Columbus House
586 Ella T. Grasso Blvd
New Haven CT 06519
Contact Information
Address 586 Ella T. Grasso Blvd
New Haven, CT 06519-
Telephone (203) 401-4400 x
Fax 203-773-1430
E-mail info@columbushouse.org
Web and Social Media
Mission
To serve people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, by providing shelter and housing and by fostering their personal growth and independence.
A Great OpportunityHelpThe nonprofit has used this field to provide information about a special campaign, project or event that they are raising funds for now.

The Alison Cunningham Growth & Independence Fund will be used to ensure that those experiencing homelessness will always have a safe haven while also providing the resources needed to create innovative new programs, take advantage of opportunities that come our way and to acquire property in order to increase the availability of safe, affordable housing for those who currently have no place to call home.

Here are just a few examples of programs and initiatives that would not have been possible without a solid funding base in place:

  • The acquisition of the Middlesex Family Shelter which provides 7 units of shelter for families with children
  • The Jim Vlock Building Project in collaboration with the Yale School of Architecture which will result in the construction of 11 new units of affordable housing by 2021
  • The acquisition of the Wallingford Emergency Shelter
  • The acquisition of Peterson Properties in Middletown which offers 27 units of affordable housing
  • The creation of the Hamden Warming Center in partnership with the Town of Hamden
  • The acquisition and build-out of the new Men’s Seasonal Overflow Shelter in New Haven
  • The acquisition of the Middletown Warming Center in partnership with the Town of Middletown

None of these initiatives or the many others that were launched by Columbus House over the past 21 years would be possible without your willingness to make a meaningful investment in our work.

The Alison Cunningham Growth & Independence Fund will ensure that we continue to have the financial resources in place to think creatively about how we manage our programs, quickly seize opportunities and continue working toward a day when homelessness as we know it no longer exists.

In partnership with the Yale School of Architecture, Columbus House is designing and building 5 modularly-constructed houses over a 5 year period to be occupied by individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The houses, designed with input from homeless and formerly homeless clients, are constructed out of sustainable building materials including concrete flooring, metal roofing, LED lighting, solar panels, and energy efficient windows. Each will be built on a formerly vacant lot in low-income neighborhoods throughout the city of New Haven, CT. We have completed two duplexes and one triplex to date and are in the process of securing another vacant lot for the fourth home, which will be completed by the end of 2020. Each property will be owned by Columbus House and leased to clients moving out of homelessness and who are in need of permanent supportive housing. Ongoing support services will be provided by Columbus House case managers to ensure that all tenants remain stably housed.
A Great Opportunity Ending Date Dec 31 2020
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1982
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Cynthia Fox
Board Chair Rudy Zimmerman
Board Chair Company Affiliation Bayer Pharmaceuticals (retired)
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Statements
Mission To serve people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, by providing shelter and housing and by fostering their personal growth and independence.
Background
Columbus House opened its doors as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 1982 to provide shelter for single, adult men and women in New Haven. At that time, we were expected only to provide humanitarian relief—shelter—to the growing homeless population. In the past 20 years, however, we have shifted our focus from managing homelessness to ending homelessness. In the 1990s, we began helping our clients move into permanent housing through state and federal subsidies and providing ongoing case management to help them stay housed. Our mission is to serve people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless by providing shelter and housing and by fostering their personal growth and independence. To that end, we now provide an array of services—including street outreach, shelter, housing, and employment and income services, among others—all with comprehensive case management. Our staff of nearly 170 serves people at over a dozen locations across four counties in Connecticut. The nearly 3,000 people we serve annually include families with children, seniors, Veterans, and those with mental health, chronic medical, and substance abuse disorders. We are now working closely with other service providers and state agencies toward the goal of bringing long-term homelessness to “functional zero”—meaning that all people who have been homeless for over a year will be housed and that the systems and resources will be established to ensure that anyone who slips into homelessness can be rehoused within 90 days.
Impact

Client Outcomes: In 2019, 99% of Permanent Supportive Housing clients maintained or improved their living situation and 82% of Rapid Re-Housing clients remain housed within twelve months of exiting to permanent housing.
 
