Hank Rush, President & CEO
One of the most amazing things to witness is how God uses our collective prayers and your generosity to change lives. What’s more amazing is that I have the privilege of being a part of His wonderful work. When people come through our doors homeless and desperate for help, they need a new chance—sometimes a second chance—to build a better life for themselves and their families. That’s what we offer. So I am delighted to share my joy with you, and I am immensely grateful for your commitment as donors, volunteers and community partners. I hope that as you read about the day-to-day happenings and the miracles that are occurring in the lives of our clients, you will believe as I do, that Star of Hope is a place where the promises of God are realized.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, our hearts here at Star of Hope are full of joyfulness and appreciation for you, our volunteers and financial supporters, for the significant work you have equipped us to do this year as we serve the homeless of our city. This has been so far, another record year, with overflowing daily needs throughout the year. And with the cold weather snap we are having, the needs are heightened even more.
Thank you for all you do to serve the homeless and lost in our city through the Star of Hope. Many of you know that we are 95% funded by direct contributions from people just like you and me. Star of Hope is a community mission! Our love, compassion and gifts flow from our homes and hearts to serve those in great need ... to help rebuild their homes and hearts! We do it with God’s love as we teach of His mercy, His redemption and His forgiveness. And you know what we see as the result?
- Thousands of lives restored!
- New hope in the future!
- New faith in God through his Son, Jesus Christ!
- New pathways to successful, independent living!
Please keep us in your prayers as we experience this Thanksgiving and holiday season. It will be very demanding on all of our staff due to the large numbers who are coming to us with crisis in their lives and hopelessness in their eyes. But it is a joyful and powerful time, as we see God do His miraculous work in life after life, young and old alike.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! May our Lord be especially present with you and yours this season, and know that you are a part of His great work to the homeless in Houston through the Star of Hope Mission!
As you go about your day to day lives, many of you encounter homeless individuals on the streets of Houston from time to time. Star of Hope’s mission is to help these individuals get off the streets and into life recovery programs so they can start a new life and become independent, contributing members of society once again.
After taking part in the city-wide annual Homeless Enumeration for the past five years, Erika Wise, Star of Hope’s Director of Extended Services, was given a vision of doing a massive "street outreach/evangelism" effort. Plans came together, and just last week, "Takin’ Hope to the Streets" happened! We partnered with YWAM (Youth with a Mission), and sent teams to Butte Park, the Greyhound Bus Station and Spaghetti Warehouse area, the Downtown Library, Montrose and other areas of town where homeless adults and youth gather … to bring HOPE!
Wearing brightly colored shirts with the "Takin’ Hope to the Streets" logo -- seventy-one volunteers distributed HOPE Water Bottles (provided by I AM WATERS Foundation), snacks, Christian literature, great music and the HOPE of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those on the streets of Houston. We particularly desired to reach the 18-23 year-olds who were out on the streets, to inform them of Star of Hope’s New Journey Program for homeless youth in that age group, and to begin to establish a "heart-to-heart" connection in the hope that they would eventually come for help. The results of this fun effort are exciting:
- 238 homeless or near homeless individuals were visited
- 91 persons requested prayer
- 219 water bottles were distributed
- 300+ snacks distributed
- 7 men and 1 woman requested transportation to Star of Hope shelter facilities
- 1 man was taken to the VA Hospital and then to shelter
And of most significance, two people chose to enter a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Star of Hope is taking hope to the streets! And we are excited about all God is doing to redeem hearts and lives into the fullness of life He has planned for each one. We invite you to join us as we serve during the coming holiday season … there is still so much need in our community!
by Hank Rush
At Star of Hope’s Summer Camp for children of homeless families last week, the answer was a resounding “YES!”
With the amazing financial support of so many of you, 130 children ages 6-17 went to Camp Good News and had the time of their lives. While their moms and dads were working through tough life issues with our staff, these bright, talented and promising young people were having great fun AND learning about God’s love for them!
We know God has a special plan for each one. Thank you for helping these kids to have this special opportunity to grow and learn! If you haven’t given yet to the Children’s Programs at Star of Hope, we could really use your help in meeting our August budget need for the kids’ summer activities. Please make a gift NOW.
As we enter the final weeks of the summer, we are preparing for the start of school next week. And, as these children enter the classroom, we will be right alongside their parents, helping ensure their success, so homelessness can end in their families and not be repeated in the next generation.
What does it take to end homelessness?
