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2019 Reaching Home Celebration & Housing Awards Recap

17 June 2019
Partnership for Strong Communities

The 14th Annual Reaching Home Celebration & Housing Awards were held on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at Anthony's Ocean View in New Haven. The 2019 RHC brought together housing advocates, homelessness service providers, generous donors, and supporters of the Reaching Home Campaign to end homelessness in Connecticut.

Renee DiNino of iHeart Media once again emceed the event, providing a warm welcome to all attendees as they entered the ballroom. Kiley Gosselin, the Executive director of the Partnership for Strong Communities, then took to the stage to honor two long-time homelessness advocates and leaders in the Reaching Home Campaign.

Allison Cunningham, CEO of Columbus House, was honored with a plaque for her work, as she transitions to a new role with Yale Divinity School. Next, the entire ballroom gave a standing ovation to Janice Elliott, Executive Director of the Melville Charitable Trust, for her instrumental work in bringing partners together with the shared goal of ending homelessness. Alicia Woodsby, the Partnership's Senior Policy Advisor and leader in the Reaching Home Campaign, was honored for her hard work in successfully advocating for solutions to make Connecticut's homelessness response system more effective and efficient.

Following these special acknowledgements, the partners in the Reaching Home Campaign were honored for their work. Seila Mosquera-Bruno, Commissioner of the State of Connecticut Department of Housing and long-time member of the Reaching Home Campaign, gave a rousing speech in which she implored housing providers and advocates to continue being creative and working hard in their fields, and affirming the State of Connecticut's support to the Reaching Home Campaign.

The event featured a video by the Partnership for Strong Communities, bringing perspective to the progress Connecticut has made in ending homelessness.

The Reaching Home Celebration & Housing Awards honored a number of outstanding leaders and advocates who have made a difference in their communities and statewide. Below are the award winners:

The Diane Randall Leadership Award: Anne Foley, Undersecretary of the State of Connecticut Office of Policy & Management. Anne has been a leader in implementing groundbreaking and effective solutions to end homelessness at the state level, serving under 9 different OPM secretaries in the Rowland, Rell, Malloy, and Lamont Administrations. Read more about Anne's story here.


The Rev. Richard Schuster Advocacy Award: Leigh Duffy, Windham No Freeze Hospitality Center. For the past 8 years, Leigh has advocated for successful and innovative solutions to ending homelessness in northeastern Connecticut through her role with the Windham No Freeze shelter. Read more about Leigh's story here.


The Diane Walter Housing Tenant Award: Joe White of Hamden, CT, and Cathy Kriss of Enfield, CT.

Through outreach and education, Joe is making a difference in the lives of people without a home in the New Haven area. Joe has used his personal experience with homelessness to inform the advocacy work and volunteering that he does through Columbus House in New Haven, as well as his church. Learn more about Joe's story here.

Cathy Kriss is an advocate for people experiencing homelessness and people with mental health challenges in her hometown of Enfield. She was instrumental in starting up Enfield's warming center, the town's first formal homelessness response system, and she serves as the warming center's secretary. Learn more about Cathy's story here.

Thank you to all who joined us at the 2019 Reaching Home Celebration & Housing Awards! We are thrilled to announce that this year's event brought in over $100,000 to go towards the campaign to end homelessness in Connecticut. We look forward to seeing you next year!