President's Letter

Homes with Hope - Jeff Wieser, President and CEO

May 1, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

Homes with Hope is an ever changing, ever-moving organization. I am very proud of the work my colleagues do in this caring community, and I am equally proud of the community that allows us to do what we do. It has been an uplifting, but challenging, time at HwH.

In our first full year of operation after the integration of Project Return, the combination is going very well – with both sides adding to the other. With Project Return’s focus on youth guiding the Homes with Hope operation, our care for our younger population throughout the system has been substantially improved. Likewise, outcomes with the 18-24 year old young women at Project Return have been very successful, as the support of the program has been enhanced with best practices from HwH. We have increased to 8 the number of beds in the newly—named “Susie’s House” (in honor of Susie Basler, of course!) to help meet demand. Fully 96% of the young women who have spent time there are settled into a positive housing situation. We have great hopes for the future of this operation. Project Return remains a relatively expensive program, however, and we are facing the need to increase fundraising to ensure its future.

We now shelter over 115 people every night in our shelter programs and permanent supportive housing units. We have plans to reach even more people in 2018 as we expand our programs to deal with populations we currently cannot serve. Because each segment of our homeless population in suburban Fairfield County is relatively small, these separate facilities are small and the staffing requirement makes them relatively expensive. It is only a very caring, supportive community that can sustain such an operation, and we are proud that over 9% of Westport’s households contribute to our operation. This is a remarkable percentage and allows us to operate all of our facilities.

We continue to be nearly 70%-supported by private funding sources. The community support that local residents provide to us is beyond the scope of many similar agencies. But with the integration of Project Return, it has not been enough in the past twelve months. We cannot do this work without the private philanthropy of neighbors like YOU! I am humbled by this continuing support of our area’s residents who are most in need, and I salute this caring community for carrying on this work.

Thank You!

Jeff Wieser
President & CEO