In 1982, police in Independence, Missouri, repeatedly responded to domestic violence incidents in the same homes because there were no available beds at Kansas City’s shelters. Barbara Potts, then Mayor of Independence, and a group of concerned citizens met to discuss the need for a domestic violence shelter in eastern Jackson County. The doors of Hope House’s first shelter, a four-bedroom house, opened just six months later on January 1, 1983. Within four hours the first client entered shelter. Within four weeks the agency was overflowing capacity. As more women and children came to Hope House, the shelter and support services were consolidated into a four-building campus offering a capacity of 52 beds. Following three domestic violence homicides in Lee’s Summit, Hope House opened a similar facility there in 2002. In 2011, a capital campaign and creative reorganizing expanded the agency’s facilities. Today, the agency has grown to offer a full-spectrum of services through two agency-owned campuses in Independence and Lee’s Summit and two rented outreach offices in Independence and Blue Springs. Nightly providing safe refuge to at least 122 adult and child survivors of domestic abuse, Hope House is Missouri’s largest domestic violence shelter and the sole domestic violence service agency in eastern Jackson County. It is committed to providing culturally competent, trauma informed care, i.e. services that value and respect diversity in all forms and that are informed by asking, “What happened to you?” rather than, “What’s wrong with you?”
Hope House has
had a successful year and achieved a number of notable accomplishments. A snapshot of accomplishments includes:
Funding and provision of
services are the greatest challenges facing our organization. We continue to face an increasing need for
services and funding that is not keeping pace with this increase in need.
The needs of survivors are changing and are more complex which requires a new
level of service provision. We are examining how we provide services to meet the ever changing and more complex needs of survivors. We continue to review our services and how we are meeting or not meeting these needs. As they are identified, we continue to create new ways to address survivors’ needs and challenges and balance that with the limited funding sources available. We continue to look for sustainable sources of funding and ways to weave those into new programming that better meet the ever changing needs of our clients. It is a balance and requires creativity and creating new partnerships with other community organizations and the business community.
Court: Domestic violence offenders are held accountable and survivors kept
safe through a team of police officers, prosecutors and Hope House advocates in
13 courts. Advocates also work with police to target persistent offenders and
offer lethality assessment screenings and support.
Civil Legal: Two attorneys who are well versed in the complex issues of domestic violence are available to represent domestic violence survivors in the civil legal system at no cost. Services are rendered to clients of Hope House, Mattie Rhodes’ Nuevo Dia program, Rose Brooks Center, and Synergy Services.
Court: As a result of the
Court Advocacy Program, survivors have a better understanding of the court
process and know how to contact Hope House if needed.
Court: To evaluate the Court Advocacy Program, a sample of survivors are asked during court proceedings if they have a better understanding of the court process and if they know how to contact Hope House for help after interacting with court advocates.
Legal: Success is determined by the number of survivors seeking legal remedies who were successful in obtaining them, such as in order of protection, divorce, and custody/visitation cases.
Court: In FY2015, court advocates were present to support survivors in 5,505 municipal court cases, and court advocates provided support to 2,036 petitioners in full order of protection court. Further, 99% of 456 victims surveyed reported that they had a better understanding of the court process and knew how to contact Hope House after interacting with court advocates during court proceedings.
Legal: The legal team opened 304 cases, helping survivors pursue relief in civil legal matters arising as a consequence of domestic violence. Regarding the support she received, one survivor expressed to the legal team, “I have never went thru [sic] anything like this before. Your help, phone calls, and a meeting made me feel safe, secure, and at ease with what I have been going thru [sic]!”
In FY2015, 79% of survivors engaged in therapy services
increased their knowledge of domestic violence and its impact on functioning
or, for those recovering from addiction, increased their knowledge of the
connection between domestic violence and substance abuse and its impact on
functioning. Further, 55% of survivors
reduced their trauma-related anxiety. Beyond
these numbers, consider these comments from counseling satisfaction surveys:
BridgeSPAN is a coordinated effort by five domestic violence shelters and numerous healthcare facilities throughout the metropolitan area to address domestic violence as a serious healthcare issue. It creates a Safe Patient Advocacy Network that bridges survivors with trained domestic violence service providers. Medical personnel are trained to screen patients, and if patients disclose abuse and agree to speak with an advocate, a Hope House BridgeSPAN advocate will be by their side in 30 minutes or less, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to offer support and services. Hope House's BridgeSPAN Program serves six hospitals: Centerpoint Medical Center; Lee’s Summit Hospital; St. Luke's East Lee's Summit; St. Mary's Medical Center; Children' Mercy East; and Truman Medical Center Lakewood. The program provides direct service to survivors, training for medical personnel, and assistance to participating institutions in developing policies and protocols to respond to domestic violence.
The BridgeSPAN Program focuses on patient and hospital level
outcomes. Expected patient outcomes include:
The ultimate change that Hope House expects to result from the BridgeSPAN Program is increased survivor safety and increased awareness of domestic violence primarily among those in the medical community.
