Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Hatcher.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Tina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am the founder and Executive director of Hope Impacts. We are a nonprofit organization that builds relationships and meets tangible needs of the chronically and situationally homeless in the Katy area. We became a nonprofit in 2014 when God opened my eyes to the reality of a homeless population in our prosperous community After asking around about what organization or church took care of the homeless in Katy. I was told no one did. I prayerfully asked God why someone wasn’t caring for the most vulnerable, and feeling a strong sense of needing to do something about the situation.
Hope Impacts was born. Hope Impacts comes from Jeremiah 29:11 which is my life verse and our organizational verse. ” For I know the Plans I have for you,” Says the Lord ” Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. To give you future and a hope”. We believe that EVERY PERSON was created by God and matters to God and every person was born for a purpose and God has a plan for them. We love them until they can believe that for themselves. It is not a quick fix, transactional outreach. It is a relational transformational ministry.
Our organization firmly believes that only by the grace of God go any of us and that we are all just one paycheck or one situation away from being homeless. The reason that we are so passionate about homelessness is because we have personal experience with many situations that attribute to the homeless situation in our own family. We have people that we love that have addiction issues, mental health issues, are unemployed and underemployed or live on a fixed income that does not cover their living expenses. We ourselves have been situational homeless due to my husband being let go after being with the same company for over 23 years and being unemployed for over a year.
At the end of that year when we had maxed out our credit cards and spent the severance money we had to survive. We had to move out of our house and rent it out. We had to have two out of our four children rent an apartment and move out on their own. We took a job at an assisted living facility where we had to live and work. It became our home and our income.
After 10 months they let us go. In one week we lost our home and our income and had no idea what we were going to do. Luckily we had some friends that were kind enough to let us live with them for about 2 months while we looked for answers. It became very real to me that we truly are just one paycheck away from being homeless. We had a family and friends that supported us, What if we had not had that support? We could have been living in our car like many of our street friends do. If it can happen to us, it can certainly happen to anyone.
My husband Scott and I both have family members that would have wound up homeless if it were not for the support of family and friends, and having insurance to get them the help they needed for addiction or mental health issues. Who is there to be an advocate for those that don’t have the ability to care for themselves or make good decisions regarding their health and their future? Everyone deserves to be treated with Dignity and respect. God tells us to love Him, and love others. This changes the world in real tangible ways.
We do not give money to people on the streets. We do meet their needs. We make sure they have clothes, sleeping bags, blankets, shoes, backpacks, food, hygiene items and someone to talk to and pray with them. We invite them to come to our office to get a shower, food, use our computers to help with getting them their identification needed to apply for work, get their benefits, look for a car, or a place to live.
We have weekly and monthly outreach events that we invite them to so they can build relationships and make connections and realize that they are not the only ones that are in the situations they are in. We have a bible study on Mondays at a restaurant in Katy where we feed them food and the word and pray with them and celebrate and mourn with them.
We have “Showers of Love” at one of the churches in Katy on Tuesday evening where different churches/groups bring a hot meal and come to build relationships with them. They get a good home cooked meal, a hot shower, some grocery items, hygiene items, and some good fellowship. On Saturday nights we invite them to join us at The Prodigals service at another church in Katy where they hear stories of healing, hope, redemption, and restoration. The worship is geared for those that are healing or hurting and they welcome those that may not otherwise feel comfortable in a “normal” church setting.
The first Saturday of every month we do an outreach breakfast where different churches come together and sponsor the breakfast and some of our community nonprofit partners come together and we meet a variety of needs. We have a nice hot meal, clothing, hygiene, a healing and prayer ministry, a kids zone, a hot breakfast and worship, word and a testimony of what God is doing in the lives of our Hope Impacts community. We invite not only our street friends, but also families living in hotels or motels, or being served by our other nonprofit agencies so that they can get support and build community. Many in crisis tend to isolate. We are intentional about reaching out to those that are most vulnerable.
We have over 65 partners in the community that consists of other non-profits, churches, businesses, and individuals that help us meet the needs of our street friends and the under-resourced. We have helped 50 people get off the streets in our community of Katy TX over the last 3 years. We have helped 10 people get off the streets in 2017. We have seen 4 people go to rehab this year. We have helped over 30 people get medical and mental help. We have helped over 14 families refurnish their homes from nothing with donations from our Katy community this year.
