By Sonniya Springer, Howard University News Service
A local non profit organization located in Prince George’s County dedicates its time to making and securing housing for low and moderate income households.
Housing Initiative Partnership, also known as HIP, was founded in 1988 to help individuals and families in need within the community. Over thirty years later, this purpose is still being fulfilled. According to its website’s about page. “ HIP has been highlighted twice by the Washingtonian Magazine as one of the best nonprofit organizations to give money to in the region.”
As a non profit organization, HIP does not get funding in the way a business does. Executive director Maryann Dillon says the organization stays funded through over 40 different sources including HUD, the state government, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County and a fee income among other ways. In alignment with its purpose, the organization and its staff puts its best foot forward in finding homes for moderate and under income households. These people vary from families to elders on their lonesome. HIP not only helps provide and sometimes create homes, they can pay the rent as well. Dillon has worked in social services for over 30 years including at the San Francisco Food Bank. “I felt that I was not working on lasting solutions. I went to Yale School of Management and they had a big focus on public and nonprofit organizations. I stumbled upon community development and realized this is a big piece to the puzzle. We can keep people safe, give them better housing, and help them become stable. It frees up a lot of things. This goes back a really long time and has been a passion ever since”, Dillon said.
Since its debut in 1988, HIP has always been about bettering the lives of others who most need it by providing roofs over their heads. “Knowing you are really making a difference. You can go home every night and know that others will have a home”, Dillon said.
HIP would not be able to commit its purpose if it were not for the people they help. Their clients and loved ones are appreciative of all the program has done for them. Dillon shared stories of triumph and hope that people have gained by connecting with HIP. She spoke of a wife, husband, and their children who migrated from Togo to the United States. The wife became sick causing her to stop working and her husband to do the same since he had to become her caregiver. They lost their home and had to live and sleep in their car. The husband made a sacrifice by letting the wife and children go to women’s’ shelter while he continued living in the car. He contacted HIP and they provided his family with a home. He is also studying to become a truck driver. Stories like this show HIP’s impact. Maria Lopez who was leaving HIP’s office building said, “HIP helped one of my good friends. No one knew she was struggling. She later told us her story and said without HIP she is not sure where’d she be”. Candace Jones had a similar story. “Housing Initiative Program found my brother in law a home and paid his rent too. We and he are forever grateful.” she said.
Housing Initiative Program is located at 6525 Belcrest Road, Suite 555, Hyattsville, MD 20782 or Upcounty 12900 Middlebrook Road, Suite 1500, Germantown, MD 20874.For more information visit their website, http://hiphomes.org/.