Program Staff

Lynn Abramson, MA, Ed. - Program Director, ASAP (After School Academic Program)

Jennifer Lyn Amon, BS - Program Director, HEAL (Health, Empathy, Altruism, Love) & Mentoring Initiative

Wendy Epstein, LCSW - Director of Supportive Housing

Lindsay Fabrizio, MA - Program Director, Project Return

JoAnn Hughes, MSW - Case Manager, Supportive Housing

Wanda Oliveras - Youth Diversion Specialist

Carl Palmer, MA - Case Manager, Supportive Housing

Manny Ramada, MSW - Adult Diversion Specialist

Ryan Soto, MA, CMHC - Program Director, Gillespie Center & Hoskins Place

Lauren Wachnicki, MSW - Case Manager, Emergency Shelter & Supportive Housing

Administrative Staff

Helen McAlinden, MSW (President & CEO) joined Homes with Hope in January of 2020 replacing the agency’s retiring long-time leader, Jeff Wieser.  She came to Homes with Hope from The Connection, where she served in numerous capacities during her tenure, most recently as Director of Homeless Outreach and Development.  Helen emigrated from Ireland after high school, landing in NYC where she earned a business degree from Manhattan College and ultimately a Master’s in Social Work at Fordham University.  Jeff Wieser noted that her demonstrated commitment to the cause of affordable housing in Fairfield County “has made her a powerful partner in the past and will make her an effective leader in the future.”

Paris Looney, LMSW (Vice President & COO, Director of Emergency Shelter Services) joined Homes with Hope in December of 2004 as a Case Manager at the Gillespie Center & Hoskins Place, the agency’s shelter for single men and women, and was promoted to Program Director at the Bacharach Community in June of 2006. Paris was also the Case Manager at Saugatuck Apartments, one of HwH’s permanent supportive housing facilities from December 2004 until March 2012. In February 2012, Paris was promoted to Director of Emergency Shelter Services overseeing all of HwH’s emergency shelters including the Gillespie Center & Hoskins Place while she continued to serve as the Program Director of the Bacharach Community. In February 2018, Paris was promoted to Vice President & COO while remaining the Director of Emergency Shelter Services. Paris brings to the position a Bachelor’s in Human Services and a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. She came to the job with very relevant experience, having worked with the homeless, with new mothers and children, as well as for the Bridgeport Health Department. Her experience working with the homeless population, specifically those with substance abuse and mental health issues, adds critical strength to this position.

Karen Mahar (Director of Resource Development) is responsible for the grant process, organization’s communications, and is a key participant in the development of the agency’s permanent supportive housing projects. She holds a BS from Springfield College in Massachusetts and has been with HwH since March of 2004. Karen comes from the corporate sector having held management positions in Marketing, Operations and Sales. She grew up in Westport until going off to college returning in 1996. She currently lives in Westport with her Labrador retriever.

Jacqueline Hogan (Director of Finance and Comptroller) came to HwH after a career in financial administration, analysis and process improvement. Jacque’s responsibilities include oversight of all financial areas of HwH including reporting, controls, and analysis.

Maureen Liebergall (Director of Community Relations) serves as a key point of contact for many aspects of the organization. Maureen's responsibilities include event planning and oversight, coordination of community outreach efforts and the management of HwH's donor database. Maureen moved to Westport in 2000 with her husband and their two children. She has volunteered for both educational and community organizations as well as chaired a variety of committees and served on several boards. She holds a BA in Social Work and enjoyed careers in social services, sales and management prior to joining the staff of Homes with Hope in September 2014.

Board of Directors

Executive Committee

John Walsh (Chair) retired from Pfizer where he worked for the Warner Lambert Company for 30 years in a variety of management positions. Most recently, he was President of the Schick Wilkinson Sword Group in Milford, CT. John is a director of the Global Foundation for Eating Disorders and has also served as a trustee of Fairleigh Dickinson University and the National Childhood Cancer Foundation. John holds a BS from Boston College and an MBA from Seton Hall University. John and his wife Sara live in Westport and have three daughters: Connie, Elizabeth, and Alexandra.

Jennifer Ferrante (Vice Chair) is an attorney with 10 years' experience with a private law firm handling commercial litigation and a career-long commitment to the nonprofit sector, including Sanctuary for Families and The Legal Aid Society in New York. Jennifer currently works at the Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport, where she is coordinating the state's first civil legal incubator program. Jennifer has served on Project Return's board since 2015 and has volunteered for the organization since 2012 on the Gather 'Round the Table Luncheon committee. Additionally, she is involved with the Westport Chapter of National Charity League and AWARE CT, and was President of the Board of Directors for the Apple Blossom School in Wilton. Jennifer and her husband have two children and live in Westport.

Bruce Hennemuth (Treasurer) and his wife, Roxie moved to Westport in 1987.  Bruce worked in the financial world for his entire career and retired in January 2019 from Morgan Stanley. Bruce and Roxie have a son who is 30 and lives in Los Angeles. Their 23-year-old daughter lives and works in New York City.

