by Debbie O’Handley, Executive Director
Hope House Foundation
Hope—what does that mean?
It’s a gift that is invisible but yet can been seen! Visible hope exists in our Lake Norman community at the Hope House Foundation! The foundation is located in Huntersville and seeks to provide hope and supportive services to women and children who are situationally homeless.
There are different types of homelessness, including chronic and situational. Each comes with their unique concerns and solutions. The Hope House Foundation provides a solution and hope in our community for those experiencing situational homelessness. Unlike chronic homelessness, situational homelessness means that a person or family has encountered a sudden problem resulting in their financial safety net to unravel.
The families we target have fallen on hard times because of a job layoff, underemployment, divorce or loss of relationship, medical expense, death of a spouse or other such unexpected occurrence. In September of 2018, we welcomed home a family that had been displaced because of Hurricane Florence. They lost everything in the hurricane but with the supportive help of this community they found new employment, enrolled in school and are now renting a home that is safe and affordable. Locally, we welcomed home a family this past Spring who lost everything in the Admirals Quarters condo fire.
A sense of security and belonging
Being without a safe and warm place to sleep, eat, and care for children—being without the security of familiar people and a sense of belonging—this is homelessness. The loss of a home is a crisis for anyone, but especially for families, as parents must endure the heartache of not being able to provide one of the most basic resources for healthy development: a home.
How Hope House helps
Hope House of Huntersville provides housing and supportive services to the homeless women and children for six months. With the help of a supportive living environment and many volunteers, the women and children are connected to the services they need to transition into a more stable and self-sufficient living environment. These services include mental health, financial literacy, job coaching and medical and dental services.
Our process teaches accountability for actions and decision-making. It requires that each individual take personal responsibility for their circumstances and actively engage in their solution.
Hope House Foundation helps each family rebuild bridges that create access to services in our community that are necessary to establish stability and achieve sustainability. The Lake Norman community provides visible help to women and children giving them hope and changing their lives forever.
Debbie O’Handley has dedicated her career to finding hope and healing for homeless women and children. By focusing on the quality of life of this vulnerable population, Debbie has worked hard to create sustainable programs for families to feel safe, proud, and provide opportunities for parents to partner with their children for a brighter future.
In 2014, Hope House Foundation hired Debbie as their Executive Director. She brings her experience interacting with key decision-makers, community leaders, and family support agencies to raise awareness of the plight of the situationally homeless. In 2016, Debbie was voted as one of the seven top area not-for-profit leaders in the Lake Norman community.