HOPE is a multi-issue, grassroots, community organization consisting of 23 multicultural and interfaith member congregations throughout Hillsborough County. HOPE is a non-partisan, private, non-profit, 501(c) 3, tax-exempt, community organization founded and incorporated in the State of Florida in 1988.

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HOPE’s mission is to promote justice, fairness, and the dignity of people, by engaging and training people to responsibly and successfully act together to hold officials accountable to improve the systems affecting the quality of life in our communities. We do that by a) training residents to identify common community problems experienced by families and neighbors, b) meeting with local experts and decision makers to better understand the problems and identify long-term solutions, and c) take action to hold decision makers accountable to implement the long-term systemic solutions.

HOPE is funded in three ways: 1) Membership Dues from member organizations; 2) Investments from individuals, small businesses, and local corporations; and 3) Private Grants.  HOPE does not accept United Way or Government funds.

HOPE’s Long-range goals are:

  1.  Strengthening the ability of members to act on their values of love, respect, fairness and dignity of people.
  2.  Engaging members in listening and relationship building to identify and prioritize common community problems;
  3.  Enhancing the skills of members to connect with others to build the power needed to hold our social, political and economic systems accountable for fair policies and procedures that ensure justice;
  4.  Correcting inequities in education, housing, healthcare, employment, criminal justice, transportation, public services, police protection, and neighborhood infrastructure.

Here’s a list of some of HOPE’s successful issue work – we’re proud of our members’ effective justice work!

YOUTH

Civil Citations: Got Chief Judge, State Attorney, Public Defender, Sheriff and Police Chiefs to reduce the arrests of children by changing Hillsborough policy. The policy was expanded to include juvenile misdemeanor offenses eligible for Juvenile Civil Citations by state law thereby protecting children’s futures, increasing public safety and saving tax payer money. Also, helped expand FL Civil Citation law so officers can give children Civil Citations for misdemeanor offenses up to three times and expanded the use of arrest diversion programs so they exist throughout Florida.

EDUCATION REFORM

Suspensions:  Got the School District to establish the Alternative To Out of School Suspension program, which each year supervises and protects the GPAs of thousands of suspended children., enabling them to graduate.

Reading: Got $921,000 in state funding for Hillsborough School District to implement Direct Instruction (DI) reading program for children in 10 low performing elementary schools. Helped get $7.25  million in state funding for DI in 7 Florida School Districts.

Minority Teachers:  Won employment of a Minority   Teacher Recruiter by the School District to hire more Black & Hispanic teachers.

EMPLOYMENT

Fair Chance Hiring: Persuaded Tampa City Council to pass the Tampa Criminal History Screening Practices Ordinance to reduce discrimination and open doors to jobs for people with criminal records.

Job Training:  Got HCC to create 9 Fast Track Job Skill Certificate Programs to equip people with job skills and do outreach to the unemployed..

Jobs: Helped establish the Tampa Women/Minority  Business Enterprise Ordinance.

HEALTH CARE

Elder Care: Got County to increase in-home services for seniors to live healthy and with dignity in their homes by allotting $3 million to Department of Aging Services.

Dental Services:  Increased dental services for people with low incomes by gaining at least 36 more dental chairs and construction of additional clinics.

Behavioral Health: Helped expand Drug Court so more non-violent offenders get needed treatment instead of jail.

CRIME PREVENTION

Prostitution:  Code Enforcement and Tampa Police Department cleaned up prostitution & illegal drug activity near congregation with health clinic and day care center.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Bus Service: Got the HART Bus System to extend late night bus service until 1 am on 8 major routes so people can get to and from jobs.

HOUSING/HOMELESS

Affordable Housing: Got County Commissioners to put $5.125 million of local funds toward housing affordable for working families and seniors with low incomes.

Birth Certificates and IDs:  Got Hillsborough County to establish program to assist homeless in getting birth certificates and IDs in order to obtain shelter and jobs.

Rent:  The County and Clerk of Circuit Court committed to expedite rent assistance checks so landlords receive them within 14 days.

NEIGHBORHOOD IMPROVEMENT

Rezoning: Reclaimed a historic residential African American West Tampa neighborhood, Dobyville, by reversing Industrial Zoning to Residential and Mixed Use Zoning, leading to the maintenance and development of new and old housing.

Demolition:  Successfully encouraged the Mayor of Tampa to demolish and clean up the abandoned Belmont Heights Lumber Company, a dangerous health, safety, and fire hazard in the East Tampa community.

Sidewalks:  Convinced the City of Tampa to construct a 1.2-mile sidewalk on 22nd Street in East Tampa at a cost of $65,000 to City of Tampa, which led to construction of many other sidewalks in the area.

Code Enforcement:  Persuaded the City of Tampa to rehabilitate or demolish 200 condemned buildings and cut over 100 gravely overgrown and dangerous empty lots, as well as a 50% increase in Tampa Code Enforcement Budget.

Infrastructure:  Obtained traffic signs, street repair, drainage, and upgraded street lighting in Belmont Heights, Ybor City, Tampa Heights and Jackson Heights from Tampa’s Department of Public Works.

Prostitution:  Convinced the Code Enforcement Division, Tampa Police Department, and City Council to clean up the prostitution and illegal drug activity on and around a Hispanic congregation, Daycare Center and Health Clinic on N. Nebraska Avenue.

Leadership Development

Training:  Hundreds of individual members each year attend workshops to develop important skills related to leadership, issue development, and community organization.

Want to find out more? Contact us here!