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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 than1,450 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

Phase II of Veterans Village Under Construction

Valley Brook Village

With Federal low-income housing tax credits having been awarded to complete the $15.5 million in funding needed to build Phase II of Valley Brook Village, construction of an additional 50 units of permanent supportive housing is now under construction for homeless and disabled veterans. The building should be complete and occupancy should commence by year-end 2019.

Addressing the Mental Health Crisis Among Veterans

With 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. In response, Community Hope recently expanded its pilot Mental Health Initiative to provide individual counseling and group therapy on-site to all 95 veterans residing at our largest facility, the Hope for Veterans Transitional Housing Program. The American Legion in New Jersey helped to launch this initiative with their nearly $100,000 gift.

American Legion Fundraising

Enhancing Clinical Services Within our Mental Health Recovery Programs

Throughout this past year, we provided housing and over 12,000 hours of face-to-face services to 160 individuals in our Mental Health residential recovery programs. Community Hope was also among the first agencies to undertake a transition to New Jersey’s new fee-for-service reimbursement system and to make the shift to more rehabilitative services for residents of our Community Support Services program.

Veteran Families Program Expands to Reach More in Dire Need

Our Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program has expanded into fifteen New Jersey counties to provide rapid re-housing to homeless veterans and veteran families and to prevent at-risk veteran households from becoming homeless. Substantial grants from The National Defense Industrial Association and other supporters assisted us in providing financial aid to these families for such basic needs as rental security, utility payments and furnishings.

Mental Health Programs:

Last year, 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. 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 permanent housing village, Valley Brook Village, and Hope for Veterans Transitional Housing Program.  Last year’s outcomes show that 100% of veterans residing at the Village participated in case management services and all veterans maintained their permanent housing.  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  more than 500 veteran families over  an eight month period. 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

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

A. Growth of the Organization

Goal 1: Develop/expand services.
Goal 2: Enhance existing mental health services.
Goal 3: Enhance existing veteran services.

B. People

Goal 4: Recruit and retain quality staff.

C. Finance & Administration

Goal 5: Develop plan to manage future resources.
Goal 6: Ensure effective and efficient use of resources.

D. Community Awareness & Fundraising

Goal 7: Raise funds to ensure financial viability of organization.
Goal 8: Increase Community Hope’s recognition in the community.

E. Compliance

Goal 9: Ensure compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements.

F. Governance

Goal 10: Strengthen board.

84 cents of every 1 dollar
supports those in need

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