This is a question many of us ask every time we see a homeless person on the streets of Houston. We all see homeless individuals most every day and wonder, “Why are they there and what can we do to really help them?” But for every man or woman you see on the streets, there are thousands more hidden from our view. And a large percentage of these are homeless families.
This summer, we are seeing more homeless families coming for help than we have ever seen before. Most of these “hidden homeless” have been doubling up on a friend’s living room floor. Many were told that they had to find another place to go once the kids were out of school for the summer. When they cannot find anything else, they come to Star of Hope, and we try never to turn anyone away … day or night.
Star of Hope welcomes these families each day … and immediately begins working with them to deal with their crisis and to help them develop a plan toward full independence in their future. Once safely housed with us, and with the help of many other Houston agencies, we work to help them move down the road to a full recovery and independent living.
With each new family at our doorstep, we are excited because they are seeking help and we KNOW that God has a plan and a purpose for each one. In time, many will be healed, restored and able to live a happy life once again.
Your help, especially during the summer, enables this work to go on each and every day and night. If you would like to touch the life of a mom or dad, an infant or toddler, a middle school or high school student who is embarrassed and ashamed of their family’s homelessness, searching for their own identity … please make a gift today. You can make this a SUMMER OF HOPE and a fresh start for those who have lost their way in our community!
Summer is here and our shelter is FULL.
144 people served in overflow last night!
As the temperatures rise, so do the needs of the Mission. Summer is one of our busiest times and this year we are expecting more children off the streets, more families in need and more hungry and homeless than ever. Last night we had an all time record of 144 people ... women and children, sleeping in overflow at our Women and Family Emergency Shelter because all of the rooms are full! Our emergency facilities will continue to be filled with people trying to escape the heat all summer long.
And it is only through the generosity and support of friends like you that we will be ready.
Other ways you are making this summer a Summer of Hope.
School is out and summer is in full swing! Our friends at Key Energy Services kicked off Summer of Hope with an end of school party last Friday. All of the children and families had a great time on water slides and other games.
This summer will be filled with fun and challenging events and activities for all of the children and teens at Star of Hope. They will make memories for a lifetime visiting museums, the zoo, the beach, Vacation Bible Schools, summer camps and so much more! Please keep our Children’s Department staff and volunteers in your prayers as they have more time in the summer to build relationships with and minister to the school age children and teens.
Thank you for making this summer a Summer of Hope!
June is the month for commencements! For most this means the closing of one chapter in their lives and signals the beginning of an exciting future.
That is exactly what commencement means for one of the residents in Star of Hope’s New Horizons program. Roderick recently graduated from high school with a 3.0 GPA and is ready to embark on his college career! Here, in his own words, is his testimony of how Star of Hope helped him and his family on this exciting journey:
High school has been an amazing life changing experience for me. It allowed me to feel the transition from my childhood years into adulthood slowly, but surely. I've had multiple distractions and obstacles trying to prevent me from being successful in school, but with the help of GOD, my family, friends, and Star of Hope, I’ve been blessed and stayed on track. Just knowing how proud the people who actually care about me are motivates me to push further, stay positive and stay focused.
Star of Hope allowed me the opportunity to experience my first summer camp and it was awesome. I still volunteer and work with younger kids ever since my camp trip. I've always kept my GPA above a 3.0 and never slacked off when it came to my education.
I've decided to go to Sam Houston State University and major in Law Enforcement since that has been something I knew I would enjoy doing since I was a child. I know that regardless of what may happen; the people who care about me will support me through whatever I decide to do. I am so grateful for that.
There are so many young men my age who did not get the chances GOD has given me. And, just like my mother, I want to give back because we can make a difference in someone’s life. Just like Star of Hope made a difference in ours.
Son of the best momma in the world, Sharon
Star of Hope congratulates all of its graduates and those reading this update! Thank you for helping us end homelessness for Roderick, his family and so many more just like them!
As we celebrate our Mothers this Mother’s Day, I am especially excited about the “NEW LIFE” Program which is now open at Star of Hope for new mothers, ages 18-23, who are expecting a baby and seeking a new life! This wonderful new program comes complete with a safe and clean apartment, great food, and a nurturing and supportive program staff to help each young mom through her pregnancy.
Moms will experience some great counseling and developmental coursework to help them find God’s plan for their life, as the Bible tells us so clearly in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” That’s what Star of Hope is all about!
Do you know a young mom between the ages of 18-23 in need of this program? Visit our website to get more details.
To all the mothers reading this update, all of us at Star of Hope would like to wish you a very special and blessed Mother’s Day. And gentlemen, a reminder . . . Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Don’t forget!
