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Published on May 17, 2010
In this speech I try to explain for the first time in public why I am an advocate for the homeless and the poor. Writing and delivering this speech was more difficult than any other speech I've ever given, except for my mother's eulogy. On this day (May 14, 2010) I am being presented with the Stanley Schear Leadership Award for my work in providing shelters and services for homeless people in Westchester County, New York for more than 27 years. The award was made by the Senior Housing and Services Coalition of the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services. My work to date has included co-founding the first shelter for the homeless in Yonkers, co-founding the Coalition for the Homeless of Westchester (the first countywide advocacy group for the homeless), developing the initial concept for the Bridge Fund eviction prevention program, co-chairing the Westchester Partnership for the Homeless, which coordinates planning and management of $10-12 million in annual Continuum of Care for the Homeless funding from HUD, and securing over $165 million in grant funding for local public and private programs benefiting the poor.