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What is the HOPE Program?

What is the HOPE Program?

The HOPE Program gives applicants a fighting chance against poverty through job training programs, education, and career placement opportunities.  Regardless of background, addiction problems, or criminal record, the HOPE Program promises to open the door to new opportunities and a brighter future in the New York area.

This nationally recognized service is ever-expanding, and new chances to get involved are opening up every day.  Read on to learn more about this amazing program and the opportunities it holds!

History of The HOPE Program

The HOPE Program was first founded in 1984 by Deborah MacFarlane-Antoine, a Columbia student who saw a need in her community and filled it.  Though she was a Ph.D. student at the time, she first received inspiration from this program while volunteering at a local soup kitchen. 

After getting to know the regulars, Deborah began by helping eight men prepare resumes and practice for job interviews.  All eight men secured the jobs they desperately needed! Unfortunately, due to a lack of support past that point, all men lost their jobs shortly after.

To Deborah MacFarlane-Antoine, this was a wake-up call. Deborah understood that the problems her community faced went far beyond her soup kitchen. These men needed more than just short-term support; they needed deeper training, assistance, support.  

From this short experience, the HOPE Program was born

From humble roots,  The Hope Program flourished, quickly gaining sponsors.  In 2013, the program was honored with the New York Association Professional Training and Employment Professionals Workforce Award.  The very same year, they were also chosen as a Bank of America Neighborhood Builder.

Their success has only grown from there.  Today, The Hope Program works to keep neighborhoods safe from the threat of Covid-19 while also continuing their job placement strategies.

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How it Works

The HOPE Program finds its success in education.  Instead of treating each person like a number in a lottery, they treat them as individuals.  With the help of counselors and caseworkers, The HOPE Program meets people where they are at in life before building them up better!

The HOPE Program works slowly over several weeks.  There’s no race to the finish line when you are looking at the long term! The first step in this process is to provide essential skills, like:

  • Digital literacy for resumes and online applications
  • Budgeting guidance
  • Counseling
  • English lessons (if necessary)
  • Basic math skills

From here, the program moves to a deeper level.  It considers the goals of each person, helps them gain any necessary certification, and guides them into a career they need.  During the training process, The HOPE Program ensures that every member is paid what they need to live with dignity!

The Impact of The HOPE Program

According to GiveWell, an organization dedicated to researching and rating charity organizations, The HOPE Program is a trustworthy organization with “extremely strong results.” 

You don’t have to take their word for it, though.  Look into the numbers for yourself!

The Statistics of Success

The history of this program shows great success.  Over 73  percent of participants receive long-term jobs every year, building careers rather than just “quick-fix” positions. Of this percentage, 81 percent receive full-time employment. 

From the start, graduates of The HOPE Program receive an average minimum wage of $16.78.  That’s well above the city’s minimum wage! In 2020 alone, graduates from this program earned a whopping 15.8 million dollars.

Once they’ve earned a job, graduates of The HOPE Program don’t usually lose it. In the entire country, only 72 percent of jobs are maintained for over 90 days.  For graduates of the HOPE Program, that number leaps to 93 percent! That’s because graduates of this program leave empowered with the skills and the drive necessary to make it the distance.

As I mentioned before, the HOPE Program is all about the long-term.  Follow-up studies showed that 49 percent of graduates went on to receive advanced positions within their chosen careers.  All that studying is definitely worth it when you’ve got the future in mind!

The Human Impact

Statistics are a great way to study the large-scale impact, but to truly understand the effect that a program like this can have, you need to look at the real-life, human impact.

The HOPE Programs’ greatest power is in the way it can transform the lives of people disadvantaged by poverty and crime.  This program looks beyond someone’s appearance to understand the true story of their life.

Take Christopher, for example.  He came to the HOPE Program during one of the lowest points of his life.

“My first prison sentence was 5 years,” he says, “my second was a decade. Even with an education, I came into the world 40 years old, almost no job experience, and in the midst of a pandemic. It was a scary time. My parole officer told me about HOPE and they embraced me in a way that changed everything.”

For the first time, Christopher had access to computer classes.  The program guided him through the training process, helping him earn the skills and certifications he needed to build back a new life. Through their green initiatives, Christopher was able to earn a job working for a solar panel installation company.

Still, if you were to ask Christopher, he’d say that the program provided more for him than just job training.

 He says, “They helped me cultivate something new inside of me and grow. “ 

It is through this renewed sense of confidence that The HOPE Program is truly able to work its magic. 

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The HOPE Program offers guidance to those in need all over the NYC area!

How to Apply

If you’re curious about how this program can impact your life, attend an interest meeting!  Virtual meetings are held every Tuesday and Thursday through this Zoom link. 

For those who’d rather attend an in-person meeting, please complete this quick, easy online form before attending. In-person meetings are held every Wednesday at 1:00 at each of these locations:

  • Our Brooklyn site: 1 Smith Street, 4th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201
  • Our Bronx site: 1360 Garrison Ave, Bronx, NY 10474

To be eligible for this program, all you have to do is:

  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Come ready for full time or part-time employment
  • Be legally allowed to work in the US

That’s all there is to it!  No high school or college diploma is necessary. There may be other specific requirements depending on your personal job goals, but the counselors at the HOPE Program will help you figure out those points on a one-by-one basis. 

To read more tips about how to get that job you’ve been dreaming of check out our easy guide!


No one should feel any shame about being trapped in a bad situation.  Whether due to homelessness, domestic violence, or simply bad luck, everyone is there at some point.  When you are, you deserve the helping hand you need to get back on your feet. 

Reach out and let The HOPE Program be that helping hand in your life!

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Jessica Richburg is a freelance writer and educator. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, she's located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where she passes the time reading, writing, and trying not to be eaten by her feral cat.

Dianna Dowell

Sunday 6th of February 2022

Hi my is Dianna Dowell i'm disabled and living on disability can the hope program help find housing i'm far my family and my health is bad i've a seizure disorder, i'm crippled, i have chronic pain all over my body from fibromyalgia and arthritis, high blood pressure and scoliosis so and I don't have section 8 or any type of housing and I am desperate need to move in the hwy 6 and Keith harrow area of Hou tx near family! BCUZ I am 54 my seizures has gotten so bad that my doctor have had to put a VNS in my chest to send electric shocks to my brain to help save my life but it's important for me to be closer to family now and all I have is an award letter and my disability low income in which to pay the bills and I'm willing to pay if you can help it would be a blessing! Thank u


Thursday 10th of February 2022

Low Income Relief is an information service and does not provide cash or items directly. You will need to search our website for information about organizations that can help you meet those needs. Chat with Lira, she might be able to help!