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.
This last week at Star of Hope Mission, we celebrated with eight teens who have just graduated from high school and are now preparing to enter college this fall! This is one of my favorite celebrations each year, as we see these bright, smart young people reaching for the dream of a college education, in spite of their families' situation. They are truly seeking God’s promise found in Jeremiah 29:11, and the purpose and the plan he has for them for a future and a hope!
Lots of cheers, music and encouraging words flowed, and many family, staff and volunteers were on hand to help them prepare for this new chapter in their lives. We are grateful to the Astros Wives organization for providing dorm room essentials to help the teens start off their first semester of college. Our teens left the party knowing that with God on their side they can reach any goal if they seek Him in all they do!
Please read more about the graduating teens in this update from Jeremiah Belyeu, our Manager of Teen Services at Star of Hope: Star of Hope teens follow their dreams.
As always, we are grateful for your prayers and support for the teens and all others who come to Star of Hope for help.
Summertime is here, and we have lots of incredible ministry and love to share with those who come to Star of Hope Mission for help! I came across this statement recently, and thought of us:
"When you know where you are going, it changes everything!"
I paused in my tracks ... and thought about this statement, and read it again and again. When we accept a new job, we set our sights on the goals of the organization and look forward with excitement to serve there. When we begin a well planned trip, we again set our minds and our excitement toward a new adventure.
Well the same is true with our eternal destination. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and receive His forgiveness, redemption and promise of eternal life with Him, everything about us and our future changes! His love is perfected in us. We no longer have the same emptiness and fears about life and about our future. And our hearts begin a journey of love with our Savior, and a desire to find and fulfill His purposes for our lives.
When does homelessness end? Homelessness ends when a heart becomes secure in God's love and has a home in Heaven with Him. IT CHANGES EVERYTHING!
In this video Sharon speaks about her life change and healing from addiction and grief, to productive lives for her and her son. Please take a moment to listen to her story.
Thank you for your faithful support to end homelessness in our community. I'm praying for God's great joy to you as you give, pray and serve with Star of Hope Mission this summer!
"This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us,
and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." I John 4:10 NIV
Greetings to you and I hope you are enjoying this great, spring time weather! Everything in nature is new and fresh all around us. Here at Star of Hope, we see so many signs of new life as we serve Houston’s homeless. Exciting new things are happening at all of our campuses and extended living sites around the city … and the focus is on two main things:
- We are seeing record numbers of our clients come to the Lord. Clients are making new, first time professions of faith or rededicating their lives to a life with God through His son, Jesus Christ!
- We are seeing great success in a number of our new initiatives focused on helping our clients after they have rediscovered their faith, and are moving on toward a true, independent happy life once again.
Our New Haven program, now in its third year, is serving well over 100 former clients (single adult men and women) with a permanent home and the case management they need to progress in their new lives. In late March, we had a welcome party for the 55 men and women who recently moved into our third New Haven apartment location at New Hope Housing’s Rittenhouse property. It was such a great time of joy and celebration with our new residents there. Recently, we introduced our Neuhaus Education Agency reading literacy program there, and 43 of our new residents attended. We spent over an hour hearing from many of the residents telling stories of their childhood, their interrupted or challenged educations and how excited they are to be able to study and grow in their lives through the programs we offer them. It was so inspiring to see how God is working in these precious lives through Star of Hope!
The Star of Hope Transitional Living Center’s Genesis and New Life programs are getting underway. Genesis is designed for young women 18-25 years old, who have aged out of foster care and need help becoming successful young adults. New Life was created for young, pregnant mothers who need our help with their new baby and their life preparedness moving forward. Both initiatives are exciting additions to our Transitional Living Center’s outstanding program.
Last month at the Star of Hope Men’s Development Center, four men commenced from the GED Program, and we now have 15 men active in the GED Classes and working on their high school equivalency exams. In addition to all of this, we have two Rice University MBA Teams working with us on expanding our Jobs Training and Job Opportunities networks and programs for our clients citywide.
We are grateful for your partnership with us. None of this would be possible without your continued support. I pray God’s richest blessings on your life as we serve together!
As we celebrate this Holy week of Easter, we reflect on Jesus' final week on this earth. Everything about Jesus' life was a miracle ... His virgin birth, His sinless life, His profound teachings, His miracles and His resurrection from the dead. But what do you think is the greatest miracle of Easter?
I believe the greatest Miracle of Easter is the miracle of eternal life which God gives over and over ... every day around the world ... every time one of us confesses our sins and accepts Jesus as our Lord and Savior. That is the greatest Miracle of Easter! Jesus paid the price for ALL who believe and redeems us to a life in Heaven with Him.
We see this Miracle of Easter played out in broken human lives every single day at Star of Hope as men, women and children in deep distress and lost in this life, turn to God through his Son, Jesus, and experience this miracle of rebirth into God's kingdom for themselves.
