DAY OF GIVING: Hope House has forever mission

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By ANTHONY FLORES
As one of the seven charities taking part in the 2020 Day of Giving on June 26, Hope House is aiming to use the opportunity to bolster its longtime mission of providing those with severe mental and physical disabilities a place where they can receive high levels of care.

“Hope House has been in Liberty Hill for over 50 years serving the community and surrounding areas,” said Hope House Development Director Erland Schulze. “We’re helping those who are severely or mentally disabled.”

The charity began in the mid-1960s and continued to expand over the decades.

“We have four homes for residents,” said Schulze. “All of our senior adults were kids in the mid-60s still living here now.”

Three of Hope House’s locations are in downtown Liberty Hill, and the first home is just six miles out of town and home to 18 people, ages 6 to 12. Hope House is currently home to 35 residents.

For the residents, this is the only home they’ve known for decades because of its status as a forever home, and Schulze wants the community to know this is the most important reason to help.

“Many of the children who came in during the 60s are still living at Hope house today,” he said. “One of the unique things about Hope House is that it is a long-term forever home for these special people. We keep these beds open for as long as they need us, and we become their family.”

The service the organization provides is vital in the area because it’s one of the very few to offer this level of long-term services.

“There are no long-term homes in this area,” said Schulze. “There may be some outside of town or in another area of Texas, but there are few to no long-term homes in this area that gives them a place to live forever.”

Hope House has 54 full-time staff members who work three shifts a day to provide care for their residents. The job is vital because of the severity of disabilities. Residents need help with things most of us can do with ease.

“Our children can’t speak, so they’re unable to communicate, they are high level and need our staff to help bathe them, use the restroom and eat,” said Schulze. “We have in-home speech and physical therapy.”

During the Day of Giving last year, the organization raised enough funds to meet and exceed their goal.

“Last year, we were trying to raise $10,000 to remodel bedrooms and bathrooms for our fourth home,” said Schulze. “Doug Frazier and his sister Virginia Jackson saw us because of the Day of Giving and donated $6,000.”

The original goal for the 2020 Day of Giving was to raise another $10,000 to cover repairs and replace several essential items. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the original plans have changed. Schulze says that the money raised will now be used to support residents, pay staff, and sustain a high standard.

“We have some rigid standards we have to follow, so sanitizers are in critical demand,” he said. “The other issue we face is a 30 percent increase in our costs. We’ve seen them skyrocket with supplies and with salaries. We had these ideas about what we would like to use this money for, but at this particular time, I’m hoping people will consider helping us to sustain the residents.”

Hope House is one of seven local charitable organizations selected to participate in the 2020 Liberty Hill Day of Giving June 26. Learn more about Hope House at www.hopehouseaustin.org.

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