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About

Restoring Hope and Changing Lives Since 1985

Our Mission

Helping IndividualsHelping individuals, including veterans, and their families, overcome mental illness, addiction, homelessness and poverty by providing housing and support services.

Our Story

Female Soldier and ChildOur nonprofit organization was founded in 1985 by caring families of young adults whose lives were impacted by severe depression and other debilitating mental illnesses. Our residential programs and support services were expanded in 2001 to reach homeless veterans struggling with mental health issues and combat-induced trauma.

Today, Community Hope is the leading nonprofit in and around New Jersey serving needy veterans and at-risk veteran families. We are at the forefront with residential programs that provide a safe haven and essential services each day to hundreds of homeless veterans, aging-out youth and adults struggling with mental health issues. Since 1985, we have restored hope to thousands.

Our Impact

Soldier and FamilyCommunity Hope served more than 1,450 individuals last year, reaching more than twice as many individuals in just the past five years, including:

  • 1,300 veterans and their families rescued from homelessness compared to 507 five years ago
  • 160 individuals who continued their mental health recovery in our residential programs

Our Strategic Plan

CH Strategic PlanThrough our long-range Strategic Planning, we are committed to creating an engaging, transparent, and innovative environment. We are focused on operational excellence, financial sustainability, inspired and engaged employees, and creating innovative services.

View our full Strategic Plan

Fiscal Year 2020 Highlights

Reach:

Community Hope has served more than 1,000 individuals this year and many more individuals and families in its 35 year history.

Each day our housing and comprehensive support services are a lifeline to:

  • 100+ veterans in our Veterans Transitional Housing Programs
  • 140+ individuals in our Mental Health Recovery Programs

Each Year we provided rapid re-housing and homeless prevention services to:

  • 700+ veterans and their families in our Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) program

Since opening our first veterans program in 2004, Community Hope has served more than 7,000 homeless veterans and veteran family members.

Addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic:

As an essential healthcare provider, our pandemic response meant an immediate transition to a service delivery and operational approach that ensured the continued high quality care we provided pre-COVID was now available to all those we serve while keeping them and our employees healthy and safe.

We responded by:

  • Transitioning administrative departments to a virtual environment and working within teams to achieve success amid the remote working landscape.
  • Initiating telehealth services at the start of the pandemic, enabling those we serve to increase their access and to more easily access our clinical services. We raised private funds to provide iPads to the low income veterans and disabled individuals we serve so they can continue to access care by remote means or in person with proper precautions.
  • Ensuring the provision of essentials including food, medicine, cleaning supplies, and other critical items.
  • Expanding technology to enable all those we serve to easily and readily connect to our services as well as: health, legal, employment and academic needs.
  • Establishing “Wellness Wednesdays” where communications on how to remain safe both physically and mentally were distributed electronically to all employees by our Human Resources Team.

As a result of these efforts, 99% of our homeless veterans, veteran families and adults with mental
illness remained virus-free with no known contact spread.

Enhancing Clinical Services in our Mental Health Recovery Programs:

Mental Health Recovery ProgramsOur Community Support Services and Transitional Housing Programs continue to provide safe, affordable, and supportive housing for adults in mental health recovery. What started out as a small home for five young adults 35 years ago has grown into a program where Community Hope owns and/or operates 36 homes in Morris, Sussex, Warren and Somerset Counties, serving over 150 men and women daily. Over the past year, our residents have enjoyed 95% of their well days living in the community and not needing to utilize the hospital or ER, including during the COVID pandemic. In addition, approximately 20% of our residents are active members of the community in which they live by holding some type of employment or volunteer opportunity.

Throughout the COVID pandemic, we have maintained uninterrupted services for all individuals in our Mental Health Recovery Programsthrough a blended environment, with in person services with proper precautions, coupled with teleservices. We make program specific adjustments based on consumer needs and changing protocol including the opening of community- based services.

In an effort to prevent contact spread of the COVID-19 virus in our homes, we developed a temporary isolation plan that included a separate residence. The Morris County Freeholders made a vacant County home available to us on a temporary basis for quarantine and the Morris Habitat for Humanity ReStore team helped us to furnish it.

Mental Health Apple

Addressing the Mental Health Crisis Among Veterans:

Marines in UniformWith 20 veterans taking their own lives every day in the United States, many of our nation’s former service men and women are clearly facing a mental health crisis. We are aware of the struggles veterans face each and every day and have focused our efforts on reducing these tragedies.

At least 80% of the veterans we serve in our largest veterans’ housing program have a mental health diagnosis. In response, Community Hope launched and then 3 expanded our Veterans Mental Health Initiative to provide individual counseling and group therapy on-site to the veterans at our Hope for Veterans Transitional Housing Program. During FY 2020, the nearly 200 veterans we served at our Hope for Veterans Program were able to benefit from individual and or group therapy from our licensed clinicians including onsite treatment or teleservices.

In the midst of the COVID-19, the Initiative is even more critical than ever! The veterans we serve face: barriers to impatient substance treatment due to centers closed to admissions, challenges in securing permanent housing due to stay-at-home and social distancing orders, and complications of medical conditions due to limited medical treatment options. In addition, as seen nationally, there is an increase in substance relapse associated with COVID-19, which our licensed clinicians are working to address. The Initiative has been successful in helping veterans overcome heightened post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, addiction and other mental health issues. We are achieving the desired outcomes of increasing “well days” for veterans, averting the need for psychiatric hospitalization and over-reliance on medication. These number of overall well days reach 95-99% consistently for veterans.