We have helped 12 people get eyeglasses by partnering with an eye Dr. in town that is passionate about giving back and we have a dentist that agrees to see one client a month to help with simple dental procedures like pulling teeth and fillings. We have helped 6 families starting over to make sure they had something under the tree for their children and we had a Christmas party for our street friends where 42 homeless got something on a wish list that they needed to show them that they mattered to someone on Christmas.
We have a hair stylist that comes once a month to offer free haircuts because when you look good you feel better about yourself. We partner closely with the Homeless outreach teams of HPD and HCSD to identify the greatest need of those living on the streets and assessing the best way to help them. We work with the Homeless Coalition to determine eligibility for housing programs for those that we serve. We partner with KCM for social services and domestic abuse cases as well as a food pantry. We take all of our street friends to Christ Clinic for excellent health care.
The hospitals know me from sitting in waiting rooms and ERs so that our friends are not alone. We partner closely with Clothed by Faith to provide all of our friends with nice, gently worn clothing, shoes, coats, and accessories as well as new socks and underwear. We even have provided folks with scrubs to go work in healthcare, and suits to go to court or go on an interview. We have fixed cars so people can keep their jobs or get to an interview. We have connected folks looking for hard workers with some of our folks that refuse to hold a sign and really just want to be able to work for what they need. With a dedicated financial support from a great nonprofit called The 25 Group, I was able to quit my FT job in July of 2016 and become an FT Executive Director to grow our organization.
By the end of 2018, I will be fully responsible for providing for my own salary, as well as space, and the salary of our PT Assistants. Thanks to a generous partnership with Kingsland Baptist Church we do have our own office space to meet needs of our friends in Katy. Others commit financial resources so that we can meet the needs of the marginalized in our community. We do not receive any government funding or grant money to provide for our organization. We are unapologetically a Christ-centered outreach that serves our community regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or personal beliefs or choices.
It is our goal to take away the nasty stigma of what a “homeless” person is like and educate people to the reality that we can all become ” Those” people given a bad situation in life. Hurricane Harvey I think really helped people realize that sometimes homelessness happens through no fault of your own. Sometimes nature causes it, illness causes it, the death of a breadwinner causes it, loss of a job causes it. There is no “Us” and “Them”. There is “We”.
We hope to educate folks about the reality of dealing with mental health issues in a system that is hard to maneuver and almost impossible to deal with if you have no money, advocates, insurance or resources. We hope to make people realize that there are addicts in homes and on the streets that need help, and we are there to offer them that help when they are ready. We never give up on anyone because God never gives up on us. We are all one day away from making a better choice for ourselves and getting the help we need. We love our friends right where they are but too much to leave them there. Just like God loves us,
Our ultimate goal is to provide affordable housing and job opportunities for those in our community. To have a place where they can use their gifts and talents, and be able to give back to the community and support themselves. Where they have a place to call their own and a community surrounding them with opportunity. love, prayers, and medical and mental help. Where there are gardens, animals, woodworking, hospitality training, community events, a theater, a library, art studio, mechanic shop, or whatever else the people in the community need to be self-supportive and be able to give back.
We have no affordable housing in Katy, No shelters, No rehabs, No local transportation. When we help people we have to send them to Houston to get the needed services. We want to be able to offer those same services in the suburbs and provide an opportunity for our community to recognize the benefits of helping others to make their lives better benefits us all. We believe in living out Matthew 25 and giving food to the hungry, drinks to the thirsty, hospitality to the stranger, clothes to the naked, care to the sick, relationship to the prisoner, the orphans, the widows, and the lost and lonely. Hope Impacts seeks to provide hope to the hopeless, homeless, helpless and under-resourced people to the Katy Community through tangible acts of love.
Our mission is to network caring people providing partnerships, information, and resources to address the physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual needs of the homeless, helpless and under-resourced in the Katy Community. No ones lives are changed without relationships, and without God. We let them know we love them, and God loves them. We trust that God will do the rest in his perfect timing.
