H.O.P.E, Inc. is dedicated to increasing the number of single parent graduates in the state of Georgia and ultimately nationwide.
Single parents are some of the most resilient people we know, and we created a 501c3 tax-exempt organization to empower, encourage, and equip low-income single parents to obtain a college degree, develop essential life skills, and ultimately become self-sufficient through wrap-around services including financial assistance for housing and childcare, community resources, financial training, and counseling.
Our approach is unique and effectively changing lives.
H.O.P.E, Inc. (Helping Other People be Empowered) began in November 2009 as a passion and focus of the CEO, and founder, Kenita Smith. As a former single parent, she struggled to complete her B.B.A & M.B.A. She noticed that there was not much support for single parents trying to finish their college education, and she wanted to create an organization that would allow her to give HOPE to others that are in the same situation she was in at a season in her life.
The number one reason students do not finish their college education is due to financial stress. The government supports single parents with rent financially (up to $250) if they are not employed, and only assists with childcare if the parent is enrolled in school to receive a diploma or certificate, and has an income under the poverty level for their household.
Yet, what about those single parents who want to improve their quality of life through furthering their education? We assist single parents by providing them with rent and childcare assistance up to $400 a month while they attend a two or four-year accredited college or university. The assistance is paid directly to the landlord, mortgage, or apartment leasing offices, and direct licensed child care providers on behalf of the program participants.
We determine eligibility by conducting an intake and application process. Each individual must provide the following for consideration:
- An application
- Proof of dependency
- Proof of residency
- Proof of employment and income (last four check stubs)
- Proof of Enrollment in a Two or Four year college
- Current/last semester transcripts.
And what’s even more amazing, applicants are not expected to pay to participate in our program.
We affect change!
We offer assistance to single parents when they need it the most. We believe in helping those who are trying to help themselves. It can take single parents 6-15 years to complete their degree. We make sure they have the support they need to finish in under six years and decrease their anxieties regarding shelter and childcare.
A single mother of three, contacted H.O.P.E. Inc. for financial assistance when she found herself living on a friend’s couch, homeless, trying to pursue her college studies. With our help, she was able to get off her friend’s couch and graduate with an associate degree.
A single mother of two needed our help after escaping an emotionally abusive relationship and relocating from Rhode Island. After years of searching, she finally found the rent assistance help she needed through H.O.P.E, Inc.
A single mother of three struggled to keep a roof over her children’s heads while attending college. After numerous shelters and transitional housing, she found HOPE.
I didn't used to think I was good at anything, but now I think I might be good at drawing. I can draw a dog and a cat and a flower now. Next week I'm learning how to draw a bird. Animals are my favorite things to draw. I feel really calm and peaceful when I'm drawing in the studio.
I like to write, and Mr. Tokarski is teaching me how to write poetry. We read together every day so that I can discover poets I like. Shel Silverstein and Edward Lear are my favorites, and I have written 3 poems so far. I always feel great when I finish one. I hope to be a writer someday!
Healing Heart Studios has given me a place where I can practice my flute after school. I was never able to do that at home, but now I have a soundproof room to play in. Mrs. Pearson taught me how to write the notes down on staff paper, and now I'm composing music!
I can’t wait to go to the Studio every day after school. They always have fun art projects for me to do and they also give me food to take home so that I’m not hungry when I do my homework later.
Mentoring for Healing Hearts Studios is, hands down, the most rewarding volunteer experience I’ve ever been involved with! Seeing the genuine smiles on the kid’s faces after how much I know they’ve endured is priceless.
I have seen such a big difference in my son and daughter. They have a safe place to play afterschool while I work multiple jobs as a single mom. I am so grateful to the wonderful staff at Healing Hearts for giving them a creative outlet!
Want to read more?
We have many great success stories just like these to read about.
Check out some of them below.
Taylor struggled to make ends meet by working a part-time job and attending a local community college. She reached out to H.O.P.E, Inc. for childcare assistance and was able to graduate with her associate degree.
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify?
Proof of residency is required and a copy of your social security card, birth certificate, or U.S. passport will be required upon application.
Do I have to have a job or can I qualify if I am unemployed?