Patient level outcomes are measured by advocate observation and survivor self-report. The development of a safety plan is measured by the survivor’s participation in the process. Completion of the plan is the desired result. Completion of action steps is measured by advocate observation or survivors’ self-reported intention to follow through with action steps. During follow-up, the receipt of helpful resource information and engagement in safety behaviors are measured through survivor self-report. Hospital level outcomes are measured through training evaluations and through the administration of a gaps analysis tool.
In FY2015, BridgeSPAN advocates responded to local hospitals on 90 occasions to offer support and services to patients experiencing domestic violence. Survivors achieved the following outcomes: 99% developed a safety plan; 100% completed at least one action step; 94% receiving follow-up services reported that they received helpful resource information from the advocate. Additionally, the BridgeSPAN advocate held 21 training events attended by 258 hospital personnel and medical students.
Children benefiting from advocacy services are expected to achieve the following outcomes: 90% of preschool-age children will feel safe; 70% of preschool-age children will improve or maintain skills that are developmentally appropriate for their age group; 70% of school-age children will improve or maintain their feelings of competence and confidence; and 70% of school-age children will improve or maintain social skills and connections to others.
In the advocacy portion of the program, custom observational pre- and post-test ratings are made in the following indicator areas: displays appropriate separation anxiety (safety); achieves developmental milestones (skills); shows improvement in some activity, learns new skills easily, believes that other people like him/her & feels good about him/herself (competence & confidence); and is helpful & respectful, follows rules & plays fairly, makes friends easily & gets along well with others (social skills & connection).
In FY2015, 100% of preschool-age children engaged in advocacy services felt safe; 100% of preschool-age children engaged in advocacy services improved or maintained skills that are developmentally appropriate for their age group; 100% of school-age children engaged in advocacy services improved or maintained their feelings of competence and confidence; and 100% of school-age children engaged in advocacy services improved or maintained social skills and connections to others.
Service provision continues to be the top priority for Hope
House. The needs of survivors and resources available to meet those needs guide
our staff in how and what services are provided. We gather information directly
from those that we serve in order to learn what their needs are and develop or
change how we are providing our services accordingly. We have seen an increase
in the needs of our clients around their physical health and mental health. We
are also exploring the long term needs of clients around permanent housing and
employment needs and focusing our future programming to address those needs. We
continue to explore new partnerships and funding opportunities that will help us
to address those needs.
Ilene received a Bachelor of Science
degree in Psychology from Central Missouri State University and began working
at Hope House in April of 1996 in the position of Court Advocate. In 1998 she
became the Director of Court Services, and in 2000 she was promoted to the
Director of Shelter and Legal Services. After being promoted to Vice President
of Programs in charge of the shelter, children’s services, court advocacy,
legal, and hospital programs, she became Chief Operating Officer. In this
position, Ilene continues to oversee the aforementioned programs as well as the
development and facilities departments and issues related to overall
operations. Recognized as a highly
motivated leader, Ilene was accepted into the 2014-2015 inaugural class of the
Greater Good Nonprofit Leaders Program facilitated by The Allstate Foundation
in partnership with Northwestern Kellogg School of Management’s Center for
Ann is a CPA with a bachelor’s in Business Administration from Washburn University. Ann joined the Hope House staff in 2001, bringing 14 years of prior experience as a Controller/Director of Finance for Starlight Theatre. Ann’s responsibilities include all aspects of the accounting function of the organization including budgeting and forecasting, financial statements, preparation for and coordination of the annual independent audit and 990 tax return filing, and other reports for management, staff, and Board of Directors.
Joining the staff in January
2016, Jenn brings 20 years of executive leadership, non-profit development, and
capital campaign experience; coupled with an extensive background in large
scale event management. Notably, in 2014 she served as the contracted
director for KC’s Union Station Centennial capital campaign and thirteen
events. Jenn’s business ownership of two companies spans 16 years as well
as serving 3 years as Vice President of Operations for a national
company. Jenn is responsible for the overall development plans and capital campaigns for Hope House. She oversees the development and event management teams, volunteer coordinator, marketing and community relations, and works closely with the grant team.
Domestic violence is a complex issue and there is no simple answer that will bring about an end to the devastation it causes. Management continues to address the larger global issue of ending domestic violence through advocacy at the federal, state and local level. We form partnerships and connect with the community through elected officials, businesses and individuals. We continue to look at how to advocate for social change through our laws and policies that have an impact on the services we provide and ultimately on the survivors. The current issues facing survivors around physical and mental health are also larger societal issues with the number of resources available to address those needs in the larger community have decreased. This continues to be an area of advocacy for Hope House as we advocate for changes to bring more resources to the community.
We are so fortunate to have a committed, passionate Board of Directors, and Hope House Young Professionals group (HHYP); the HHYP leadership team is listed as an additional board. A challenge these teams have taken on is how to engage supporters in more meaningful ways – we want volunteers and donors to know the impact they are making. Therefore, we continue to employ new ways of connecting more personally with donors so they know the work Hope House is accomplishing with their help.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
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