniversary of service to the Greater Baton Rouge area and Louisiana. HOPE is a partner of choice for the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination (BRAVE) project, helping to reduce violent crime in our community by working on issues with offenders and their families and working closely with the DA’s office, Baton Rouge Police and Sheriff Departments and the Mayor’s office. HOPE is also a partner agency for the North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative.
HOPE’s Client Choice Food Pantry addresses food insecurity in the 70805 zip code by providing wraparound services including nutritious food selections, outreach to stabilize access to federal assistance programs, one-on-one guidance and referrals to other resources, and education to support healthy lifestyle choices. The supplemental food assistance provided in HOPE’s food pantry is distributed in a grocery store setting that promotes dignity by encouraging clients to select food that best suits the nutritional and health needs of their families.
The Way to Work –Sustainable Workforce SOLUTIONS© trains people to keep jobs and companies to keep people. This division of HOPE provides both employer and client-centered resources to help participants achieve and maintain employment, economic, and family stability. HOPE’s Success Coaches work with employee participants to identify and overcome barriers to employment and employment advancement, offer life- and soft-skills education, and assist participants in identifying strategies to improve economic stability. In addition, HOPE also helps employers understand challenges faced by, and improve relationships with their employees to create a stronger, more stable workforce.
After using a purchased curriculum for several years, and finding it did not adequately meet the needs of our target audience, HOPE developed the Going Beyond© workshop series which teaches participants how to understand the relationship between personal resources and behaviors and how to overcome barriers to self-sufficiency and realize greater employment and personal stability. This educational series gives participants time to learn new concepts about topics like conflict resolution, teamwork, professionalism, workplace culture, initiative, and attitude.
Understanding the Dynamics of Poverty© and Understanding Your Workforce© are six-hour professional development workshops for managers and supervisors, case managers, social workers or anyone who wants to learn more about the impact of poverty on the community and in the workforce. Topics such as the four causes of poverty, quality of life indicators and learned behaviors are covered in great detail helping participants appreciate the differences in people coming from varied socio-economic backgrounds. These workshops are held throughout Louisiana.