City residents gathered to celebrate the difference Hartford Organizing for Power and Equality’s (HOPE) is making in the community at its annual meeting last Wednesday at Asylum Hill Congregational Church.
HOPE serves the Parkville, Asylum Hill, and West End areas of Hartford and addresses a variety of issues, including education, housing and economic development.
In addition to discussing plans for the upcoming year, members of HOPE celebrated their successes over the past year. In 2007, 78,000 families across Connecticut received an increase in aid mainly because Single Mothers on the Move, a HOPE supported group, pressured legislators to help working families with a cost of living adjustment that had not been made in 15 years. This past year the organization also saw its issues included in the Section Eight Voucher Reform Act that is currently making its way through the Senate in Washington DC.
Recently, HOPE has also made progress in improving relationships with area residents and their landlords. Tenants of South Marshall apartments now have screened windows, locks on outside doors, and are living in apartments that have been exterminated and received necessary repairs. A speaker at last Wednesday’s meeting said these better living conditions are major achievements of HOPE’s effort to hold landlords accountable for providing tenants with safe and healthy homes.
The meeting also addressed current issues that HOPE plans to tackle in 2008. Holding community leaders accountable for the services they should be providing for Hartford residents is a major concern. Members of HOPE’s Youth Council is pushing for a conduct code for Hartford Public Schools so that teachers and staff receive “immediate consequences for harassing students.” HOPE is trying to extend this system of accountability to public officials, landlords and state workers.
Board and executive members of HOPE called for Hartford residents to get involved in the effort to improve conditions in their communities and support the organizations that are already working to see these changes take place.