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.
Through these expansions and innovations, Door of Hope has grown from serving 7 families every two years to serving 232 families last year alone.