Medical Respite: The Medical Respite Program, opened in October 2013, provides 12 private rooms for patients discharged from YNHH or the VA Medical Center who are homeless and in need of recuperative care. The patients receive on-going medical services through a home healthcare agency while in the program located at our New Haven Shelter site. Among program participants, the 30-day hospital readmission rate dropped from 51% in 2012 to 17% percent in fiscal year 2018. The average length of (hospital) stay dropped from 11 days in fiscal year 2015 to 9 days in fiscal year 2018.
 
CARF: In 2018, Columbus House was awarded a three year accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for its Medical Respite, Permanent Supportive Housing , and Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) programs. CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process that centers on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF, the accrediting body establishes consumer focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services.By pursuing and achieving accreditation, Columbus House has demonstrated that it meets international standards for quality and is committed to pursuing excellence. This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process and has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable.
 
Awards: In June of 2019, the Wallingford Emergency Shelter was awarded the Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce's Non Profit of the Year Award.
 
Looking Ahead: Reaching the end of Veteran homelessness and our intent to reach functional zero in 2016 for chronic homelessness across the state, the efforts of Columbus House will shift to addressing issues of diversion and prevention while we continue our core mission of serving families and individuals who are homeless in large part due to economic challenges of unemployment, underemployment and poverty. We will work with our local and state partners to reach the goals of ending youth and family homelessness by 2022, and pursue resources for particular populations such as LGBT and undocumented. The overarching three-year goal is to continue to be a Housing First organization, serving those who are homeless while re-positioning the organization to serve a changing demographic; intensifying efforts to reduce recidivism by employing a Work First philosophy; and assisting individuals to remain housed through high-quality person-centered case management services. 
Needs

1. Overflow Shelter: This  program provides seasonal shelter for an additional 75 men from November through April each year. Each year, Columbus House must raise an additional $100,000 to cover the funding gap. 2. Jim Vlock Building Project: In partnership with the Yale School of Architecture’s Jim Vlock Building Project, Columbus House is designing and building 5 modularly-constructed houses over a 5 year period to be occupied by individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The total cost of each home is $250,000, with $100,000 of the total cost pledged by an individual donor.3. Wallingford Emergency Shelter: Due to the budget crisis in Connecticut, the state has not yet reinstated the funding for the shelter despite our best efforts - leaving us at a significant operating deficit at the shelter and completely reliant on private fundraising. 4. Staff Training: Columbus House is collaborating with outside consultants to design a robust training program designed to build the management capacity of its leadership and mid-manager staff. 5. General Operation Support: General operating support is essential to sustain the core functions of shelter and services for people who are homeless.

CEO Statement

What began in 1982 as a small non-profit providing shelter to homeless adults is now a state-wide organization that is committed to the goal of ending homelessness.  Columbus House has responded over the past 36 years to this complex crisis by developing an array of programs that offer a rich continuum of services supporting peoples’ move toward housing and independence. Focusing on system change as well as individual needs, our vision is to one day end this crisis of homelessness.

Homelessness has many causes, but when questioned, all clients identify poverty as the contributing factor that led them to life on the streets or in our shelters. The cost of housing in the greater New Haven area is simply out of reach for people who live in poverty, who are unemployed or underemployed and have limited education. People simply cannot keep up with housing costs, and manage childcare, transportation, food, medical and other basic needs costs.

In response, the work of Columbus House is to ensure that people have a safe place to stay, whether it’s in emergency shelters or permanent housing. We offer shelter for both single adults and families in New Haven, Wallingford and Middletown in year –round and seasonal settings. Our housing work is expanding and over the next few years, we will add over 60 units to our growing portfolio of permanent supportive housing and will renew our Rapid Re-Housing contracts, bringing us close to 500 households whom we provide with short and long term subsidies. This is how we are reaching our goals of ending homelessness.

