Amber and the Hope House staff cheerfully help the senior residents with lunch and ice cream.

A Place of Compassionate Care for Seniors

Success Story
May 21, 2024

In the heart of South Los Angeles, Hope House stands as a beacon of compassion in senior care. Through a journey of passion and purpose, Amber Coxsom created a haven that provides a nurturing environment for her residents. A place of compassionate care for seniors that blends specialized support with a warm sense of community. From its inception to its expansion into Inglewood, California, Hope House epitomizes the power of vision, perseverance, and partnership in creating spaces for people and communities to thrive.

A dedicated healthcare professional in scrubs stands outside a house, ready to provide care and support.
Amber Coxsom, founder and CEO of Hope House, knew she could provide better, more holistic care.

A Visionary’s Dream

For Amber, the creation of Hope House was more than just establishing a care facility. It was deeply rooted to a lifelong mission that began in her youth. She recalls playing nurse from a very early age, carrying her toy stethoscope all around the house. She became a candy striper, and after high school, she was a caregiver while she attended community college. Indeed, she was always on the path to caring for others.

With encouragement from the nurses around her, Amber became first a vocational and then a Registered Nurse. She found a job working in hospice at a residential care facility and in people’s homes. “As a nurse I enjoyed giving care more holistically,” she says. “And although I kind of fell into it, I really felt like it was my calling. It can be hard, but it’s a gift at the same time when you’re meeting someone’s needs before they pass.”

She worked hard to give her patients the highest quality of life possible. But something was lacking. Amber thought, “I can provide better care than what I’m seeing.”

A woman in a wheelchair holding hands with her caretaker at Hope House, a haven of unity and inclusivity.
Amber and her staff provide a more “home-like” alternative to assisted living, including engaging activities and more personalized care

Moving ever forward, Amber saved her money and started asking questions about what was needed to start her own care facility. It all came down to a five-day class. The class gave her practical steps to how she could eventually open her own residential care facility – create an LLC, start a business bank account, and more. The information was all well and good, but it didn’t give her the property or the money she’d need to make her vision a reality.

So, she took a business course at Los Angeles Trade–Technical College. At an event there, she met a presenter, Iman Cotton, a loan officer from CDC Small Business Finance. “Iman has been nothing but a blessing to my life since the day she gave her presentation,” says Amber. Knowing she might need Iman’s help, Amber took her card.

Around the time the pandemic was at its height, Amber found a house for sale that would be perfect for a residential care facility in South L.A. “I wanted to have a hospice care in this location because there’s such a big need,” she says. Assisted care facilities play a crucial role in providing essential services to vulnerable populations, including the seniors and individuals with disabilities.

The property also had an ADU in the back that Amber could call home. With the help of her parents, she purchased the property but knew she would need more capital to make Hope House the top-notch facility she’d envisioned. Assisted care facilities, like many small businesses, often face challenges in securing financing, especially if they are located in underserved areas.

Iman Cotton and Amber sitting at a desk, engaged in a conversation and working together.
Iman Cotton worked with Amber to make sure she was ready for both her first and second SBA Community Advantage loans.

A Collaborative Journey

Amber remembered her conversation with Iman.  “I felt like I was well prepared, but Iman was able to walk me through the process and get me the funding I needed,” she says. Iman advised taking advantage of the SBA’s Community Advantage Loan program, which provides an avenue for small businesses in underserved communities to access the capital they need to start, operate, or expand their services and contribute to the overall well-being of the community.

“From the beginning, Amber was prepared and motivated,” said Iman. “Even before the loan process started, she had constructed a ramp and was moving forward with anything she could.” Additionally, Iman believed in the project, and Amber could tell. “I wasn’t just another client for her. She actually believed in my vision. She was so patient with me through the process. She would give me that push I needed to not give up and just get it done.”

That dedication to find a way to help small businesses is a big reason why Iman came to work at CDC Small Business Finance a short time before. “If I see even an inkling of a loan getting approved, I’m going to grab your hand and run with it,” she says. And ran she did. Not even six months later Hope House received the financial support necessary to enhance its facilities and provide specialized care.

Amber and Iman walking down a hallway, touring the facility.
Amber and Iman tour the first Hope House facility. “From the beginning, Amber was prepared and motivated,” says Iman.

A Sanctuary of Care

Established in 2022, Hope House quickly earned a reputation for excellence in senior care. Located in South Los Angeles, the first facility, Harvard Hope House, offers a range of services tailored to meet the diverse needs of its residents. From personalized therapy sessions to engaging social activities, Hope House provides more than just care; it offers a community where residents can thrive.

Furthermore, Hope House qualified for the Assisted Living Waiver Program which helps pay for qualified low income, Medi-Cal eligible seniors and persons with disabilities to live in a home like setting. These are seniors who would otherwise require placement at a nursing facility. The program ensures that Amber can continue to help give first-rate care to those who need it most.

What sets Hope House apart isn’t just its services, but the genuine commitment of its staff, led by Amber herself. With over 15 years of industry experience, Amber instills a culture of empathy and dedication within her team. Every resident isn’t just a patient; they’re cherished members of the Hope House family, deserving of the highest level of care and attention.

Amber and staff in front of Hope House sign in the facility's entryway.
Amber and the Hope House staff offer the highest level of care and attention. (From left to right: Kilee Rowland, Yamini Cruz, Amber, Marcia Coxsom, & Maria Tejeda)

Reflecting on the impact of Hope House, Amber shares, “Often when folks come, they’re not happy to be here.” That’s not a deterrent for her. She gives the best care she can and defines her success by the appreciation shown to her every day. “It’s really when I get letters, notes, and cards from the families and sometimes the residents themselves. But when they smile, that’s a reward I cherish.”

Amber’s commitment to providing a haven for seniors endures as she expands the vision of Hope House to a new Inglewood location set to open soon. A year after the initial opening, her dedication to accessible senior care drives the envisioning of a second facility. 

When the time came, Amber knew who to call. “When I was ready to grow and expand I reached out to Iman and once again she was right on top of it. It has been such a pleasure and an amazing experience working with Iman. She helped me turn my dream into a reality and I will forever be grateful.”

With her dependable support, Iman helped Amber secure another SBA Community Advantage Loan, thus ensuring the continuation and expansion of compassionate care at Hope House.

As she looks ahead, Amber expresses her goal of opening more locations, emphasizing her steadfast dedication to addressing the need for quality care facilities in underserved communities, “I want to open more locations. Right now, my goal is to open one a year.”

Amber in front of the second Hope House senior care facility.
Amber stands in front of the nearly complete second Hope House location. “My goal is to open one a year,” she says.

As we race through our fast-paced lives, Hope House stands as a reminder to slow down, be present, and extend a hand of kindness to those who have paved the way for us. And with leaders like Amber Coxsom and partners like Iman Cotton and CDC Small Business Finance, we can strive to make this world a better place for our seniors.