The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness on Thursday presented its yearly awards during its Annual Training Institute and meeting.
Sister Patricia McKeon, former Executive Director of Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation in Hartford, received the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness Social Justice Award.
David Pascua, who is retiring from the Norwich-based Southeastern Mental Health Authority, received the individual Carol E. Walter Think, Be, Lead Change Individual Award.
The Greater New Haven 100-Day team received the Carol E. Walter Think, Be, Lead Change Agency Award.
The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness Social Justice Award
Recognizes a leader who embraces or champions new practices, embodies a spirit of collaboration, and takes risks and innovative approaches while developing solutions to complex social issues. This award is presented to a leader, policy maker or agency who tirelessly pursues and promotes solutions to an issue, working with a variety of stakeholders to accomplish this goal.
This year’s Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness Social Justice Award goes to Sister Patricia McKeon, former executive director of Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation based in Hartford. It recognizes with deep respect and gratitude your tireless work and many contributions to the mission of ending homelessness in Connecticut over the past 30 years.
Patricia McKeon, RSM, is a Sister of Mercy and the former executive director of Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation in Hartford. For more than 30 years she actively advocated for the homeless population of central Connecticut, and she worked tirelessly towards a singular goal: ending homelessness in the state of Connecticut.
A former teacher for Mercy High School in Middletown, Sister Pat first began her work with the homeless in 1980 when she founded St. Vincent DePaul Place in Middletown. During her time there she worked with many people who were homeless and saw firsthand the benefits of a service plan that linked housing with social services. Since then, Sister Pat has become involved in a number of service-oriented projects and housing ventures including the development of Nehemiah Housing, a transitional housing program for families in Middletown; Liberty Commons, one of the first demonstration projects in Connecticut of a permanent supportive housing program for single adults in Middletown; and Mercy House, a residence for homeless men and women with co-occurring disabilities in Hartford.
Sister Pat made helping the homeless her life’s work and continually found ways to help those in need while recognizing the important role we play in the neighborhood. In 1999, Sister Pat was named Executive Director of Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation. Throughout her tenure at Mercy Housing, she advocated for the needs of clients and the pursuit of best practices in the field of homelessness services.
The Carol E. Walter Think, Be, Lead Change Individual Award
Recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of homeless or housing services. This person or agency brings forward the spirit of Carol Walter in all that they do in the field, taking a pragmatic approach to prevent and end homelessness. This award is presented to someone in the housing/homeless field who never loses sight of the end goal of ending homelessness, driving this mission from within his/her agency or coalition work.
This year’s Carol E. Walter Think, Be, Lead Change individual award goes to David Pascua, who is retiring from the Norwich-based Southeastern Mental Health Authority. Mr. Pascua has been employed with the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) since 1979. He will have 35 years state service this November.
He worked at Norwich Hospital as a Mental Health Worker from 1979 to 1992. He then accepted a position with Southeastern Mental Health Authority (SMHA) on the Community Integration Program (CIP), where he served consumers with special needs and gained experience in housing through establishing and maintaining several on site staff residential programs.
In 1995 Mr. Pascua accepted the position of Housing Coordinator and created the SMHA Network Housing Office. The housing office is a collaborative among SMHA, Reliance House Inc. and Sound Community Services, Inc., and the Housing Coordinators from each of these agencies work together to provide housing services throughout Southeastern Connecticut (SECT).
The Carol E. Walter Think, Be, Lead Change Agency Award
This year’s Carol E. Walter Think, Be, Lead Change agency award goes to the Greater New Haven 100-Day team.
In May, 2014, the providers of Opening Doors-Greater New Haven embarked on an audacious journey to reshape their homeless response system for single, chronically homeless adults. Through a 100-day effort, led by the Rapid Results Institute — with funding support from United Way of Greater New Haven, Melville Charitable Trust, and CCEH — they set out to develop a new way to work together more effectively and efficiently to move the needle.
They set an ambitious goal of housing 75% of the region’s 107 chronically homeless individuals. Through this effort to date, they have housed permanently more than 178 chronically homeless single adults – meeting the needs and improving the lives of many, while taking a quantum leap toward the state’s Zero: 2016 goal of ending chronic homelessness in Connecticut. Greater New Haven’s tremendous success in this effort inspired others across the state and nation: five additional Connecticut community teams launched their own 100-day efforts in March, 2015.
The Greater New Haven 100-day team included representatives of Columbus House, Connecticut Mental Health Center, The Connection, Inc., Continuum of Care, Inc., Emergency Shelter Management Services, Liberty Community Services, New Haven Housing Authority, New Reach, United Way of Greater New Haven, VA Connecticut and CCEH. The team members were supported by their own agency leadership and additional leaders from the City of New Haven, DMHAS, DOH, the HUD Hartford Field.
About the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness
For nearly 25 years, the CT Coalition to End Homelessness has provided services to providers in the homeless services industry, coordinated legislative advocacy, and provided vital public information regarding the extent of homelessness and the need for solutions. CCEH has been a critical liaison between their membership and state government as well as other statewide organizations working on issues related to homelessness. Since its inception, CCEH’s membership has grown; once comprised of a handful of emergency shelter programs, CT is now home to more than 50 emergency shelters along with dozens of transitional and permanent supportive housing programs. The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, in partnership with communities throughout the state, creates change through leadership, community organizing, advocacy research, and education.