Our web page is www.hopeimpacts.net. We have a Hope Impacts Facebook page. We welcome people to connect with us in a variety of ways. Please consider partnering with us in prayer, contributions, donations, volunteering, hosting a speaking opportunity for us, or coming and doing life with us. God uses everything for His glory. Hope truly does impact lives. Our real hope is in Christ.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road at all. The first 2 years I was building relationships with the homeless I was working an FT job and doing this is the evenings and the weekends. I was going out and feeding people, giving them blankets, coats, socks, sleeping bags, etc. With very little financial support and the frustration that so much more needed to be done that I just was not capable of doing. My garage and an extra bedroom in my house became our storage facility.
Donations dropped on my doorstep made my house often look like an off-site Goodwill store. I spent many sleepless nights going through donations or sitting in a hospital room, or crying with someone that needed more help than I knew I was capable of giving them. My family and my health suffered because of the amount of hours I was putting in trying to meet needs. My family has invited 12 street friends to live in our home over the years to offer them a safe place to go and a hand up.
Most of the time it ended well, but occasionally it did not. It is hard on everyone when you want someone to get help and back on their feet more than they want it for themselves. We have had to put people back out on the street. Pack up their stuff, and even repossess a car that we were trying to sell someone we helped get a job. He quit making payments and skipped town. Several months later my family saw the car back in town and we went and took it back since it was not paid for. Luckily we had a contract and proof of all payments. Or lack thereof.
We have had the very people that we are trying to help turn on us. Spread rumors about us, cuss us out. threaten us, steal from us, and take advantage of us. We have learned along the way to have stronger boundaries and policies and procedures that were clear and concise so that our staff and volunteers were not disrespected or abused by our clients. We realize that there is a thin line between helping and enabling, and it is never our intent to enable anyone. We recognize we will not be able to help everyone. But we can help someone.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Hope Impacts – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Hope Impacts is an outreach ministry to the homeless in our community. Whether they are chronically or situationally homeless our goal is to build relationships with people and let them know that they matter and we are in this for the long haul. Even if we can not necessarily change their situation they are going to know that they are not invisible, nor voiceless. We are proud of the fact that through our partnerships in the community we have helped 50 people get off the streets.
We are proud of the fact that we make a difference in our community by bringing awareness of homelessness, addiction issues, mental health issues and help others overcome either their situation or their stigma. I think what really sets up apart is the fact that we are a relational organization. We are not strictly transnational. although we do help meet needs, we do not walk away when the situation or circumstance changes. Even those that we have helped house 2 years ago are still part of our Hope impacts family.
We offer opportunities for others in the community to get involved as well and build relationships with folks that are nothing like them. Many friendships have been forged through our outreach and our we realize that we are not just blessing others but that we are being blessed just as much by walking the journey with them, We are with them through thick and thin. As much as they allow us to be. We do have boundaries and expectations of what is help and what we can and can not do. They really know we CARE about them. It is not just our JOB. It is our purpose and our passion.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the fact that we are a city that loves and cares for others. We are compassionate, passionate, and generous. We are a great example of pride in our community, our city, and our state. We come together in amazing ways to meet needs. ie_ Hurricane Ike, Katrina, and Harvey. We welcome others into our cities and are very diverse culturally. We work hard and play hard. We are part of a strong Christian community known as the Bible belt ( or we used to be) We welcome those not like us. We have a great educational system.
I dislike the fact that we disregard others opinions and beliefs to the point of violence and threats. It is the negative part of the diversity of our city. We spew hatred out of ignorance of others culture or life choices. We are quick to judge others and use social media to attack mercilessly. We have become disrespectful of our government, our lawmakers, our first responders, our bosses, our teachers and our parents. We blame our president for everything. We can be entitled and spoiled, and selfish. We think that we have to sue anyone that does not give us what we think we should have or who disagrees with us. We have an epidemic of sex trafficking, child abuse, animal abuse and drug abuse.
We need to come up with SOLUTIONS to the problems we recognize. Like Homelessness. We need a better medical and mental health care system. We need to respect fundamental Christians the same way we ask them to respect all the other religious belief systems. We need to cut back on the judgment of others and learn that if we aren’t part of a solution we are part of a problem.
- Address: 802 Dominion Suite 300 Katy, TX 77450
- Website: www.hopeimpacts.net
- Phone: 713-705-7884
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: @hopeimpacts
- Twitter: #hopeimpacts
Jay Cooper of Candelight Productions