We strengthen communities and provide pathways to economic and personal opportunity through affordable housing, educational programs and support services.
Hope Communities, Inc. was founded in 1980 by a citizen group concerned with the lack of decent, affordable housing in Denver. Beginning in the historic Five Points neighborhood, Hope Communities' geographic focus has expanded to include the city's northeast quadrant and East Colfax Avenue. While the development and operation of affordable housing has remained central, programs in education and community-building were added to assist residents and community members in reaching economic self-sufficiency.
In 1988, when Antilena was 10 years old, her family was caught in the crossfire of religious and ethnic persecution in Burma. Like many Burmese at the time, Antilena and her family were relocated to a Thai refugee camp. She remained there for the next 17 years of her life.
Making the best of a temporary-turned-permanent situation, Antilena took English classes, married, and had three children. While the camp had a hospital and a school, it lacked running water and electricity. Boredom and lack of work created a stressful environment, where drinking, drug use, and domestic violence were common.
Then, in 2005, the United Nations facilitated Antilena and her family's journey to Hope Communities. Here, she was provided with a safe and affordable apartment in which to raise her children, and enriched services that helped her integrate to life in the United States, including after-school programs for her children. In turn, Antilena has helped translate for new Burmese and Karen-speaking residents. She has created a new home for herself, saying "America is the best for me. It makes me feel good every day."
In Denver, Antilena tells us "I have a lot of friends" - not to mention running water and electricity. Antilena notes that her time here has made her reflect on 17 years in the refugee camp: "Someday I would like to advocate for women's rights," she says; "I saw a lot of abuse in the refugee camps. There are a lot of women's rights here. There is more freedom."
We are honored to help residents like Antilena with not only affordable housing, but programs that allow her to take advantage of everything the Denver community has to offer. Perhaps the most humbling praise is hearing Antilena say "I love Hope Communities," a simple recognition of all we do to help Denver families.