Star of Hope GROWS 53% as We Serve the Homeless of Houston!
Now in our second century, Star of Hope is expanding its services to the homeless of Houston! In the 5 years since 2008, Star of Hope has grown by 53% in the number of homeless men, women and children we serve per day.
Our city-wide street homeless numbers vary from year to year, but more homeless families who are not living directly on the streets of Houston are coming to us each year, needing help. There is so much work to be done!
In 2011, 5,856 homeless families were counted in Houston. Over the past 5 years, the rise in needs of homeless families has been without a doubt, the greatest challenge Star of Hope has faced. We are focusing special attention on better ways to serve these families . . . which we call the “Hidden Homeless” - families and single women in crisis with no home of their own, living with friends and relatives, in their cars, campgrounds and motels.
Please continue to help with us through your prayers, your volunteer service, and your financial gifts as we work to reclaim these precious hearts and lives with the message of Christ’s love and educational support to help them have a successful, independent life! After all, this is OUR CITY • OUR HOME • OUR MISSION!
Each year, thousands of folks from every walk of life come to one of Star of Hope's six locations and volunteer their time and talents. They come from around Houston, the United States and even from foreign countries. They do this to serve our guests who are recovering from homelessness and seeking a new life! In so doing, they are fulfilling the Bible's teachings that: "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace..." (I Peter 4:10) and that "by this kind of hard work, we must help the weak, remembering the Lord Jesus himself who said: 'It is more blessed to give, than to receive'" (Acts 20:35 NIV).
Our volunteers come from local churches, businesses, corporations, universities, public and private schools, other non-profits and individual families. Some conduct donation drives for food, clothing and hygiene items needed by the men, women, and children in Star of Hope's care, and bring those collected items to us. Just last year, 7,500 volunteers donated more than 55,000 hours of their time! This saves Star of Hope the equivalent of 28 full-time paid Staff members, and millions of dollars of supplies needed as we serve 1,100 - 1,200 people per day.
If you are looking for a SPECIAL PLACE to share God's love, and be the "hands and feet of Jesus" to someone who is lost and alone, find a volunteer opportunity at Star of Hope that interests you. Complete the volunteer interest form and plan a time to join us! I guarantee you that your service will not only be a blessing to our guests, but also to you!
“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” John 1:29
These past few Sunday evenings at home we have been watching the “The Bible” TV series on the History Channel. I must say, it has been a profound experience.
Watching the expertly portrayed Biblical accounts of the history of mankind, through the retelling of countless Old and New Testament Biblical passages, has given me a new perspective on our world and man’s relationship with God. The series continues for two more weeks, on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday evenings.
The most powerful moment for me this past Sunday night, and perhaps over the entire series, was when John the Baptist proclaimed: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” That’s it! That’s the pivot point in ALL of history. Jesus is THE answer to the misery, evil, aggression, abuse and hatred that fills our world today, and has filled our world since man disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, and sin was born into our lives.
Star of Hope celebrates Easter! Because here, we see broken and desperate lives every day, void of God. Thousands come to us who are at rock bottom and literally have no one else to turn to for help. We are their last resort. Their lives are filled with all of life’s worst…the same evils of history we’ve seen displayed so beautifully through “The Bible” series, and that we see today in our own country and throughout our world. Yet at Star of Hope every day, we can say: “Behold the Lamb of God” and then see the love of Jesus light up those lives, one by one, and redeem and heal and bring them back to life!
Thank you Heavenly Father for giving us your Son, and thank you Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for me…for each one who reads this blog…and for each homeless person or family who finds their way here to Star of Hope. Jesus is the Star, for the homeless and for all of us!
As we experience this Holy Week that is ahead, let’s truly walk it in reverence and introspection, then celebrate the NEW LIFE we have in Christ’s gift to us and to the world...as we behold Him!
In my last blog entry, I shared a modern day video of Jesus' parable of The Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37 with you. Over 3,000 have watched this moving video in just the past 10 days. If you've missed seeing it, watch it now.
Today, I would like tell you about Irene, because her story reminds me of how you and I as modern day "Good Samaritans" helped her find new life from her time of despair! An ongoing sickness robbed Irene of her health and security, and she subsequently lost her job. She lost everything, and felt hopeless and alone. She literally had no one to turn to for help.
Like the man in the parable who was left battered and broken on the side of the road by robbers, Irene was helpless and alone. But together, we were there, and Irene's needs were met! Today, she is back on her feet and she is so grateful, thanks to the services she received at the Star of Hope.
Irene wants to say "Thank You!" for your help.