No, you must be gainfully employed either full-time or part-time for at least 6 consecutive months prior to applying. Proof of employment/proof of income (the last 4 paycheck stubs) will be required.
Is there a minimum/maximum income I need to make to qualify?
All applicants need to show a “financial need” as determined by our criteria. Details will be discussed during a phone interview.
What if I receive government, state, SSI, or disability benefits instead of a paycheck?
Although you have a “source” of income, our participants must be actively employed to receive our assistance. We strive to assist single parents that do not have any resources available through other government programs, and there are other programs that support SSI benefits recipients.
Do I have to be currently attending college or can I apply if I plan to go to college soon?
Our participants must already be enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited 2 year or 4-year college or university, which includes junior colleges and private colleges, and maintain a B average/ 2.75 GPA. Proof of academic enrollment is required showing GPA and transcripts must be submitted after each semester/quarter.
What is considered a college degree?
A college undergraduate degree is an associate or bachelor’s degree administered by a 2 year or 4-year college or university, which includes junior colleges and private colleges. Certifications, diplomas, or any trade-specific degrees are not eligible degrees.
Do I need to have my high school diploma?
Our participants must be a high school grad or have successfully attained their GED.
I am a single parent. Can I get assistance for a graduate school degree?
We reserve our assistance for single parents in an undergraduate school program, at a 2-year or 4-year college or university, both public and private.
Can I get assistance paying tuition?
We do not offer scholarships or tuition assistance. At times, we may receive scholarship opportunities from local organizations looking to assist single parents with tuition, and we refer them to our participants at that time.
Do you cover books and school supplies?
We look at opportunities like this on a one-time-only emergency basis and only provide this assistance to a participant currently in our program.
I am interested in childcare assistance. At what age will my children no longer be eligible?
If your child is old enough to not attend childcare, you are not eligible to receive childcare assistance. Proof of dependency will be required. Childcare assistance is provided up to $100 per week, regardless of the number of children you have. Assistance will be made available to qualified participants for a maximum of 2 years for a 2-year college or 4 years for a 4-year college, as long as the children are still eligible to attend childcare. Vouchers are issued directly to the childcare provider.
How long can I get assistance paying my rent?
Once your children, still living with you, are old enough to be employed, you are no longer eligible for rent assistance. Proof of dependency will be required. As a qualified participant, rent assistance will be made available for up to $400 per month for a maximum of 2 years for a 2-year college and 4 years for a 4-year college. Subsidized housing vouchers are paid directly to the landlord.
I don’t live in Georgia. Can I still apply?
At this time, we are only accepting applications from those in the Metro Atlanta area. However, in the past, we have been known to accept applicants from out-of-state or grant ONE-TIME ONLY EMERGENCY assistance to participants that have moved out of state.
Can I apply in person?
All applications are accepted only through our online system.
Is there a number I can call with questions?
Due to limited staff, we prefer to receive all inquiries or applications via our website, for better handling. However, you may leave us a message at (678)695-6688 if you have questions that have not been answered on our website FAQ. We will return your call at our earliest convenience.
How soon will I know the status of my application?
We make every attempt to respond to each application quickly; however, due to the volume of applications received each day, we appreciate your patience. We will respond via email as soon as your application and required documents have been received, reviewed, and processed. If additional information is needed, we will also let you know via email. If you are eligible, you will receive an email requesting times for a phone interview. If you are ineligible, a denial letter will be sent by email.
If accepted will I have to pay the funds back?
No. The funds received are not loans and are not required back.
If I applied before and was not approved, am I eligible to apply again?
Yes, you are able to apply again if you meet the criteria when you submit your new application.
Is there a waiting list for applicants?
We do not have a waiting list but will enforce one when our program capacity has been met. If there is a waiting list you will be notified at the time of your initial interview.
“H.O.P.E, Inc. was very encouraging to me through the whole process. It felt very good to have someone’s support that understood the special needs of a single mother like me, trying to work, provide for my young daughter and pursue a college education. I want to encourage anyone who is trying to balance work, college, and motherhood to give them a call and learn more about how they can help. The good thing is, H.O.P.E, Inc. will let you know that you’re not alone.” – Melissa