Carol Randel (Secretary) recently retired as a professor at Norwalk Community College. She is the mother of four children, four children-in-law, and the grandmother of seven. Carol’s daughter and husband have previously served on the Homes with Hope’s Board of Directors, and Carol also had a brief previous stint as a board member. At NCC, Carol served as president of the College Senate, chairman of the Academic Advisory Committee, and coordinator of the First Year and College Success program. Carol has been involved in many philanthropic activities in the Westport Community including the Historical Society, Near & Far Aid, Westport Diversity Committee, and A Better Chance.


Brian Baxendale lives with his wife, Marjolijn in East Norwalk and his sons, daughters and grandkids are spread between Europe, the Caribbean, and America. Brian has worked for Ford, Mars, and ran a global Pitney Bowes business for the ten years prior to retirement. Since then he has worked with Junior Achievement, Habitat for Humanity, Homes with Hope, and SCORE as a volunteer. Brian enjoys travelling, pursuing business interests, his extended family and helping people realize their dream of starting and growing their businesses. Brian graduated from Cambridge and Bradford Universities in the UK.

Dale Fredston spent her career as a corporate lawyer in the financial services industry. Most recently, she was General Counsel of Sterling National Bank and Sterling Bancorp, its publicly-held parent. She currently serves on the board of Metropolitan Commercial Bank, a full-service bank in New York City, and is a member of the Audit, Risk and Asset Liability Management Committees. Dale is a Director and Co-Chair of the Governance Committee of The Child & Family Guidance Center in Bridgeport. She is also Co-Chair of the Directorship and Corporate Governance Committee of the Financial Women's Association. Dale has done volunteer legal work for the Pro Bono Partnership for over 15 years. Her recent pro bono legal work includes several non-profit mergers and she assisted with the Project Return combination. She is a Past President of the Board of Trustees of the Westport Public Library. Dale holds a BA from Wellesley College and a JD from the Columbia University School of Law. Dale and her husband, Jonathan Bullard, have lived in Westport for over 30 years. Their daughter and son attended the Westport Public Schools from kindergarten through graduation from Staples High School.

Bruce Gaylord was Chief Legal Counsel of Terex Construction for Terex Corporation in Westport until his retirement in September 2014. Before joining Terex, Bruce was Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase in New York, where he was a member of the Legal Department for more than 30 years. Bruce and his wife, Gail Kelly, have lived in Westport since 1982. They have two sons, Jesse and Cameron, both of whom are graduates of Staples High School and Hamilton College. Bruce graduated from Hamilton College with an AB degree and then earned a JD from New York Law School and an MBA from New York Law School. Bruce has served as Co-President of The Family Center of Westport Weston, Inc.; as a member of the Board of Directors of Staples High School Tuition Grants Committee, Inc.; as a member of the Board of Directors of the Westport Basketball Association, and as a member of the vestry of Christ & Holy Trinity Church in Westport. He is currently Co-Chair of the Hamilton College Fairfield County Alumni Association and, with Gail, Co-Chair of the Hamilton College Parents Fund.

Allyson Gottlieb is a member of the board of Temple Israel in Westport, where she has chaired the institution's Social Action Committee for the past six years. In that capacity, she has developed an annual community service day and worked closely with Homes with Hope. Allyson also serves as the Art Smart Chair at Coleytown Elementary and has volunteered with the Bridgeport School system for the past six years. She was previously an executive to the sales and business units of various media companies, including The New York Times, Condé Nast, AOL and NetZero. Allyson is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She moved to Westport with her husband Scott in 2012. They have three young daughters who attend Coleytown Elementary School.

Jeffrey Gurren, retired, has lived in Weston since 1995 with his wife, Georgia, and their two children, Amanda and Matthew. A graduate of Syracuse University and New York Law School, Jeff practiced real estate law in New York with the national law firms of Weil Gotchal & Manges, Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Finely, Kimble, Wagner. In 1987, he co-founded a title insurance agency, which handled commercial real estate transactions in New York and nationally. For many years, he served on the executive committee of the New York State Land Title Association. He has lectured frequently on various real estate and title insurance topics and for several years was a faculty member in connection with continuing legal education courses presented by the American Law Institute-American Bar Association. Jeff is a member of the Weston Kiwanis Club's board of directors and serves as co-chair of its youth and community services committee.

Natasha Lipcan has lived in Westport with her husband David and their two children since 2012. She is an attorney specializing in employment law. Natasha began her career in private practice before moving into the financial services industry.  She was in-house employment counsel at Citi for twelve years. She is currently working as a legal consultant. Natasha holds a BA from Vassar College and a JD from the University Of Connecticut School Of Law.

