Homes for the Brave

aka Homes for the Brave   |   Bridgeport, CT   |  www.homesforthebrave.org

Mission

With an emphasis on Veterans, we provide the housing and services necessary to help homeless individuals return to a productive and meaningful life.

Ruling year info

1999

COO / Clinical Director

Vincent Santilli

Main address

655 Park Avenue

Bridgeport, CT 06604 USA

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EIN

06-1520511

NTEE code info

lth - General and Rehabilitative N.E.C.) (HHe)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Homes for the Brave

Homes for the Brave (HFTB) began accepting its first residents in July 2002. The 42-bed program opened with funds secured from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Connecticut Department of Social Services, and private donors. HFTB operates one of the largest transitional housing programs in Connecticut for Veterans. HFTB designates 37 of these beds for Veterans. The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DHMAS) contracts the remaining 5 beds for individuals struggling with homelessness. All residents have access to the world-class services HFTB provides, including housing, case management, nutrition, quality mental health services, access to vocational services, and more.

Population(s) Served

Women are the fastest-growing population among Veterans. As of 2016, they are three times more likely to be homeless than their civilian counterparts. Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes became a reality with a grant from the VA and support from the community. HFTB purchased and renovated a former rooming house into the beautiful PFC Nicolas A. Madaras Home. It is the first and only program of its kind in the state of Connecticut. FS:FH only serves the unique needs of homeless female veterans and their young children, with particular attention to trauma resilience and the mental health needs of the Veterans. The 14-bed program provides a vital resource for Connecticut’s Veterans. Residents of FS:FH have access to the same high-quality services as their male counterparts.

Population(s) Served

HFTB opened the Waldorf Supportive Housing Program in July 2005. Unlike a transitional-housing program, this Program provides permanent supportive housing. Formerly homeless individuals live independently and have access to case management services. The three-story house provides nine units of permanent housing for individuals. Residents have their own bedroom and share a kitchen, bathroom, and common living space with two others. Funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) support this program, and Residents pay a subsidized rent of 27% of their gross income.

Population(s) Served

In 2010, HFTB began looking beyond their doors for ways to serve the Veteran community. The Veterans Service Center opened to provide immediate basic needs and referrals to community services. Any Veteran can walk or drop in to the Service Center if s/he is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Over the years, the Service Center has expanded with a wide variety of programming. Offerings include life skills training, computer classes, opportunities to interface with representatives from federal legislative offices, art therapy, AA meetings, walking groups, and time spent with therapy dogs. All are available without making an appointment. Renamed The Tony Cinquanta Veterans Service Center in 2020, it honors the service and dedication of the long-serving HFTB Board Member. The program continues to look for innovative ways to serve the local Veteran population.

Population(s) Served

We have found that with improved access to educational and vocational opportunities, the Veterans we serve are better able to secure and retain employment that will enable them to support themselves and their families, with less risk of returning to homelessness. This is the driving focus behind the HFTB Training for Success Vocational and Educational Program. This program is open to all homeless Veterans in our transitional housing programs, as well as all homeless Veterans and those in danger of becoming homeless in the area. Participants in the vocational program gain assistance in resume writing, interview preparation, job searches, connection to education and job benefits, assistance with paying for trainings and certifications, and support with maintaining employment.

Population(s) Served

Many of the Veterans served by HFTB are ineligible for clinical mental health and addiction services at the local VA Hospital. Others find it difficult to travel to VA medical campuses in Connecticut on a regular basis. To address these gaps in services, the Homes for the Brave Clinical Program launched in January 2019, headed by Dr. Stephanie Lynam, PsyD, HFTB’s Chief Clinical Officer. Under her supervision, clinical programming has expanded to include access to recovery-oriented therapy and has been especially important in 2020 and 2021 for providing support to Veterans, who have often needed more support than they can receive from telehealth services they have access to elsewhere during the Covid-19. The program provides high-quality care to Veterans with mental health and substance use disorders in the local Bridgeport community.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Overall number served: 100 (lower than our typical goal due to decreased capacity as a result of Covid-19)

1. Housing
Goal: 60% Veterans discharge to permanent housing
Description: HFTB tracks the housing arrangements of residents at discharge. Ideally, every resident who lives at HFTB will move to permanent, independent housing or permanent, supportive housing after leaving the program. Housing arrangements at discharge are tracked through exit interviews with residents and are recorded in an internal database and in the CT Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).
2. Income/Employment

Goal: 50% of Veterans increase or maintain income

Description: ABRI measures the increase of Veterans’ employment income, as well as non-employment income (entitlements and benefits). Any increase or decrease in income is recorded by the resident’s Case Manager and the income changes are tracked in an internal database and in the HMIS.

