It all started in 2006 when founder Kristine Reyes-Lopez (Krie) visited Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco where she realized that businesses CAN empower disadvantaged members of society. Delancey Street Foundation focuses on rehabilitating and integrating ex-convicts back into society through their multiple businesses. She was then inspired to create a social enterprise that focused on providing employment and rehabilitation of at-risk young adults. In 2007, she established Messy Bessy Cleaners, Inc., a breakthrough social enterprise that is focused on providing a holistic poverty alleviation program for disadvantaged youth. At the onset of the first college graduate from the program, Krie led the establishment of HOUSE Foundation in 2016 with the hopes of extending the program to more hopeful young individuals.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, in the Philippines, there are about 5 million at-risk young adults with majority of whom are out-of-school youth. Not being able to receive proper education then further hinders them from improving their current situation. It has been found that when one child in the family gets a college degree, poverty incidence drops from 41.7% to 2.4%. This goes to show how big of a role education can play in these young adults’ lives.
With this, HOUSE Foundation, which stands for Helping Ourselves through Sustainable Enterprises, works with the goal of giving disadvantaged youth the opportunity to complete their education while having part-time jobs to teach them professionalism, work skills, and accountability. Through an innovative, progressive, design-thinking approach, HOUSE Foundation provides the holistic development for disadvantaged young individuals, ages 18 to 30, to become self-reliant and productive members of society.
In 2016, HOUSE Foundation was established after growing roots from working closely with social enterprise Messy Bessy. HOUSE aspires to design and catalyze business solutions to address socio-economic issues. In 10 years, it aims to replicate its program with 100 business partners helping 10,000 working students.
To date, HOUSE and Messy Bessy have collectively worked with more than 400 at-risk young individuals, 60 of whom have successfully earned a college degree, equipping them to break out of the cycle of poverty.