Leaders from Buckner International broke ground today for a new Buckner Family Hope Center in Houston at the construction site of Star of Hope Mission’s Cornerstone Community located at U.S. 288 and Reed Road.
In an uncommon collaboration between nonprofits, Star of Hope Mission, Buckner and New Hope Housing are pooling their resources and expertise to create a community with a full range of services – geared at equipping underprivileged individuals and families for self-sufficiency – all in the same location. As part of this collaboration, Buckner Family Hope Center Houston will offer critical services, such as education, financial empowerment, child and youth development, family coaching and counseling, to strengthen vulnerable families and decrease the likelihood of abuse, neglect and the removal of children. It will be the fifth Buckner Family Hope Center in Texas and the second in Houston.
“What excites me most about this partnership is how three organizations, each with different models of ministry, were able to map out a complete continuum of services, fitting the strengths of each together like a puzzle,” said Buckner President and CEO Albert Reyes. “By partnering with two well-known Houston ministries, Buckner will be in a stronger position to better serve Houston than we ever would have been on our own.”
Buckner will also house a second program at Cornerstone Community, Buckner Family Pathways, which is slated to be located within one of New Hope Housing’s residential areas on the east side of the campus and will provide single-parent families housing, access to child care assistance and a variety of other services. Family Pathways programs protect families from domestic abuse, financial uncertainty, homelessness and hopelessness.
The vision of Star of Hope, a historic ministry to Houston’s homeless, Cornerstone Community will be a “transformational campus” for homeless families when its first phase is completed in 2017, said Star of Hope President and CEO Hank Rush.
“We’ve been providing services to the homeless for 109 years, but we asked, “’How could we do it better?’ We dreamed of a place where people can come and have basic services like emergency care, recovery services, personal development, job skills and placement. So why don’t we build a community and invite some ministry partners to go further?”
Star of Hope sought out partners to help create a continuum of services that would not only provide short-term solutions to homelessness, but longer-term answers to prevent it from reoccurring and to lift families from generational poverty.
“We began talking about Family Pathways and Family Hope Centers and our approach to working with families,” said Randy Daniels, Buckner vice president for program development. “A huge piece of that is affordable, safe housing and the dignity that comes with that. Hank and I talked about housing, and about partnering with New Hope.
“As we’ve talked to New Hope Housing, first through Star of Hope then directly, we found a same mind. In fact, we’ve found Houston to be innovative, with organizations willing to take some risks. I think God brought us together with the right people and the right model of services for this partnership.”
Joy Horak-Brown, president and CEO of New Hope, agreed. “There is a marvelous confluence of interest between these three organizations to create an internal continuum of care where families can enter in an emergency or by seeking programmatic assistance through Star of Hope, then to have affordable permanent housing right there on site through New Hope, and Buckner there to provide the critical programming supports, together we are lifting families out of generational poverty.”
Buckner has had a presence in the Houston community for more than 60 years, when it opened Buckner Baptist Haven retirement community in 1955. Buckner currently operates the Buckner Family Hope Center Aldine, Buckner Family Pathways and Parkway Place, a senior living community in Houston.