Housing is critical but in many cases, support services must be attached to help get people into housing and remain housed. Our case managers in the shelter and on the street outreach team meet clients where they are to help them gain access to medical and legal services, employment services, mental health and substance use treatment programs, educational programs and other mainstream services. Our ultimate goal is to help people secure and maintain their housing so that their homelessness becomes a thing of the past.

We have accomplished major milestones in the past few years that are a result of concentrated efforts that include the Governor’s office, state agencies, coalitions and social service agencies. We have ended homelessness for targeted populations and are working now to end homelessness among families and youth. Reaching these goals took bold vision and maintaining this progress takes a deep commitment from stakeholders at every level. We are proud to work with people who share both.

Board Chair Statement

The Board of Directors of Columbus House includes 17 members who are dedicated to this agency and to the mission of serving people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Members represent faith communities, healthcare, private industry, education and small businesses and meet monthly as a full board and in committees regularly. The talent and expertise that board members bring to the organization contribute to sound oversight and thoughtful direction of Columbus House. Guided by the Strategic Plan and in partnership with leadership, the Board actively participates in fund development, governance, housing development, and agency expansion.

I currently serve as the Board Chair and I am happy to share my knowledge with this great organization. Whether it be best business practices or technical facilities related topics, I am proud to help with the goal of ending homelessness in our state. The leadership and staff at Columbus House advocate tirelessly for policies and initiatives that address this societal issue at its root causes, while working with individuals to deliver personal services that will meet the specific needs of those in our community who are most vulnerable.

Columbus House has grown from providing a simple shelter bed in its early years to now serving close to 3,000 people annually through services that span from street outreach to permanent housing. Our services extend from New Haven to New Britain, out to Waterbury and into New London. In 2016, we acquired the Wallingford Emergency Shelter, offering shelter for both families and single adults in that community. In Middletown we offer family shelter, street outreach, permanent supportive housing, and rapid rehousing. The city is also the hub for our state-wide Support Services for Veteran Families, serving over 500 veteran families each year with housing, employment and case management services. Our presence in Middletown continues to expand as we recently assumed ownership of approximately 26 units and completed the renovation of another 32 units of supportive housing, preserving critical affordable housing options for veterans and families across that community.

Over the past four years, Columbus House has also forged exciting collaborations with both Yale New Haven Hospital and the Yale University School of Architecture. Through our Respite Program, we have created a safe clinical environment for recently released hospital patients to recover and regain independence, drastically reducing expensive stays and re-admissions to the ER. Columbus House is also in year four of a five-year project with the School of Architecture to develop five innovative affordable housing projects within the community.

While proud of our expansion and significant strides toward ending chronic homelessness, Columbus House has been challenged by reduced state budgets. Balancing a reduced budget while still providing the same level of services puts pressure on all of our staff. However, we remain committed to fulfilling our mission and maximizing the government funding and philanthropic support that we receive. As always, we are grateful for our donors and friends who join us in that commitment.

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Housing, Shelter / Homeless Shelters
Secondary Organization Category Human Services / Homeless Services/Centers
Areas Served
New Haven
Hamden
East Haven
Other
Shoreline
Madison
Wallingford
Branford
Guilford
Columbus House serves people from across Connecticut, with programs located in New Haven, Middlesex, New London, and Hartford Counties. 
CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments Over the past 37 years, Columbus House has found ways to bring solutions to the issues of homelessness for the City of New Haven and its immediate surrounding towns. First through the shelter, then street outreach, transitional housing and now with an emphasis on permanent supportive housing, this agency has been on the front lines of the battle against this crisis. The staff of this organization are the ones who are there day in and day out, managing the shelter and its myriad challenges, negotiating with landlords to house someone who is homeless and not such a likely tenant, being outside in the freezing cold to look for people who would die if we did not get them inside for the night. Their commitment to helping others in the most direct way is what makes this organization the success that it has become.
Programs
Description

