Hope Partnership

Hope Partnership rendering of Thrive StudiosCENTRAL REGION
$1 million FCLF financing (2 loans)

Acquisition loan
33 units of affordable rental housing + drop-in community service center

“We want to see our community Thrive, and a critical piece of making that happen is housing. We are incredibly excited to be in partnership with FCLF, a staple in our community around affordable housing.” – Rev. Mary Lee Downey, founder and CEO of Hope Partnership

In 2011, it became clear that a growing number of families and children were experiencing poverty and living in hotels and motels along Highway 192 in Kissimmee. This recognition spurred the founding of the nonprofit Community Hope Center – now Hope Partnership – founded by the Rev. Mary Lee Downey with the support of a local community of faith and other supporters. A building that was once an IHOP and then a Mexican restaurant became a space for agencies and providers to co-locate and provide resources for families to achieve self-sufficiency. The first year’s plan was to serve 200 families; the result was 1,000 families served. Over time and under the leadership of Rev. Downey, Hope Partnership has grown from a 2-person, mostly volunteer operation into a staff of over 25, and now partners with over 30 community agencies providing emergency relief, homeless outreach, employment assistance, identification services, family advocacy, and housing.

Throughout Hope Partnership’s history, one need always stood out above all others – affordable housing. As availability became scarcer, it became more difficult for the nonprofit to help clients reach their goals of stable housing. Many who move to the area work full-time, yet the hospitality economy relies on minimum wage jobs. Many of the families currently working with Hope Partnership have a steady income, but that income is not enough to move them from hotel living, which is expensive for many low-income households.

With financing from Florida Community Loan Fund, Hope Partnership acquired the former Crown Motel on Highway 192 in Kissimmee and will rehab the Motel into Thrive Studios which will include 33 units of affordable housing available for rent through an innovative trauma responsive property management program. The former motel lobby will be converted to a multi-purpose community space and will connect residents to services including case management, ID services, employment assistance, showers, and laundry facilities.

This project is Hope Partnership’s first housing development, with plans for more to follow on nearby land that the organization owns. Providing affordable housing for families who are low-income or at risk for homelessness helps Hope Partnership reach their goal of empowering their neighbors with solutions to achieve success.

FCLF received a Capital Magnet Fund (CMF) award from the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, which allowed FCLF to offer more favorable terms to Hope Partnership to further help this project be successful. Additional funding for Hope Partnership and Thrive Studios has been provided by Federal, State, and local governments.


Pictured above, architectural rendering of Hope Partnership's Thrive Studios. Below, the original motel prior to renovation.

Hope Partnership motel before renovation

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Core Purpose FCLF exists to maximize opportunities for people and places outside of the economic mainstream.
Our Vision Opportunity and dignity exist for every person and community in Florida.
Our Mission Our expertise and capital make projects successful and help organizations improve lives and communities.

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