You can also visit our website to read more about Irene.
Join OUR MISSION today and help end homelessness in Houston, one individual, one family at a time!
The annual Star of Hope banquet blessed many tremendously. And, it made me realize all over again, how important our work is together!
Almost 2,000 of us gathered once again the evening of February 8, for an inspiring and informative time together as we focused on the homeless men, women and children of Houston. And, we dedicated the evening to ending their homelessness!
Star of Hope works to end homelessness, one individual, one family at a time, by helping those who come our way through their crisis and onward toward successful, independent living once again. That is Our Mission.
During the evening, I shared “The Good Samaritan” parable with those gathered, found in the Gospel of Luke 10:25-37. This is a powerful scripture where Jesus describes how we are to help the least and lost in our community.
Take a look at this powerful video we shared at the banquet. And be a “Good Samaritan” TODAY, with all of us at Star of Hope. . .through your financial gifts or volunteer time!
Each February, thousands of Houstonians gather for dinner and an evening of inspiration and education, in support of the homeless of our city. It’s the Star of Hope Annual Banquet, and it’s next Friday, February 8th at 7pm in the Lanier Ballroom at the Hilton Americas downtown. If you aren’t already planning to attend, we’d love for you to join us! Seating is limited, so register today.
As a quick preview, we will be celebrating “Everything You Do” in serving Houston’s homeless men, women and families… and how together our community makes a significant impact in helping those in great need put their lives back together after experiencing homelessness. You’ll learn more about all the exciting ministries of the Star of Hope, which has been serving Houston’s homeless since 1907. And you’ll be treated to a great meal, powerful testimonies from Clients of Star of Hope and a special musical performance by Steven Curtis Chapman. You’ll be amazed at how much our community is doing together for our neighbors in great need.
Over the past 5 years Star of Hope has grown in the number of people we serve each day by 53%. Now, we serve 1,150 men, women and children daily. You’ve made this possible by your financial gifts, volunteer service with us, donations drives and participation in special events.
Thank you for being a part of serving our neighbors in need! And if you’re able, come and celebrate with us next Friday night.
The New Year is HERE! And as we look at this world, we see uncertain times all around us. Nation against nation, people against people, division among Americans, government financial crises from the European Union to our own Washington, D.C., violence in our society, unemployment for many…and on and on it goes.
But here at Star of Hope, God’s miracles are abounding in the hearts and lives of so many in our community today! Decisions to follow Christ are at amazing levels, families are being reunited, and freedom from addictions of every kind is achieved daily. What an amazing year 2012 was for Star of Hope, with rich blessings from our Lord in every area of our ministry together.
As we face 2013, the only One we can turn to with our full trust and confidence is God. As we enter this new year, let’s all pray earnestly for God to forgive our sins, heal our land and use us in a powerful way here at Star of Hope, to see an end to homelessness for many in our community in 2013. And let’s ask Him to make this a year where the results of His great work are profound!
Proverbs 3:5-6, one of my lifetime favorites, tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” Let’s claim this scripture daily in 2013, rest in the knowledge that He has directed us to help those in need, and be confident that He will use us to accomplish His purposes!
Blessings to you and your family in 2013. Please keep all of us at Star of Hope in your prayers. And, we want to celebrate in person with YOU! Join us on Friday, February 8, 2013 for our Annual Banquet: Everything You Do!
Today is Christmas Eve. . .such a special day to all of us! It’s the day when over 2,000 years ago, Mary and Joseph found themselves with no place to go. . .away from home and no one who could help them through the night. So this day has special significance here at Star of Hope, as we care for over a thousand men, women and children here in Houston who also have no place else to lay their heads tonight.
Just as on that first Christmas Eve, when the despair of the evening brought amazing joy and HOPE for all the world, through the birth of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, tonight Star of Hope’s facilities all around Houston will be filled with joy and the peace that only God can give. Pray with us that those here tonight will feel God’s presence in their crisis, and will choose to start a new life. . .the life that God has planned for them!
Thank you for your partnership with Star of Hope in providing for these "least and lost" in our community, and we pray God’s peace and hope are yours tonight!
Last night we at Star of Hope experienced an amazing Christmas miracle... a Christmas Tree Lighting Service with several hundred homeless parents and their kids together... children joyfully singing. It was just wonderful!
The miracle is that just a few short months ago, these families were in despair, with no place to go and no hope for their future. That is a terrible place to be in life. But last night, the Christmas Miracle...the HOPE that is ours in Christ was apparent all around! And it’s all because of you that these families have the support and services they need to put their lives back together.
