The program provides housing assistance and support services to low-income parents who are in school to assist them to become financially self-sufficient within a couple of years.
Participants receive help with rent while they complete an education or job training program and find employment in their field.
The program has an 85 percent graduation rate, said Program Director Carolyn Moore.
Graduates see their savings increase by an average of 850 percent, Moore said Wednesday.
“Through financial coaching and support services, their incomes increase on average by 61 percent through the course of the program,” Moore said.
The program started in 1991 to help low-income families find affordable housing and to develop skills to find a job.
“We’ve seen great successes,” Moore said.
The program is aimed to be a permanent solution out of poverty, she said.
Applicants must be enrolled in school in a practical field that is likely to lead to a job and will support their families, be a parent and low-income.
This year marks the program’s 25th anniversary. It has won awards from the state Assembly for being one of the best welfare to work programs and the federal department of Housing and Urban Development for best practices.
The nonprofit agency provides home-sharing services and houses 1,400 a year.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity break the cycle of poverty and move families through to prosperity,” said HIP’s Executive Director Kate Comfort Harr.
The program enables homeless families, or families at risk of becoming homeless, to make the transition to self sufficiency by providing a housing scholarship, connection to education and job training, case management, life-skills workshops and referrals to other community services.
Baraka and Sahibou Gambo are graduates of the program this year.
“HIP Housing has been such a great resource for our family in many, many ways. Through the workshops we attended and our case manager’s help, we learned how to manage our finances, persevere and follow our educational plans and achieve our professional goals,” the Gambos wrote in a statement.
The graduates were honored at the Sobrato Center for Nonprofits in Redwood City Wednesday night.
The average rent in San Mateo County for a one-bedroom is $2,575, a 52.3 increase in the past four years, according to the Housing Authority.
Go to hiphousing.org to learn more about the program.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102