The one thing we can all agree, all faiths and ideologies, is that God is with the vulnerable and poor. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house... God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives... God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war... God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.
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Bonita House of Hope-Bonita Street Project
Over the last ten years, the Bonita House has offered housing and social services to the disadvantaged and homeless population in Houston, TX. It has earned the respect and support of the community and stands as a beacon of hope for the city's most disenfranchised population.
As we now know, Hurricane Katrina caused the devastation of entire cities and towns, leaving the lives of countless survivors in mayhem. In an effort to provide some stability in such a time of uncertainty, Bonita House took in twenty-four families within days of the storm who were forced to evacuate their homes in New Orleans and come to Houston with nothing. These displaced families, numbering more than 120 women, men and children, were in desperate need of housing, food, clothing, household items, baby supplies, medical care, prescription drugs, transportation, emotional and spiritual support.
As part of The Oprah Winfrey Show's coverage of Hurricane Katrina, Chris Rock visited the shelter providing solace to the victims and shining a bright light on people who were not only homeless, but living in a foreign city. Wanting to do more, he enlisted the support of Malaak to help provide the shelter with the necessary goods that were immediately needed. Within days of being told of the priority items, the Rocks secured donated in-kind goods from major corporations, including Baby's R US, Baby Style, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Crate and Barrel, and Scholastic Inc. Chris then made a second visit with his wife to offer hugs, encouragement, and promote Bonita House of Hope's efforts by doing a live-interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper and securing coverage in People Magazine.
In December of the same year, the Rocks returned and sponsored a Christmas Party for the families, purchasing age-appropriate gifts and personally handing them out to each child followed by a wonderful Christmas dinner with the families.
Feeling a deep need to help move families out of the shelter and into permanent housing, the Rock's chose a family to sponsor, while also successfully encouraging friends to do the same. Working in partnership with Redbook Magazine on a story detailing the lives of these families, Redbook secured multiple sponsors, including JC Penney, Benjamin Moore & Co., Liz Claiborne Home, Venetian Blind, and Floor Carpet One to decorate the house the Rock's acquired, providing the family with a safe sanctuary and beautiful home to begin their new life in Houston.
Bonita House was founded in 1995 by Tyrone Evans in order to provide substance abuse treatment and transitional living to substance abusers, homeless people and ex-offenders. Originally, a dilapidated drug infested apartment complex controlled by drug dealers and crack addicts, Bonita House now serves as a means to rehabilitate many of those who had once overrun the property with crime and addiction. Bonita House transformed the crack house into a project that gives people hope and a chance to re-enter society as productive citizens.
For the past 9 years, Bonita House has successfully operated an 18-unit transitional living facility located on Bonita Street in northeast Houston, and has served over 800 homeless and chronic substance abusers, veterans and ex-offenders in the greater Houston metropolitan area. In May 2005, Bonita House opened a 64-unit facility to provide transitional and long-term housing, rehabilitation and childcare for women and children in the community. Fourteen of these units were used to serve Katrina evacuees. For more information, please visit www.bonitahope.org.
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