Hope Acts was founded in 2012 by the HopeGateWay Faith Community as a separate 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. Our Founding Executive Director was Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill.
In 2013 philanthropists Richard and Theresa Berman purchased 14 Sherman Street to gift its use to Hope Acts for Asylum Seeker housing. To date, Hope House is the only transitional housing program exclusively for asylum seekers. The first residents moved into Hope House during Fall Fall 2013. Over half of the initial residents were from Burundi, with others originating from Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Current residents are from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Angola, Rwanda, Cote D'Ivoire, and Cameroon.
Over the last several years, Hope Acts has deepened its commitment to supporting new asylum seekers to our country–both Hope House residents and asylum seekers and families who live in our parts of our community–so these New Mainers have an opportunity to thrive in our community.
In 2016 we launched the Hope House English Language Program (HHELP), a volunteer-led program that focuses on practical skills in small, student-centered classes. Currently, there are students from 23 different countries.
Martha Stein became Executive Director of Hope Acts in January 2018 after serving two years on the organization’s Board of Directors.
In fall 2018, Hope Acts and Gateway Community Services, an immigrant-led mental health agency, formed the Asylum Seeker Assistance Program (ASAP), a drop-in service for any asylum seeker seeking help navigating resources in the community. In 2019 ASAP was expanded to include volunteers from the mentoring program Welcoming the Stranger. The ASAP program now assists hundreds of asylum seekers in completing their Federal Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).
Hope Acts expanded our services in 2020 by adding a part-time housing coordinator to assist asylum-seeking families and individuals find affordable housing.
Now in our 8th year, Hope Acts remains a beacon of hope for asylum seekers. We have housed 80+ asylum seekers at Hope House and have assisted hundreds of others through our classes and individualized assistance.