Housing Initiative Partnership, Inc. and HIP Services, Inc.
Purpose Prize Fellow 2006
Revitalizing neighborhoods through innovative housing initiatives
After her daughter left for college, Mosi Harrington, 61, took a job with a nonprofit organization that worked with the homeless. She quickly discovered that services existed to help the homeless, but there was little to help the working poor find affordable housing. And that lack of housing tied right back to pressing issues: the relationship of homelessness and hopelessness to substance abuse; the exchange of sex for shelter, leading to increased HIV exposure and domestic abuse; and the cost of educating children living in cars and repeating grades of school. To address these issues, Harrington helped found the Housing Initiative Partnership in Prince Georges County, Maryland, aiming to boost both rental availability and home ownership for persons of low and moderate incomes. To date, 40 homes and six multi-family buildings have been built, with more in the pipeline. HIP has taken up green building with green roofs, tankless hot water heaters, bioretention landscaping and bathroom tiles made of recycled car windshields. Harrington is now fighting aggressive predatory lending rates in the local Latino community and has expanded financial counseling services to include Spanish-speaking clients. The partnership is working to tackle the digital divide by providing a computer in each of its homes; to improve literacy with a community literacy program; and to boost college attendance by offering academic scholarships.