Our New Haven shelter provides shelter for over 80 women and men, 365 nights a year, serving over 78,000 meals annually. We have a 30-bed emergency shelter for both men and women and a six-month length of stay program that can accommodate up to 51 individuals with beds reserved for Veterans and people living with HIV. Our medical respite program provides 12 beds for people experiencing homelessness who are discharged from the hospital and need a safe, clean, caring place to recuperate, Case management services include referrals to mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, employment training programs, health services, and housing.

The Men's Seasonal Overflow Shelter for men is generally filled to its 75-bed capacity and beyond. This seasonal shelter serves clients with food, clothing, showers, personal care items, and case management services.  In addition, the Abraham's Tent program provides shelter, meals and social times for 12 individuals during the winter months.

Our Recovery House provides safe, temporary shelter for 17 men in early stages of drug and/or alcohol recovery. At Recovery House, needs are accessed, treatment plans are established and referrals are made to appropriate in-patient facilities.
 
The Middlesex Family Services Emergency Shelter in Middletown has the capacity to serve seven families at any given time. This shelter provides safe and stable housing, case management services, and assistance in obtaining permanent housing. 
 
The Wallingford Emergency Shelter provides four year-round units for families and 16 beds for single adults in the winter. The program offers onsite case management including referrals to mental health and substance abuse programs, employment training, education, health services, housing and youth services.
 
Population Served Homeless / At-Risk Populations / Alcohol, Drug, Substance Abusers
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.

Our short term goals for the emergency shelters, Overflow Shelter, and Length of Stay (LOS) programs are to provide a safe environment where homeless adults and families will have access to shelter, food and clothing along with other basic necessities. Ultimately we would like to provide and have clients take advantage of a coordinated effort to access vital services through case management.

Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.

Our long-term goals for those coming through the shelters are to ensure that they re-establish and/or increase their income, apply for and receive entitlements, receive adequate health care benefits, seek and secure employment, and reunite with family where appropriate. Our ultimate goal is to help secure appropriate housing either in a transitional, supportive or independent setting. 

Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Every client who walks through the door of any Columbus House program must undergo a thorough intake process, including completion of a detailed intake/admissions form. We utilize the Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) that allows us to collect data from all clients and enables us to analyze program outcomes. Our funders require monthly, quarterly, and annual outcome reports, and many also require an annual on-site audit. Columbus House has an internal quality assurance department that monitors compliance with all contracts. We also conduct annual client satisfaction surveys. The problems that we encounter that impede client progress include lack of income and lack of an adequate supply of affordable housing.

 

Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
Kevin is currently in recovery and committed to his sobriety. He was in our Length of Stay Program for 6 weeks and received comprehensive case management services.  He currently maintains a full time job and is saving money for his own housing (apartment).
Description
The primary goal is to facilitate the successful transition of homeless adults into stable and affordable permanent housing while providing them with the services needed to keep them housed and independent.
 
Harkness House provides support to 14 male homeless Veterans. The program’s goals are to provide stable housing for Veterans, increase access and connection to services, and expand social and employment skills.

On the Move provides housing for 8 adults for up to a year while they increase life skills to help them to live more independently. This program offers private rooms, meals, and case management.
Population Served Homeless / Alcohol, Drug, Substance Abusers / Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.
Our short term goals for Transitional Housing are similar to that of our Shelter programs. We strive to provide a safe environment where homeless adults and families will have access to shelter along with other basic necessities. Transitional programs include those in early stages of alcohol/drug abuse recovery. Transitional housing clients will have access to a comprehensive case management plan that includes access to a wide variety of support services among collaborative agencies throughout the region. Our ultimate goal is to move clients out of Transitional Housing and into a permanent housing arrangement. 

