Annual Report February 2023

Dear friends and supporters of Home of Hope,
Below is a snapshot of the many great things that happened at Home of Hope in 2022, and a few of the things ahead of us as we’ve begun to move into 2023. This “year in review” letter is a brief update but it’s our intent, beginning later this year, to start sending you a more formal annual report after the end of each fiscal year. Here are just a few of the challenges and accomplishments from the last year that we wanted to share with you:
Addressing the Workforce Crisis:
After working quite literally night and day for the past two years to bring our clients and staff safely through the COVID-19 pandemic, nothing else has hit Home of Hope, and other similar organizations around the country, as hard as the workforce crisis. Several significant efforts at Home of Hope over the last year have revolved around this single issue:
-As the pool of available employees lessened and the competition for available employees intensified, Home of Hope took a strong and active role in a statewide effort to advocate for increased funding from the State of Oklahoma.Those successful efforts resulted in the largest wage increase Home of Hope has ever been in a position to provide to its direct care employees, including establishing a starting wage of $10.00 an hour for these positions. There’s much further to go and much more advocacy ahead, but this achievement has allowed Home of Hope to begin making strides in its recruitment and retention of direct care staff.
-At the same time, Home of Hope took the primary role in successfully advocating for increased revenue for programs who go above and beyond minimal state requirements to provide quality vocational and adult day programs. The final regulations for this revised reimbursement structure within ICF-IID programs across the state that provides are almost complete in this regard, in which Home of Hope has also taken an active role.
-As these funds were allocated, Home of Hope was able to establish wage scales which not only advanced pay but which also created ongoing tiers for professional advancement.
-Our newly established Stepping Stones Child Care Center developed into a thriving enterprise and a substantial benefit in staff recruitment and retention, but also accomplished a 5-Star rating which will allow its impact to continue to grow.

– Meanwhile, we also responded to an extreme staffing crisis that was particularly affecting our ICF-IID programs and that placed nearly 20 clients at risk for losing Home of Hope’s services. By working with the State to convert three ICF homes to Community Services Group Homes services at Home of Hope were maintained for these individuals. This was a complicated transition but has resulted in continuation of services that were at absolute risk.
Proactive vocational opportunities to address federal changes:
In response to looming Federal changes that will affect the availability of vocational opportunities for men and women with disabilities, Home of Hope has taken the following proactive steps:
Home of Hope was able to open a recycle center in Vinita that benefits our city, our community, and our clients by providing good jobs to those receiving waiver services.
– Home of Hope has also added a new greenhouse that more than doubled our growing space and expanded the sales potential while much more importantly adding to our ability to train and employ people with disabilities.

home of hope green houses, new and exsisting

Investing in Employees:

-Home of Hope has invested significantly in the development of leaders throughout the organization, both through live training and through dramatically expanding online training capabilities.
-Meanwhile, as the year was wrapping up, we were able to continue our angel tree, give out bonuses, turkeys, and hams, and find as many personal ways as possible to express appreciation to members of the Home of Hope family who have continued to do such extraordinary work in challenging circumstances. The angel tree allowed us to provide gifts and food or 86 children in 41 families who might otherwise have struggled to provide these items for their children.
Fundraising Successes
On a fundraising level, Home of Hope experienced numerous positives in the past year. In addition to $124,566.89 in grant funds raised for operational and capital expenses in the course of the year, more than $100,000 in grants were received for the child care center and more than $1,000,000 from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for desperately needed vehicles to transport our clients.
Fundraising events and other efforts had strong responses as well, including most recently Home of Hope’s first ever Pickle Ball tournament bringing in over $6,000 and more importantly materializing as a great avenue for forming new donor connections. The August Mary Moore Charity Golf Tournament raised $45,000, up $9,000 from what was a record the year before. The first annual Legacy Banquet also went very well, resulting in positive donor connections along with great board involvement.
On a grants level, Home of Hope continues to explore a number of grants in the areas of disability job development and training, specifically in the context of the potential for the pending Federal subminimum wage phase-out that will result in lost vocational opportunities for people with disabilities across the country.
Special Olympics is BACK!
This past year also saw the return of Special Olympic Games in Oklahoma. In recent weeks, 46 athletes from Home of Hope joined in the Winter Games in Oklahoma City to participate in swimming and bowling competitions. As in many areas, we have a long way to go to return even to pre-COVID levels, much less the levels we aspire to, but we are taking positive steps toward an exciting future.

home of hope winter olympics pictures of players, clients and fun

The year ahead:
More Advocacy Efforts
Legislative advocacy efforts in the coming year will likely focus on significant adjustments to regulations affecting the services Home of Hope provides. In addition, however, a pay rate study commissioned by the state should be completed in the months ahead. The results of this study will determine the effective opportunities for further advocacy this year regarding state reimbursement rates.
Childcare Expansion
We will be asking for the State to increase our licensed capacity for childcare from 60 children to 90 children, the maximum number allowed in our Center based on available square footage.
Once approved, this request, funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, will result in a $5,000 payment for each additional licensed child ($150,000) and an additional $5,000 per child that fills one of these new slots one year from now. We are working actively on the expansion of our summer program. Our intent is to fill these additional slots with after school and summer program children. This will allow us to take advantage of the additional grant funding without the Center being at 90 children year-round.
These same expansion funds are available for operations related to opening a new childcare center as well. As such, we are researching the possibility of expanding our childcare to Jay where the employees and community could benefit significantly. This project is still in the planning stages.
Lastly, as many of you know, Home of Hope’s original buildings are being taken down. Having served their purpose since the beginnings of the organization, they are being demolished this week and will make way for future opportunities to serve men and women with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Still, while a portion of the buildings will be retained for Home of Hope’s adult day program, saying farewell to the original portion of the building where Home of Hope was born in 1968 has been bittersweet for many of its longer residents, parents, guardians, employees, and supporters. The coming year will hold a great deal of planning and potentially the first steps toward using the newly available space to do even more for people with disabilities here in Northeast Oklahoma.

I want to end this letter by thanking each of you for the part you play in making every positive step forward possible at Home of Hope. We could not do any of it without you!

Ralph Richardson, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Home of Hope, Inc
918-256-7825 (1010)