The Partnership for the Homeless

A Letter from President and CEO

After nearly 20 years as President and CEO at the Partnership, Arnold S. Cohen has announced his retirement.

October 2018

Dear Friend,

Have you ever left the work you loved?

I know it’s not easy. Because after much thought, over many months, I’ve decided to retire from the Partnership for the Homeless.

My time with the Partnership has been a truly remarkable journey – one that has defined my work-life’s mission. It’s been a journey where I’ve had the chance to see the strength of humanity in all of its splendor – especially among those trapped in the midst of unimaginable struggles.

Indeed, I’ve seen daily the toll homelessness takes on the soul of a person:  the weight of worry a Mom feels over not having enough to feed her kids or to fight an illness … the brave young woman who took a giant leap forward to save herself and her children from an abusive relationship, only to be without a place to call home ... the senior who lost his life partner and then, with no safety net of support, spiraled downward into homelessness.

I've seen in their faces the despair that comes from a life of loss and uncertainty.

But I’ve also seen in their faces the enormous power of hope when they open the door to their new apartment to finally arrive back home.

Yes, my work has been so wonderfully life-affirming – and humbling.

I surely would not have experienced any of this without you walking alongside me during this astonishing journey, generously supporting the families and individuals in our community who have fallen on terribly hard times.

For that you have my thanks.

I thank you for all the families with young children who were able to escape a housing crisis that left them in a deplorable shelter or teetering on the edge...I thank you for all the Moms and Dads who no longer have to rely on the emergency room for their children because they now have access to quality health care...I thank you for all the children who are attending school uninterrupted by homelessness, excited about a new school year and the world beyond their immediate reach...I thank you for the men and women now on a career path, ready to break awful generational patterns of homelessness and to live their most prosperous life.

For all these and more, you have my deepest appreciation.

And while this may be a farewell from me, I do hope my retirement is seen as a challenge to continue the struggle – and to do better.  My stepping down from the Partnership does not mean that the mission and values that drives the work will be leaving with me. Instead, with you by their side, I’m confident that the Board and staff of the Partnership will continue attacking the root issues so that one day homelessness will be a thing of the past.

Warm regards,

Arnold S. Cohen