 

Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.
Ideally, Transitional Housing acts as a stepping stone to permanent housing. Our case managers help clients reunite with family members, regain custody of children in State custody, re-establish income and entitlements, help with employment, and coordination of appropriate medical care.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
We utilize the Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) that allows us to collect data from all clients and enables us to analyze program outcomes. Our funders require monthly, quarterly and annual outcome reports and many also require an annual on-site audit. Columbus House has an internal quality assurance department that monitors compliance with all contracts. We also conduct annual client satisfaction surveys. The problems that we encounter that impede client progress include lack of income and lack of an adequate supply of affordable housing.

 

Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
Because of our coordinated efforts with the Veterans Administration (VA), more people are off of the streets and out of the shelters. They are utilizing transitional housing while waiting for permanent supportive housing (affordable housing with supports.)
Description

Our Rapid Re-Housing Specialists assist over 300 clients annually in New Haven and Middlesex counties in attaining short-term, direct rental assistance for initial rent, security deposit, and utilities for HUD-approved rental units.

Permanent Supportive Housing's goal is to provide safe, secure rental units, offering independent living and a permanent residence. It provides flexible and accessible support through on-site & community case management services.  Supportive housing sites:  Cedar Hill Apartments has 25 apartments for single adults. HOME Inc. owns & manages the property. Legion Woods has 20 apartments for single adults. Partners include The Connection, Veterans Administration & CT Mental Health Center. Whalley Terrace has 22 units for elderly adults, 10 of whom were chronically homeless. HOME Inc. owns & manages the property. Sojourner’s Place houses nine women dual-diagnosed with mental health and addiction disorders. Valentina Macri has 17 single apartments, 11 dedicated to chronically homeless individuals, & six for low-income individuals. Shepherd Home provides 32 units of permanent supportive housing for Veterans. Columbus House is the developer and St. Vincent de Paul Middletown provides supportive services. Peterson Properties – provides 27 affordable apartments for families and single adults in five separate homes. Case management is provided by Columbus House staff. Columbus House also provides case management to people in permanent supportive housing in New Britain as part of a program known as The Jefferson, and in Hamden at Mather Street Apartments and to over 100 individuals & families who live independently throughout CT who hold their own lease with subsidized rents.

Population Served Homeless / At-Risk Populations / Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.
Formerly homeless adults are able to live in and afford their own apartment. They have access to case management services with a goal of stability, independence and increased community integration.
 
In 2018, 99% of Permanent Supportive Housing clients maintained or improved their living situation and 83% of Rapid Re-Housing clients remain housed within twelve months of exiting to permanent housing. 
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.
Stable housing leads to an increased quality of life while decreasing the number of adults who return to homeless shelters. Some are able to eventually live without support services. They remain in their apartment, but the support services can then be utilized by others in need.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Columbus House programs and services are closely monitored and evaluated using a detailed protocol for recording demographics, monitoring services, and tracking client outcomes, all with an eye toward measuring program performance and effectiveness. Columbus House is committed to collecting client-level data and adhering to Data Quality and Performance Management Standards set forth by the Connecticut HMIS Steering Committee. We have been imputing client data into the local HMIS since 2002 and using it to produce internal and external reports. Our program and quality assurance staff record and monitor changes in housing status, income, employment status, benefits acquisition, mental health assistance access, substance abuse treatment, and educational course enrollment. We also collect bi-annual client satisfaction surveys in order to ensure continuous improvement of services.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
A combination of bad luck and bad choices led Bruce to homelessness. He tried heroin and cocaine when he was 22 and struggled with drugs ever since. He was in and out of prison.

Bruce had reached a turning point in his life. He realized he couldn’t go on living like this. He entered a recovery program for six months and was then referred to Columbus House.

“Columbus House staff told me what I would have to do and where I would have to go in order to start the process of getting my life back together,” he said.

Bruce stayed in shelters for nearly a year as he worked to put his life back together. He was referred to Cedar Hill, one of our permanent supportive housing facilities, where he has lived in his own apartment for three years.