A recent graduate of Star of Hope's programs, Justin says: “I have lived more in the last 2 ½ years of sobriety than I have in my whole existence. And that is no exaggeration. So I want to thank you all very much for helping me change my life into something worth living.”
Thank you for being a part of the Star of Hope ministries to the homeless of our city! As we serve together with you, through your prayers, volunteering and gifts, we serve their immediate needs for food, shelter, clothing and love ... just as Christ commanded us to do. And we see the Miracle of Easter occur every day in these lives, as they find their way back to life, and for many begin a new relationship with Christ.
I hope you will seek God as never before and claim Him this Holy Week as your own. Renew your relationship to Him, and commit to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate all around us. You will be honoring Christ's admonition to us from John 21:17: If you love me, feed my sheep.
Happy Easter from all of us at the Star of Hope family of ministries!
These are exciting times in Houston in so many ways! In my 4 decades here, I cannot remember a more vibrant time in our community.
We have a strong and growing economy, but we also have a growing segment of our population in great need … left behind in this economic boom. They lack education and relevant job skills, and with no financial safety net, they fall into homelessness all too easily.
Star of Hope is not standing still but is confronting this issue head on, which has grown since Hurricane Ike and the great recession of 2008. We are proactively expanding to serve record numbers of homeless men, women and children, who are coming to us for help!
Since 2008, we have optimized programs at our 3 campuses to serve as many of these “newcomers” as possible. We have also expanded the breadth of our service offerings, to help more sustain their success after they have emerged from homelessness.
In the past 5 years, gifts to Star of Hope have grown by 24% … for which we are very grateful! With those dollars, we have been able to increase the number of people we serve per day by 53%, leveraging your gifts more efficiently than ever!
Thank you for being a part of the ministries of Star of Hope!
Each February, thousands of Houstonians gather for dinner and an evening of inspiration and education, in support of the homeless of our city. It is the Star of Hope Annual Banquet, and this year it is on Tuesday, February 25 at 7pm in the Lanier Ballroom at the Hilton Americas downtown. If you are not already planning to attend, we would love for you to join us! Seating is limited, so register today.
You will learn more about all the exciting ministries of Star of Hope, which has been serving Houston’s homeless since 1907. And, you will be treated to a great meal, powerful testimonies from Star of Hope Alumni and a special musical performance by Amy Grant. You will 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 have 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 Our Mission to help our neighbors in need! And if you are able, come and celebrate with us on February 25!
I gave up New Year’s resolutions many years ago because, well, I think you know why! But I do find myself each year-end pondering the year-past and thinking about what lies ahead in the new year, as I am sure you do.
Today, as I look back I see what an amazing year 2013 was for Star of Hope, with rich blessings from our Lord in every area of our ministry together. We saw God accomplish so much at Star of Hope through your support:
- Decisions to follow Christ are at amazing levels.
- Many found freedom from addictions of every kind.
- Families are reconciled and reunited.
- Head-of-households achieved independent living.
- Adults completing our programs are now employed full-time.
Now that is so much more than New Year’s resolutions. That is true life change! I am grateful for your partnership and look forward to sharing more of these results with you in the upcoming weeks and months.
As we look ahead to all of the opportunities and needs we will face as a Mission in 2014, I am reminded of Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” God will faithfully provide all the resources required to meet the escalating needs of men, women and families in crisis in our community.
Once again, thank you for an amazing 2013. May His blessings abound in and through you in the year to come!
December is moving so fast. I cannot believe it … Christmas is next week! I have often thought that time speeds up and the days go faster during the last two months of the year. But ready or not, Christmas is here. Christmas music is on the radio. Everyone seems happier and they are thinking about helping others. I love Christmas!
Think about Star of Hope’s task this year. Can you imagine what it is like to take care of more than 150 families at Christmas, all at once? That is what we are doing here at Star of Hope right now, and it is a big job. The 150 families here with us this Christmas will have a great Christmas together, thanks to your help.
1,200 men, women and children are calling Star of Hope “HOME” this Christmas. Together with you, we are making it a special time for each of them to forget about their troubles for just a few days, feel God’s love through all of us, and experience the Joy of Christmas once again!
Many of you are helping us with this daunting task by conducting clothing and toy drives, helping wrap presents, serving meals and giving financially. We will be serving over 2,000 meals each day next week and all of our clients will enjoy traditional Christmas meals as well.
Most importantly, we will be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and focusing on God’s amazing Christmas gift to each of us … His only Son!
Thank you so much to all of you who are already helping this Christmas! And if you haven’t yet joined us in making Star of Hope your mission for the hungry and homeless this Christmas, please GIVE NOW and help us with this exciting work!
Merry Christmas to you and yours. May God’s Love and Peace be yours this Christmas and in the year to come.
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!