Reaching Home Dinner Awardees Announced

Partnership for Strong Communities

Cindy Dubuque, Reaching Home Campaign Manager, Partnership for Strong Communities

Every day, lives are being changed by the work done through the Reaching Home Campaign. Once a year, we get to celebrate our successes and acknowledge the incredible achievements of some individuals who have gone above and beyond in the efforts to prevent and end homelessness.

This year, Connecticut was the first state recognized for ending homelessness among chronically homeless Veterans and the second state to end homelessness for all Veterans. To that end, the Reaching Home Campaign is recognizing the frontline team that worked tirelessly to accomplish the goal of ending Veterans homelessness with the Diane Randall Leadership Award. This award recognizes those who demonstrate leadership and commitment in the public or private sector by advocating for systems change, policies and funding opportunities that create solutions to prevent and end homelessness. The team of leaders, stakeholders and providers from across the state and across agencies and services worked to redesign and realign their service implementation, to include new strategies and system changes, in order to achieve the shared goal of ending Veteran homelessness.

Just as important as systems change is the advocacy that takes place on behalf of people being served.  Lydia Brewster is recognized with the Reverend Richard Schuster Advocacy Award for a professional or volunteer who demonstrates a strong commitment to preventing and ending homelessness through either legislative or client-centered advocacy in an effort to raise awareness about the needs of individuals and families in danger of becoming homeless. As a dedicated advocate and leader for over 25 years in the Middletown area, Lydia has linked countless people to resources, programs, and services. She has also created leadership opportunities for people who have experienced homelessness to share their experiences at churches, at the legislature, and at leadership summits, among other venues.

Supportive housing changes lives. Both Joseph “Gypsy” Grillo and Joseph Sicilia are receiving the Carol Walter Supportive Housing Tenant Award.  This award recognizes a supportive housing tenant who shows commitment to supportive housing advocacy, leadership skills, and an effort to make his/her community a better place.

Joseph “Gypsy” Grillo, a veteran of the Vietnam War, and former PGA caddie, experienced a medical emergency in 2010, which ultimately placed him in the hospital for a lengthy stay, and shifted his life’s course.  Gypsy was able to move into Victory Gardens Supportive Housing and has been able to maintain his health while giving back to the community.  He shows a commitment to supportive housing advocacy by supporting the program that he and his fellow veterans have benefitted from by participating in fundraising events and being a community spokesperson willing to speak to groups about his personal experience.

Joseph Sicilia experienced homelessness as a senior in high school after the passing of his beloved grandmother.  Once a “fearful teen who hid in the shadows”, Joseph transformed into a trained Keep the Promise advocate who speaks comfortably in the presence of policy makers, and has spent many days at the capitol raising awareness about mental illness stigma and the importance of maintaining funding for services.  He has become an active volunteer with the greater Bridgeport Continuum of Care and a dedicated member of Opening Doors of Fairfield County. 

To recognize the great accomplishments of all award recipients, join us on Thursday, June 16th at the 11th Annual Reaching Home Celebration Dinner and Housing Awards, to celebrate not only the outstanding work of the 2016 Award recipients, but also the collaborative successes of Connecticut’s housing advocates, leaders, and organizations.

Click here to purchase tickets or make a donation so that others may attend.

What: 11th Annual Reaching Home Celebration & Awards Dinner
When: Thursday, June 16th, 5-8 pm
Where: Radisson Hotel Cromwell, 100 Berlin Rd, Cromwell, CT 

Additionally, you have an opportunity to sponsor the event! Click here to sponsor and support the Reaching Home Campaign to end homelessness in Connecticut. Your help means that everyone in our state can have a safe, affordable place to call home…take a moment to become our Housing Hero!

RSVP/Purchase tickets here

Sponsor the event here

Click here to read previous blogs.


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