Because of his leadership and dedication to his community, Bruce was awarded the 2010 Janice Elliot Supportive Housing Award by Reaching Home, a campaign to end long-term homelessness through supportive housing.

Description
Outreach Services:
 
Case managers work with women and men with severe mental illness and substance abuse issues who are living on the streets and in other places not meant for human habitation in New Haven and Middlesex counties. Columbus House staff provide street outreach in New Haven, Wallingford, and Middletown to work with people who do not or cannot come into the shelters in those communities.

Our Road to Recovery program provides transportation to eligible clients to and from approved treatment appointments throughout the state.


 

Population Served Homeless / At-Risk Populations / Alcohol, Drug, Substance Abusers
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. Our short term success in the outreach service would be to literally have someone on the street be trusting enough to engage in a conversation with one of our case managers. Accepting a cup of coffee, a bus token or a ride to a doctor’s appointment is a major accomplishment in engaging people living on the street; especially those with undiagnosed and/or untreated mental illness or those with a substance abuse disorder.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.
Our long term success is measured by our client’s access to and utilization of shelter, support services, housing, medical and behavioral health services.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
We utilize the Homeless management information systems (HMIS) that allows us to collect data from all clients and enables us to analyze program outcomes. Our funders require monthly, quarterly and annual outcome reports and many also require an annual on-site audit. Columbus House has an internal quality assurance department that monitors compliance with all contracts.. We also conduct annual client satisfaction surveys. The problems that we encounter that impede client progress include lack of income and lack of an adequate supply of affordable housing.

 

Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
Scott was living on the streets for 4 years. Because of his substance abuse issues, he refused any assistance and would not come to the shelter. One of our Outreach Case Managers was ultimately able to convince Scott to come in. They spoke and over time a bond was established. Because of this engagement, he received help in applying for benefits and healthcare which allowed him to receive the appropriate addictions support. He took part in Abraham’s Tent and is now living in his own apartment.
 
 
Program Comments
CEO Comments Growth brings both opportunities and challenges, and balancing those to ensure that the agency survives is the work of the senior directors. We regularly seek new opportunities that will offer the clients access to services and housing so that they can move on toward independence and recovery. Even as we do that, we are mindful of the burden that each new program places on the infrastructure of Columbus House, and are seeking ways to ensure that growth does not overwhelm our capacity to continue to provide appropriate administrative support. New programs are exciting only if we can manage them well.

Capacity building to keep up with expanding programs is not always immediate, especially with limited access to funding for administrative support.

CEO/Executive Director
Cynthia Fox
Term Start Aug 2019
Email cfox@columbushouse.org
Experience

Cindy has been Chief Financial Officer at Columbus House for four years and during the search for a new Chief Executive Officer, she has taken on the role of Interim CEO in addition to her CFO responsibilities.

Cindy came to Columbus House with 12 years of non-profit experience working in top management positions for Catholic Charities of Fairfield County, Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County and Fair Haven Community Health Center. She is a Certified Management Accountant, has a Masters Degree in Financial Management from Fairfield University and a Bachelors Degree in Finance from Central Connecticut State University.