Thank you for helping us financially and for your prayers and volunteer hours. Because of you these families have HOPE once again. And we will work diligently while they are in our care to help them find all that God has planned for them in the future.
Give a Christmas Miracle of your own right now, and help change a life forever!
Thanksgiving is one of the happiest days of the year at Star of Hope . . . all because of friends like you. I wish you could see the happy faces, people laughing, genuine gratitude . . .a time to forget the past and focus on God’s blessing today!
With your compassionate and generous gifts, Star of Hope will be filled with hope and thankfulness today and through this Thanksgiving weekend. And we are so grateful to you for it! Did you know that 98% of Star of Hope’s financial support comes from folks just like you? Star of Hope is truly here because Houstonians want it to be. . .it’s a Houston tradition and such a wonderful expression of the generous heart of our great city! And you can rest assured, Star of Hope is working hard to serve more people every day in our community who need a second chance and a new hope in Christ in their lives.
We are setting a place at our Thanksgiving tables for well over a thousand homeless men, women and their children this Thanksgiving. . .all who are struggling with life in the deepest ways. Because of you, these precious lives and hearts will be touched deeply!
This time of year we all reflect on our past year, our losses, and our regrets. . .so Thanksgiving comes at the perfect time to remind us of all that God has given us, and His great promises for all who call upon His name and diligently seek Him! That’s why a great meal, a time of worship and loving hearts all around bring such hope, as we focus on God’s goodness and love for us all. You see, homeless folks are really just like you and me. . .in need of hope and encouragement. We all need to remember Jesus’ promise found in John 10:10, where he tells us: “I have come, that you may have life, and have it more abundantly!”
Thank you again, and I pray that you enjoy good food and fun moments with your own family and friends, as you remember your blessings and thank God for all he has done.
There are only ten more days until Thanksgiving and I wish you could see how hard our staff is working! We’re having another year of record needs, and preparations for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are already in high gear.
Why does our staff work so diligently? Because THEY KNOW how important it is for EVERY person at Star of Hope this holiday season to see — through a special meal in a caring environment — how much they are loved.
You know yourself, that Thanksgiving can be a lonely time as we miss lost loved ones. That is even more extreme for homeless individuals and families who have no place else to go. The loneliness and regret sets in so deeply for so many. But Star of Hope will be “their family” this holiday season, thanks to you, as our community comes together to lift lives.
It’s amazing that so many people like you join in to feed and care for our neighbors in need. Our Lord must smile down from Heaven, thinking. . .I love Houston’s compassion for the poor and needy. . .that’s what I gave my life for! Thank you for your great compassion. With your continuing support, homeless men, women and families will find the life-changing care they need at Star of Hope, during the holidays and beyond!
Also, don’t forget about the KSBJ, NGENradio and Kroger Fill the Freezer Food Drive for Star of Hope on November 20, 2012. Get the details now!
Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!
This October, we are already seeing the same higher demand for emergency services that we typically see during the colder months of December and January. Even though the temperatures are mild, Star of Hope’s Women & Family Emergency Shelter is peaking at record levels. Just this last week alone we’ve seen between 110-119 women and children sleeping on floor mats at the shelter because all of the rooms are full… every single night. Today, we have 80 children under age 3 with their families in our care!
This is my 5th Thanksgiving with Star of Hope, and even with larger crowds each of the prior four years, I've never seen anything like this before. There is clearly a great need among families at risk and in crisis in Our City!
The holidays are quickly approaching and we need your help. Thankfully, many of our onsite volunteer opportunities are booked through the end of the year, but we need your financial help to cover the extra staff and food costs required during this unprecedented peak period.
Please join us today through a generous financial gift. You can make this a Thanksgiving of Hope and new life for someone who has none!
Thank you, and blessings to you at Thanksgiving!
We are excited to announce Star of Hope’s New Haven program for single women diagnosed with mental illnesses. Partnering with New Hope Housing, mental health professionals and with a housing and services grant from HUD, we began a long term living program this past May to serve in this critical area of need.
Nine women are already living in the first location for New Haven. Another eleven women are ready to transition into their new homes during October. We are so excited about the success we are seeing so far, we are expanding to a second location and will grow to 40 residents by the end of this year.
Read our Program Director’s update on this exciting new program. New Haven is a great collaboration and offers a new, independent life for homeless women in our city. Houston is our city. . .our home. And Star of Hope is working every day on new and innovative ways to serve the homeless of our community.
We are grateful for your support as we all work to help those who are homeless and in despair in our community to find a better life!