Seven years ago, I accepted the job to serve as Journey Home’s Executive Director because I wanted to make a positive impact, and work towards social justice, and I believed that I could do so through this organization. Previous to taking this job, I had been a local community organizer in a nine-block neighborhood in New Haven and I absolutely loved the job, but the issues we were working on were not as focused on marginalized populations as I was feeling called. I also had been a project manager at an international development organization based in New York City and worked all over the Global South. Again, I absolutely loved the job, but in four years, I never visited the same project twice, and I began to feel called toward something in between these two extremes of local and global.
That’s when I found Journey Home, a regional-based organization that was about making systemic and sustainable change. I have never felt so fulfilled at any job I have ever had as I do at Journey Home, and the reason is because I know this organization is bringing about a more just society. “Social justice” is being created because those who are the most vulnerable, “the least of these” are getting the help and housing that they deserve. They deserve it because in the wealthiest country in the world, we can afford to take care of our neighbors in need. We are creating social justice because I know, without a doubt, that the complex social problem of chronic homelessness is being solved. Together with our partner agencies, we are ending chronic homelessness, one person at a time, as a coordinated system, because our donors and supporters and partners believe in the mission. In only two and a half years, we have reduced chronic homelessness in Greater Hartford by 70%. I know that the systemic changes we have made are sustainable, because we see that the people who have fallen between the cracks for years, are now in housing, and the system that is now in place is a better system than we previously had for this vulnerable population. Regardless of budget cuts from every direction, regardless of staff turnover, regardless of the economic problems that our community may face, I believe we have demonstrated enough success to prove that our goal is achievable. And I believe there are enough strong leaders at our partner agencies, our local and state government, our local businesses, and among our donors and supporters who will fight to make sure we continue to bend that arc of the moral universe towards justice. I feel so grateful to have found my calling at Journey Home. And I know that together, we will make homelessness history.