 
Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 151
Number of Part Time Staff 30
Number of Volunteers 1000
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate 82%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 96
Asian American/Pacific Islander 3
Caucasian 50
Hispanic/Latino 26
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 6 Two or more races / Unknown
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 76
Female 105
Unspecified 0
Former CEOs and Terms
NameTerm
Alison CunninghamJuly 1998 - Aug 2019
Senior Staff
Title Chief Development Officer
Title Chief Financial Officer
Title Chief Human Resources Officer
Title Chief Program Officer
Experience/Biography The Chief Program Officer, Hebe Kudisch, is a recent addition to Columbus House’s senior management team. She brings with her nearly 20 years of leadership experience in social services agencies across Connecticut. She holds a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Buenos Aires and previously served on the board of directors for the Capital Area Substance Abuse Council.
Title Chief Facilities Officer
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Collaborations
Over the years, we have implemented an integrated system of care through partnerships with established community services in New Haven, including Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH), the Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center (CSHHC), Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC), Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, and the VA's Errera Community Care Center, among others. We also collaborate with our local partners in the Middletown and Wallingford area including Chrysalis Domestic Violence Services, Gilead Community Service, Master's Manna, St. Vincent de Paul Middletown, Mercy Housing, Kuhn Employment Services, the Community Health Center, Rushford, and Middlesex Hospital. We are currently collaborating with other area homeless service providers including The Connection, Women & Families Center, and Youth Continuum to implement innovative programs for youth experiencing homelessness in New Haven and Middlesex counties.
Columbus House staff members hold leadership roles on various local and statewide committees, councils, and work groups including the New Haven Coordinated Access Network (CAN), The Middlesex CAN, the New Haven (NH) Crisis Response System work group, the NH Health and Housing work group, the CT Balance of State (BOS) task force, the CT AIDS task force, and local Veterans and youth working groups.
 
 
Affiliations
AffiliationYear
Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce2005
United Way of Greater New Haven2000
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Community Impact AwardMiddlesex United Way2018
Non Profit of the YearQuinnipiac Chamber of Commerce2019
Comments
CEO Comments
There are 5 senior level chief officers of Columbus House who provide leadership and inspiration for this organization, who work long and hard hours to keep it functioning at its best. It is this group that makes it possible for us to reach beyond what we thought we could do, to stretch to the next step, to grab that new opportunity, always aware of the mission statement that was written in 1982 and holds true today. It is a team that can face the challenges of program growth, personnel demands and changes, funding cuts and leaking roofs with a resolve to find a way to improve.
 
Our opportunity today is to examine the infrastructure to determine if we have the appropriate model in place to manage Columbus House and to weather the changes always in front of us. We are being pushed constantly to consider mergers, strategic alliances, and shared services. Perhaps in any one of those models is a better way of doing business. We have explored mergers in the past with a leading organization in New Haven, and in the end, we both turned down the opportunity. We have absorbed smaller agencies, expanding our reach into new services in new communities. We are open to doing business the best possible way to get the most out of our funding and the opportunities that lie ahead.
Board Chair
Rudy Zimmerman
Company Affiliation Bayer Pharmaceuticals (retired)
Term Jan 2020 to Dec 2021
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Caitlin Aubrey BehrmanAmeriCares Free Clinic
Allison BatsonHamden Early Learning Program, Helen St. School
Greg BehrmanNationSwell
Matt CammarotaWebster Bank
Dr. Keith ChurchwellYale-New Haven Hospital
Greg DeStefanoKonowitz, Kahn & Co., PC
Amy Eppler-EpsteinNew Haven Legal Assistance Assoc.
Rabbi Michael FarbmanTemple Emanuel of Greater New Haven
David GoldblumThe Hurley Group
Dr. Theddeus IheanachoErrera Community Care Center, VA Connecticut Healthcare System
Ben LedbetterBen Ledbetter Architect
Christina Ann LindstromDepartment of Veterans Affairs
LaToya McCreaElm City Communities
Sergio SensiniUlbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Inc.
Tracy Van OssQuinnipiac University
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 12
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 10
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Risk Management Provisions
Accident and Injury Coverage
Automobile Insurance and Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Directors and Officers Policy
Disability Insurance
General Property Coverage and Professional Liability
Life Insurance
Medical Health Insurance
Special Event Liability
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Blanket Personal Property
Business Income
Commercial General Insurance
Computer Equipment and Software
Crime Coverage
Employee Benefits Liability
Employee Dishonesty
Employment Practices Liability
Extra Expense Insurance
Fiduciary Liability
Flood
Improper Sexual Conduct/Sexual Abuse
Internet Liability Insurance
Property in Transit and Off Premises
Workplace Violence
Board Co-Chair
Jim Barra
Company Affiliation Ironwood Capital
Term Mar 2013 to Mar 2019
Email barra@ironwoodcap.com
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Executive
Finance
Investment
Board Governance
Housing and Community Development
CEO Comments

Columbus House has historically had a very active board, with members who are committed to addressing the issues of homelessness. They have grown just as the agency has grown to a more sophisticated level of governance that examines the big picture of the agency and the progress toward ending homelessness. Committees include the executive committee, finance and audit committees, housing committee, development committee and governance committee.