Rebecca (Becky) Martin - Early in her career Becky worked in the political and non-profit sectors, where she was engaged primarily in development and coalition-building on campaigns and within institutions, including the Democratic National Committee, the United Nations Foundation and the Yale Law School. Since having three children, she has continued that work as a volunteer, as President of the Board of the Children’s Community Development Center for four years and as a leader in local political organizations, while establishing a freelance writing career. Her work has been published in the New York Times, BrainChild, and Literary Mama, among other publications. Rebecca attended Bryn Mawr College and earned a law degree at Georgetown University.

Elizabeth (Beth) Massoud joined the Homes with Hope board in February 2019. She is currently the VP of Business Development and e-Commerce at Mitchells Family of Stores. Prior to Mitchells, she worked as an investment banker with Volpe Welty & Company, Daiwa Securities and Bear Stearns. She specialized in the healthcare, technology and media sectors. Beth is currently the co-President of the Service League of Boys (SLOBs) with her youngest son Alexander. She recently served for over ten years on the Board of Habitat for Humanity Coastal Fairfield County, with roles including Chairman of the Board, Finance Committee, Development Committee and Women Build member. She attended Harvard College and Harvard Business School. Beth lives in Westport with her husband Joe, where they have raised their three sons.

Rachel Meisel moved to Westport with her husband Micah in 2011. They have three children who attend the Lower School at Greens Farms Academy. Rachel is a graduate of Lehigh University where she studied business and international relations and Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management where she earned her MBA. Rachel is a financial consultant currently working with a family office. Prior to having children, Rachel was an investment banking professional at both Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan. She currently serves as Secretary (and former co-President) of the Lower School Parent's Association at Greens Farms Academy. Rachel also serves on the Finance Committee of The Conservative Synagogue, where she is a former board member and the former Co-chair of The Conservative Synagogue Preschool.

Ian O’Malley is Homes with Hope’s first Rock Radio Disc Jockey Board member. Having spent 30 years as a DJ with New York stations, Ian has been, since 2000, a disc jockey on NYC’s popular Q104.3 radio station. He shares that vocation with life in Westport and an active role in the real estate community as an agent with Higgins Group and The Vanderblue Team. Ian has had significant roles in charity work, most notably as the National Man of the Year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. When not working with Higgins and Q104, Ian enjoys time with his wife, Debbie and 2 young sons, a variety of charity work, travel, and happily playing terrible golf.

Hal Shupack, his wife Sheila, and three children moved from Forest Hills, NY to Weston 47 years ago. Over the years, Hal has served that community in many capacities. Hal currently serves on the board of the Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County where he is the chairman of the Advancement Committee and a member of the Audit Committee. He was on the Weston Charter Revision Commission in 1976, on the Board of Finance for 14 years, and on the Board of Selectman for 6 years before becoming First Selectman. He served on the boards of the Nature Conservancy and Weston Kiwanis Club and the treasurer of the Weston Historical Society. He was a member of the Weston Police Commission and chairman of the Facility Planning Committee for the Town of Weston. Hal and Sheila are now residents of Westport. He is former Chairman and CEO of American Hinge Corporation, now retired. He graduated from American University with a BS in industrial engineering. Last, but certainly not least, he’s the proud grandpa of 6 grandchildren.

Lauren Soloff moved to Westport with her husband, Wes Malowitz, in 1994. They raised their three children in town: Hannah, a graduate of William & Mary, is now working in Washington, D.C., Jake, a graduate of Vanderbilt University, is now working in New York City, and Benji is now a sophomore at University of Michigan. Lauren is the owner and president of Sonics & Materials, Inc., an ultrasonic equipment manufacturing company located in Newtown, CT. Prior to her work with Sonics, she was a labor and employment law attorney, working in both the public and private sectors. Since moving to Westport, she has served on the PTA Executive Committee of Saugatuck Elementary School, as well as the board of The Conservative Synagogue in Westport. Presently she serves on the RTM for District 9 in Westport. She is a graduate of Tufts University and the Washington College of Law at American University.

Chan Wheeler has 30 years in senior executive roles with Maxicare, CIGNA Healthcare, and finally spent ten years with UnitedHealth Group as CEO of the Uniprise Division, responsible for claims, service, technology, web development as well as serving a customer base of corporations with 5,000 or more employees. He has a BA and BS from Stanford University, a Master in Health Communications Research from Stanford University, and an MBA from UCLA. He retired from UnitedHealth Group in 2005 and most recently spent a year in England working for the UK Department of Health as its Commercial Director General. He is an investor and board member for HealthPlanOne, a health care technology firm. He lives in Westport with his wife Leslie.

Missy Zahler moved to Westport in 2009. She has three boys who attend Westport Public Schools. Missy graduated from Butler University (BS, MBA).  Missy previously worked in sales and sales management (MCI Worldcom, Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals) and is currently a Talent Acquisition Specialist at OperationsInc. Missy has served as Landmark Parents Association President (Landmark Preschool, Westport) and PTA Co-President for Kings Highway Elementary School. She enjoys tennis and reading in her spare time.