Affordable Housing, Announcements, Community Development, Homelessness, Supportive Housing

2014 Reaching Home Dinner Celebrates Leaders, Advocates and Tenants


We came. We ate. We left inspired.

The ninth annual Reaching Home Celebration Dinner and Housing Awards brought together roughly 450 people to commemorate the good work done in the last year to prevent and end homelessness in Connecticut.

This was the largest gathering ever for a Reaching Home Dinner.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was on hand to accept a special award for his leadership in addressing Connecticut’s affordable housing crisis. Since taking office in 2011, Gov. Malloy has invested more than $500 million in housing initiatives, including a significant expansion of supportive housing. In his speech, Gov. Malloy acknowledged the work of the crowd, which included clients, building managers, program leaders, advocates, elected officials, commissioners of public agencies, funders, and many others. He was presented his award by Charlotte Suhler, Partnership's board chair.

Click here to view the slideshow. 

Other honorees were:

  • Diane Randall Leadership Award
    Merle Berke-Schlessel, CEO and president of the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, who has taken the lead in working to help towns such as Bridgeport reduce its chronically homeless population by nearly 50 percent. The work continues in Bridgeport, Norwalk and beyond.
  • Carol Walter Supportive Housing Tenant Award
    - Shumra Chambers, who provides peer support at Connecticut Mental Health Center and is known for being available to anyone who needs help.
    - Anastasia Chamiec, who has participated in the Next Step Supportive Housing focus group, the young adults’ recovery program Join Rise Be, and given testimony at the Legislative Office Building on services for youth in recovery.
  • The Rev. Richard Schuster Advocacy Award
    Helen Lavin, who tirelessly works with The Connection’s Supportive Housing Program, the Continuum of Care networks, and the Eddy Shelter in Middletown.

In attendance were Evonne Klein, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Housing; Anne Foley, under secretary of the Office of Policy & Management, and Eric Chatman, president and CEO of the Connecticut Housing and Finance Authority.

Mark your calendars: The next dinner will be June 11, 2015, also at the Crowne Plaza in Cromwell. We’ll see you there!

Click here for an electronic version of the dinner program. 


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