Ensuring Housing Stability for Veterans and Their Families:

Female VeteranOur Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program (SSVF) is our homeless prevention and rapid rehousing program, providing outreach, case management, and other vital services to at-risk veteran families. We enable them to stabilize their housing and for those who are homeless, we provide rapid re-housing.

Serving fifteen New Jersey counties, we helped 767 individuals achieve housing stability in this year alone. In addition to providing wrap-around services, we provide financial aid to these families for such basic needs as rental security, back rent, utility payments, household items, and beds.

Throughout the pandemic, SSVF continues to provide remote case management services, housing search and placement, and financial aid. SSVF also provides groceries, prepaid cell phones, and transportation passes via no contact drop-off. The VA provided additional funding via the CARES Act which allows us to place homeless veterans and their families in hotels when shelter is unavailable, extends financial assistance, allows for prepaid cell phone purchases, and eliminates potential barriers to enrollment during this crisis. SSVF employs a full-time Employment Specialist who assists veterans and their family members with employment endeavors. During the pandemic, she was able to help six veterans secure employment and one veteran secure a paid internship. Despite the pandemic, we surpassed our household goal for the year and have been able to help veteran families keep or find a home of their own.

Mental Health Programs:

Our staff provided more than 12,000 hours of direct face-to-face services to approximately 160 consumers in our mental health programs to support their community living each year. On average, 92% of individuals maintain their community-based permanent housing in our Community Support Services Program, while benefiting from the critical support we provide.

Veterans Programs:

Each day we provide housing and comprehensive support services for 200+ veterans in our Hope for Veterans Transitional Housing Program. At our largest veterans transitional housing program where 151 veterans were served last year, more than 90% of those served had positive discharges and 65%of veterans were employed at discharged exceeding the benchmark of 50%.

In the most recent program year, our Supportive Services for Veteran Families served 475 veteran families. We have been serving an increasing numbers of post 911 veterans and more than 20% of households served have at least one dependent child. Veterans families received supportive services to stabilize their housing and avert homelessness or to be rapidly re-housed and:

  • 92% of persons served who were imminently at-risk of homelessness at admission were stably housed at discharge.
  • 83% of persons served who that were literally homeless at admission obtained permanent housing by the time of discharge.
  • 96% of veterans in our most recent survey were satisfied with the services they received from our Supportive Services for Veteran Families program.

Community Hope Agency Awards

2020 – Lasting Achievement Award

Presented to Community Hope by the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey in recognition of 35 years of improving the lives of the people we serve.

2019 Morris County Chamber of Commerce Exemplary Leader Award

Presented to Carmine Deo, Executive Director, Community Hope

2018 NJHAMA Lifetime Achievement Award

Presented to Mike Armstrong, CEO, Community Hope (Retired)

2014 First recipient of national Pete Dougherty Award for Excellence in Supportive Housing for Homeless Veterans

Sponsored by The Home Depot Foundation
Presented by the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans

2014 Community Award

Presented by Spencer Savings Bank in commemoration of their 75th Anniversary

2013 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: President’s Staff Grant

Award recognizing projects that have the most potential to positively affect individuals and create a significant impact in the community.

2010 Outstanding Agency Award

Presented by the The Corporation for Supportive Housing – New Jersey and the New Jersey Supportive Housing Association

2009 Outstanding Provider

Presented by the NJ Association of Mental Health Agencies (NJAMHA)

Our Hope for Veterans® Program

2014 Finalist, Project of the Year

Valley Brook Village for Veterans National Corporation for Supportive Housing

2014 Project of the Year

Valley Brook Village for Veterans Central Jersey Housing Resource Center

2010 Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Service to Homeless Veterans

Presented by Secretary Eric Shinseki, The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

2005 National Community Partnership Award

Presented by the Mutual of America Foundation

2005 Governor’s Excellence in Housing Award

Presented by the NJ Department of Community Affairs

2005 Housing Award

Presented by the Somerset County Organization on Affordable Housing

To the CHOICE Independent Living Program

2005 Special Recognition Award

Presented by The Housing Partnership of Morris County

In Recognition of Community Hope Founder Carmela Lunt

October 2009 Ann Klein Advocate Award

Presented by the Community Health Law Project

April 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award

Presented by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

November 2006 Local Heroes Award; National Excellence Initiative

Presented by Bank of America

September 2006 Seeds of Hope Award

Presented by New Jersey Monthly

June 2006 Unsung Heroes Award

Presented by the Russ Berrie Foundation

Community Hope Staff Awards

April 2018 Courage and Compassion Award

Presented to Veterans Housing Director Carolyn Perry by the NJ Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies

May 2014 American Legion, Department of New Jersey Homeless Veterans Outreach Award

Presented to Jennifer Stivers, Director of Supportive Services for Veteran Families

April 2010 Leadership in Addiction Advocacy Award

Presented to Chief Executive Officer J. Michael Armstrong* by the NJ Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies

November 2009 Behavioral Health Champion

Presented to Chief Executive Officer J. Michael Armstrong* by Behavioral Healthcare Magazine

October 2008 STAR Professional Excellence Award

Presented to Director of Veterans Services Susan Visser* by the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services, Alumni Association

May 2008 Inspiring Change in Mental Health Care Award

Presented to then-Clinical Director and current Executive Director Carmine Deo by the NJ Association of Mental Health Agencies

May 2008 Outstanding Mental Health Service to Veterans Award

Presented to Executive Director J. Michael Armstrong* by the NJ Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies

May 2008 Robert J. Smythe Award for Outstanding Professional Fundraiser

Presented to Development Director Julia Bey Ahmet* by the NJ Association of Fundraising Professionals

* Former Staff Members
 Deceased

When someone has hope, anything is possible!
Please help us give the gift of hope to the hundreds of people we serve daily!

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