Decade to Doorways honors those ending  homelessness

Some of the “Hometown Heroes” honored at the recent Decade to Doorways appreciation event for their dedication to preventing and ending homelessness in Chester County

Administrators and staff of Decade to Doorways, Chester County’s initiative to end homelessness, honored a number of organizations recently that are working to prevent – and eventually eradicate – chronic homelessness in the county.

Representatives from nearly 40 groups attended the event and ten “hometown heroes” were nominated by their peers for their dedication to pursuing an end to homelessness within Chester County.

Julia Orlando (left), Director of the Bergen County, NJ Housing, Health and Human Service Center and keynote speaker at the Decade to Doorways event, with Lauren Campbell, administrator for Decade to Doorways.

Lauren Campbell, Decade to Doorways Administrator, said: “Chester County’s efforts to end homelessness have been – and will continue to be – extremely effective because of the commitment of so many agencies, non-profits, healthcare professionals, faith communities and compassionate volunteers who have come together to address the issues and collaborate on positive actions.

“This appreciation event allowed us to share some impressive statistics on the collective years of service, and, importantly, the impact that their actions have made to help end homelessness in Chester County.”

The event included words from keynote speaker Julia Orlando, who, as Director of Bergen County, New Jersey Housing, Health and Human Service Center, led that county to be the first in the nation to successfully reach and maintain “functional zero’ for chronic homelessness.

Since the inception of Decade to Doorways in 2012, Chester County has served more than 6,200 clients experiencing homelessness, of which over 1,300 were children. Nearly 225,000 nights of emergency shelter were made available to the most vulnerable in Chester County, and 1,451 people found permanent housing.

Earlier this year, Decade to Doorways published its most recent operational plan to ensure the program continues to divert, prevent and quickly re-house those experiencing homelessness, rather than just manage homelessness.  The updated plan will guide the approximately 35 organizations who diligently work every day to see the Chester County community is healthy, housed and stable.

“The causes and situations of homelessness are vast and often deep-rooted but in Chester County, we recognize that homeless does not define anyone.  We truly believe that it is a temporary situation to which an end is achievable,” added Lauren Campbell.

“We are on track and remain committed to focusing our resources on ending chronic homelessness within the next two years in Chester County.”

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