JUNE 30, 2016 – Westport, CT. Two of Westport, CT’s oldest and most widely known not-for-profits, Project Return and Homes with Hope announced today their intention to merge.

Project Return will continue its core mission of caring for and empowering young women in crisis as a separate program within the Homes with Hope organization. In turn, Homes with Hope will enrich its services by adding the ability to help rebuild the lives of young women between the ages of 18 and 24.

The merger came about in response to major changes in Connecticut child welfare policies punctuated by the elimination of funding for long standing programs. As the State redirected incentives for adolescent girls to live in foster homes rather than in group homes, Project Re-turn’s focus began shifting to provide supportive, transitional living programs for young women ages 18-24. Aligning with Homes with Hope is a perfect fit for Project Return programs as it continues to nurture these young women as they build better lives. Project Return will continue its support of High School young women through its HEAL Program.

“We are excited to become a part of a bigger organization with such an impressive track record,” said Tessa Gilmore-Barnes, Interim Executive Director of Project Return. “This is a new chapter in the growth and stability of Project Return, and the combined energies of our two programs add to the recognition of Westport as a leader in diverting and preventing youth homelessness.”

“Together, we will be stronger,” added Jeff Wieser, President and CEO of Homes with Hope. “Homes with Hope currently serves over 30 children and teenagers in its programs, and this partnership adds strength and depth to our services. No other suburban community in the country has as wide-ranging and effective a program of care for its citizens in crisis as does Westport, and we are very proud to be a part of that community,” he added.

Barbara Butler, Director of the Department of Human Services of the Town of Westport, agrees: “Homes with Hope has a long history of genuine concern for the welfare of their residents, combined with a sensitivity to the needs of the community. We believe Project Return’s residents would be well served by such a partnership.”

Project Return was founded in 1983, as a haven to empower adolescent girls and young women in crisis and help them rebuild their lives. Since that time the organization has helped hundreds of young women in Westport and surrounding communities. To learn more about Project Return’s programs and services visit www.projectreturnct.org.

Also founded in 1983, Homes with Hope is a grassroots response to the problems of homeless-ness. The Agency’s mission is to support the homeless and those at risk of homelessness in the communities served by providing food, safe emergency shelter, permanent supportive housing, and the supportive services needed to achieve a more independent and self-sufficient life. To learn more about Homes with Hope’s programs and services visit www.hwhct.org.

PRESS CONTACT: Jeff Wieser. 203-226-3426 x14; jwieser@hwhct.org and Tessa Gilmore–Barnes 203-222-8129 TGB@hwhct.org.

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