3. Self-determination

Goal: No quantitative goal
Description: Self-determination goals are set by each individual Veteran in the program and can include goals such as stabilizing mental health, maintaining long-term abstinence from drugs and alcohol, or connecting to community support groups or volunteer opportunities. Tracking residents’ success with these goals is more difficult because they are not quantitative in nature. These goals are discussed and reevaluated by the Case Manager and the Veteran Monthly. At discharge, stability of housing and income are closely tied to self-determination goals because residents with positive housing outcomes and increased income tend to be successful with their self-determination goals as well.

Our vision is to provide a model to enable individuals who are homeless, along with their families, to attain safe, affordable housing, discover means of enhancing their income, and advancing their own self-determination goals so that they may succeed at living a fulfilling life. We whole-heartedly believe that it is essential to serve others with honesty, integrity, empathy, respect, and patience. The staff at ABRI work hard to foster a nonjudgmental environment that encourages clients to develop personal responsibility in taking ownership in their journey towards independence. It is our desire that those we serve feel safe as they learn, grow, recover, and re-enter the community with confidence.

Whereas many other organizations combating Veteran homelessness primarily act as little more than a temporary shelter, Homes for the Brave provides a comprehensive and compassionate community of care. We tirelessly endeavor to break the stigmas surrounding homelessness. Veterans residing with us do not only have access to a bed and food, but also the support of an engaged staff and other residents. By offering services that stabilize income, provide life skills classes, connect clients to training and job opportunities, and offer clinical therapy to deal with substance abuse/mental health barriers, we are able to attack the root causes of poverty and housing insecurity, leading to sustained success.

Additionally, we work extensively with outside organizations to support our Veterans. As a leading regional service provider, ABRI continually seeks to foster strong community relationships so as to optimize our services and outreach. Our most significant partnership is with the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, as we work closely together to address the needs of Veterans experiencing homelessness. We are a proud member of the CT Nonprofit Alliance, which grants us access to a strong network of supportive resources designed to enhance the well-being of nonprofits across the state. We are also an active member in the Fairfield County Opening Doors Coalition as we work with other homeless service providers to eradicate homelessness in the region. Our staff regularly collaborates with organizations throughout the Bridgeport area that serve similar populations and share in our goals; examples of these include the Center for Family Justice, the WorkPlace, LifeBridge Community Services, Bridge House, Southwest Community Health Centers, and the Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative. Our Vocational Specialist engages with Bridgeport’s American Job Center Programs, the CT Department of Labor, CT Veterans Legal Center, and vocational rehabilitation staff at the VA in order to assist each Veteran in accessing federal and state educational benefits and employment services.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Our organization serves the needs of Veterans experiencing homelessness. In order for a Veteran to be eligible for our housing programs, they must qualify for VA Housing Assistance and must be currently experiencing homelessness or housing instability. However, the remainder of ABRI’s programs are open to any Veteran. All of our programs serve a racially and ethnically diverse population. People who self-identify as men and women of color made up 63% of the clients ABRI served last year. Socioeconomically speaking, 96% of participants in our services are low to Moderate income earners. A full 94% of our clients last year were presented with a substance use disorder, a mental illness, and/or a chronic medical condition.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Over the past several months, we have begun holding a series of agency-wide town hall meetings with both clients and staff to help us learn from one another and confront issues of racial justice and equity.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

Homes for the Brave
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Homes for the Brave

Board of directors
as of 5/5/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Robert Kozlowsky

James Cannon

CT Division Managing Director at Mutual of Omaha

Paul Mayer

President of Schegg Group

Rose Ogrinc

Phillip Modesti

Senior Director of Medical Education at Hologic

Randy Abrams

retired commercial banker

Bernadette Baldino

retired library director

Vinny Bartoli

Vice President and General Manager at Turner Construction

Colonel Adele Hodges

Retired Commanding Officer in the US Marine Corps

Ernest Johnson

Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist at the US Department of Veterans Affairs

Dr. Dee Troth Lippman

Professor at Fairfield University

Matthew Frankel

Territory Sales Representative at BG LubriCare

Eric Parker

Attorney at Romano, Parker, and Associates

Juliet Taylor

Retired woman’s advocate

Dr. Marcia Hunt

National Mental Health Quality Improvement and Implementation Consultant in the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, VA Healthcare Administration Central Office; Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University

Kaitlyn Genovese

Marketing Director at Reed Exhibitions

Michael Dolan

Class A PGA Professional

John Vazzano

Restaurant Owner

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 05/05/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/05/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.