 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2019
Fiscal Year End June 30 2020
Projected Revenue $12,801,568.00
Projected Expenses $12,269,507.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals ChartHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201920182017
Total Revenue$12,250,496$11,930,636$11,657,915
Total Expenses$12,195,179$11,782,304$12,177,037
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201920182017
Total Assets$13,895,616$12,559,421$12,626,712
Current Assets$1,224,810$1,520,253$1,354,267
Long-Term Liabilities$4,895,364$4,273,231$4,370,040
Current Liabilities$1,007,522$871,169$1,145,256
Total Net Assets$7,992,729$7,415,021$7,111,416
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201920182017
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountCT Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction $2,963,158CT Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction $2,961,209CT Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction $2,945,325
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountUS Dept. of Housing $2,093,009US Dept. of Housing $2,075,917US Dept. of Housing $2,405,116
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountUS Dept. of Health $2,063,447US Dept. of Health $1,906,806US Dept. of Health $1,816,645
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
Comments
CEO Comments

Our Business Office administers a budget of over $11 million per year and carefully reviews and tracks grant-related revenue and expenditures in order to ensure compliance with all grant contracts. The Columbus House Business Office is led by a Chief Financial Officer with a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential and over 12 years of experience in nonprofit financial management. Her staff of five is responsible for overseeing all receivables and payables, producing internal financial reports, monitoring cash flow, reporting on financials for all government and private grants, and administering finances for all programs and services. Columbus House utilizes a nonprofit-specific automated accounting system (Fund EZ) for its general ledger in which each cash receipt and disbursement is identified and recorded by cost center (and each cost center is defined primarily by the program funded by one or more grantors). All cash receipts and disbursements are reconciled to ensure that no receipt or disbursement is omitted or posted in an incorrect amount to the general ledger. Each month, all bank accounts (checking and savings accounts) are reconciled by a member of the Business Office staff who does not have responsibilities for drafting checks for disbursement nor preparation of deposits. Each bank reconciliation is first reviewed by the Senior Manager of Accounting for accuracy and completeness and to ensure that all outstanding items are ultimately resolved. As an additional control, the CFO reviews and signs off on all bank reconciliations each month. Staff time is tracked through ADP’s payroll service and staff’s allocation to specific funding sources is tracked using time and effort reports.

Columbus House has been providing services to those who are at risk of homelessness in Connecticut since 1982. Each year, government funding—including federal, state, and municipal grants—accounts for about 89% of our revenue. Since 1982, our Chief Executive Officer and Development team have worked to diversify our funding sources so as to expand our services and provide some security against funders’ budgetary fluctuations. Regarding our long-term strategy, our Chief Executive Officer and development department are constantly exploring new avenues for funding across the agency with the intention of building sustainable programs that are less reliant on government funding. 
Foundation Staff Comments This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Address 586 Ella T. Grasso Blvd
New Haven, CT 06519
Primary Phone 203 401-4400
Contact Email info@columbushouse.org
CEO/Executive Director Cynthia Fox
Board Chair Rudy Zimmerman
Board Chair Company Affiliation Bayer Pharmaceuticals (retired)

 

Related Information

Meet Basic Needs

A strong community not only meets its members’ basic needs but also works to create long-term solutions to their problems. Provide people with affordable housing, enough to eat and access to affordable health care and you enable them to envision a better future for themselves.