Hope House children are ages six weeks old to 5 years old and are impacted by HIV/AIDS. To make matters worse, all of these children live in extreme poverty. One-third of the children enrolled in the Hope House program are known to be HIV+ or are indeterminate and still undergoing testing. All of the Hope House children have a parent or caregiver who is HIV+ or has already died from AIDS related illnesses. Sadly, all of our families are low income, with 90 percent having annual incomes below $10,000. Because 97% of women and children in Shelby County infected by the HIV virus are African American, our clients are typically African-American.
The population of mothers and fathers Hope House serves is eager for a better life for their children. Most have never had a positive parental role model, a sole source of comfort, support and unconditional love. Hope House clients lack knowledge of basic life skills such as decision-making, problem solving, family responsibility, money management, telephone skills and basic understanding of the law, preventing them from sustaining employment. These mothers and fathers experience isolation and abandonment due to the need to hide their HIV/AIDS status from family, friends, and even employers. For most of these clients Hope House has become their support system, the network of people and services that offers guidance, encouragement, praise and a helping hand. All of our services mirror that of a parent nurturing her children into independence. It is the ultimate goal of Hope House to see to it that our families are self-sufficient and each of the programs is a stepping-stone to achieve independence.