Door of Hope empowers families facing homelessness to transform their lives through holistic programs designed to help parents and children overcome the practical, emotional and financial challenges they face. Our Transitional Housing Program moves families from homelessness to permanent housing, while our Homelessness Prevention Program intervenes early to keep families in their own homes.
We believe our four core values are the essence of why our program is successful in allowing families to break the cycle of homelessness. Staff seek to live them daily as they work with our families and plan with them how best to achieve their goals. They are inherent in all we do.
Founded in 1985, Door of Hope was birthed by Christian community leaders listening to the needs of people and the call of God on their lives. At the heart was a deep friendship between Steve and Iris Lazarian and John Perkins – a friendship deepened by the fact that both Steve and John had been born into poverty, John in rural Mississippi and Steve in Pasadena. Each later achieved much success but that success, and a commitment to Jesus, seemed only to deepen their heart to lift people out of poverty and injustice.
When John and his wife Vera Mae moved into a home in northwest Pasadena, a community known at the time for drugs and gang violence, the Perkins and Lazarians began “Listening Conferences” with people from the Northwest Pasadena community. For weeks they would gather with people in the garage at John’s house to listen to the thoughts and needs of people living in poverty and despair.
One of those needs was housing for families experiencing homelessness. In 1985, when a two-parent family fell into homelessness, they would be split up, as there was no one equipped to serve the entire family unit. Most of the time, the father would go one way, and the mother and kid(s) would go elsewhere. Families were being torn apart, and this group of Christians listening to God in northwest Pasadena wanted to do something about it.
While driving up Los Robles Ave in Pasadena one day, Steve and Iris ran across an old dilapidated house for sale. They bought the home, fixed it up with help from help from their church community, Lake Avenue Church, and the rest is history.
Both Steve and John served on the founding board of Door of Hope, which began sheltering five families in 1985. Since then, Door of Hope has expanded significantly. In 2001, Door of Hope built apartments on-site to serve two additional families; in 2008 they expanded to a second apartment site in a nearby city with capacity to serve up to 13 women survivors of domestic violence with their children. In 2012, Lake Avenue Church invited Door of Hope to turn one of their homes into a third housing site equipped to serve five single mothers and their children. In 2018, an innovative Homelessness Prevention Program was launched, expanding capacity to serve more families offsite, rather than in its transitional housing facilities. In 2021, Beacon Housing invited Door of Hope to operate another transitional housing program at one of their homes to serve another 8 families. Through these expansions and innovations, Door of Hope has grown from serving 7 families every two years to serving 227 families last year alone.
Door of Hope is one of the only homeless providers that can shelter any kind of family together in their own private unit, including single moms, single dads, two-parent families, and domestic violence survivors, together with their children. Keeping families together is the foundation upon which Door of Hope was founded.