Community Housing Advocates (CHA) was established in 2018 to serve as the parent corporation and administrative services provider for its two affiliates, Mercy Housing Corporation and My Sisters’ Place. Mercy Housing was founded by the Sisters of Mercy, with the purchase of St. Elizabeth’s House on Main Street in Hartford in 1983, and My Sisters’ Place was founded in 1982 as a shelter for women with infants. Today, as affiliates of Community Housing Advocates, the combined organization has 75 staff, an annual budget of $9m and seven program sites in Hartford and West Hartford.
CHA is a leading provider of support services and housing solutions for men, women and children in the Hartford, Connecticut metropolitan area who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Its housing and support services, including the region’s primary homelessness Diversion Center, are a critically important part of Hartford’s fabric of services. On a given night, nearly 325 people are sleeping in a bed at one of Community Housing Advocates’ spectrum of housing options; and over the course of a year its Friendship Center serves more than 67,000 meals to community members in need. CHA’s affiliates are members of the Greater Hartford Coordinated Access Network and integral members of the region’s mission to end homelessness. CHA’s mission is to contribute to the elimination of chronic homelessness in the Hartford area.
This newly merged nonprofit unites two complementary, well-regarded, champions of the fight to end homelessness in Hartford, and following the retirement and transition of prior leaders, CHA is currently led by the former Chief Operating Officer of My Sisters’ Place, serving as an interim executive to support operations during the transition.
The Board of Directors of Community Housing Advocates seeks a dynamic, inspiring professional with a collaborative leadership style, excellent communication skills and the passion and competence for engaged leadership both internally and with partners in the wider Hartford homeless services system. The board seeks an individual with a career history that demonstrates deep commitment to the values of its affiliates, and an entrepreneurial mindset to lead this highly effective organization as it plans to deepen its impact, grow its service offerings and fully manifest the benefits of the recent merger.
Programs and Services
Community Housing Advocates operates a broad portfolio of high-impact programs and services designed to effectively implement its mission and support key strategic aims, including:
Strategic Opportunities and Challenges
Community Housing Advocates is now poised to maximize the combined strengths of its affiliates under the guidance and vision of a gifted and committed leader. While developments in the policy and funding environment often bring uncertainty, CHA has been both a consistent innovator and an effective fiscal steward with above industry standard reserves. Recent innovation is perhaps best exemplified by its launch of the Hartford area’s first central hub for homelessness Diversion Services. While each affiliate has its own high-level strategic plan, the Chief Executive Officer will be charged with providing both guidance and effective partnership with the board and staff to build the vision and plan for the organization’s next strategic arc of development.
In addition, high priorities for the next Chief Executive Officer include:
Profile of the Ideal Candidate and Qualifications
Community Housing Advocates offers prospective candidates the opportunity to lead the development of the newly merged organization’s work culture and values and to fully realize the opportunity to increase CHA’s impact on the mission to end homelessness. During a time of organizational transition, the ideal candidate will have experience embracing such changes as practical opportunities to reach for excellence and will be energized by the opportunity to forge a future orientated vision with a skilled and committed board of directors and staff.
Building on the strength of Community Housing Advocates’ programs, strong reputation and fundraising efforts; collaboratively, energetically and transparently empowering and supporting Community Housing Advocates’ board and staff; and managing important relationships with funders, community stakeholders and other regional partners are clear priorities for the Chief Executive Officer.
The ideal candidate will become visible as an innovative partnership builder within the Greater Hartford homeless services ecosystem and be able to identify and activate opportunities for both greater impact and sustainable funding. The candidate will serve as a strong public spokesperson for Community Housing Advocates. Experience in leadership within a tightly woven network of peers, partners and funders is a significant plus. The candidate will have or commit to develop deep understanding of the special issues and stakeholders integral to supporting homeless individuals to rapidly find the housing appropriate to their needs.
More specifically, the ideal candidate will demonstrate:
Skills and Experience
A Passionate Advocate for Community Housing Advocates’ Mission and Values
The Chief Executive Officer will be leading an organization deeply focused on its mission. Community Housing Advocates’ staff and board members' commitment to the importance of dignity, respect and purpose in the lives of individuals at risk of homelessness runs deep, and thus demonstrable evidence of such ethical commitment, in a mission-based setting, is a requirement for this role.
A Collaborative, Empathetic, Engaged Leader
The Chief Executive Officer will discover a board and staff that is talented and effective. The ideal candidate will have worked in a leadership position with demonstrated success in inspiring staff, in delegating effectively and in generating trust and respect across an organization. He/she/they will also have experience working successfully with a board of directors to achieve its full potential impact. The Chief Executive Officer needs to be hands-on in his/her/their grasp of the work, but comfortable and competent in empowering others to make their strongest contribution.
An Exceptional Communicator and Collaborator
The Chief Executive Officer is the public face of Community Housing Advocates and should act as a pivotal leader and collaborator within the ecosystem of homeless services in Greater Hartford. The CEO must be completely comfortable in that role and highly effective in external communications. Community Housing Advocates’ Chief Executive Officer must be able to listen carefully, speak persuasively, educate and respond effectively, while bringing intelligence, humility and value to both internal and external discussions. He/she/they must have the ability to articulate powerfully the purpose, contributions and impact of Community Housing Advocates.
Solutions and Opportunity Focused – During Times of Change
The policy and funding environment for homeless services nationally and in Connecticut is undergoing substantial and rapid change. The ability to think creatively about Community Housing Advocates’ capabilities and assets and to identify and implement new revenue streams, programs, partnerships and internal systems and processes, will be a significant asset for the Chief Executive Officer.
Technical & Sector Skills
The Chief Executive Officer should have a firm grasp of issues and strategies for creatively engaging with state agencies for contracted services and be able to work with the Finance Committee and CFO to develop realistic and reliable budget projections on this basis.
Experience in oversight and development of programs that are outcomes and metrics-driven and which seek to utilize data as a lever for improving quality is an important skill set for the Chief Executive Officer.
The Chief Executive Officer must be a skilled manager with demonstrated experience leading and supervising staff towards agreed-upon goals, in an environment of respect, positivity and leadership transition.
Transition Consultant Gregg Davis with TSNE MissionWorks has been exclusively retained for this search.
Electronic submissions are preferred.
Please include your resume along with a cover letter with salary requirements, where you learned of the position and a description of how your qualifications and experience match Community Housing Advocates’ needs.
Candidates are strongly encouraged to submit materials by January 15, 2020. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, with priority given to those received by this date. The selected candidate will undergo thorough reference checks as well as a criminal history background check.
Community Housing Advocates will offer a competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget.
Community Housing Advocates is an Equal Opportunity Employer, complies with applicable state and federal fair employment practices laws, and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates. Community Housing Advocates does not discriminate against employees or applicants because of race, ethnicity, skin color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, disability (including present or past mental, learning, or physical disability), sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, genetic information, medical condition or illness, marital status, veteran status, political affiliation, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local laws.