May 8, 2009
For Immediate Release

Contact: Julia Bey Ahmet
(973) 463-9600, ext. 303

Community Hope Honored as Outstanding Provider in New Jersey’s Mental Health System

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Accepting the Outstanding Provider Award are (from left) Eileen Griffith, Vice President and founding Board Member; Executive Director J. Michael Armstrong, and Carmela Lunt, Founder and President.

MERCERVILLE, NJ (May 8, 2009) – Community Hope, Inc., Parsippany, NJ, was recently honored with the 2009 Outstanding Provider Award from the New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHA). Community Hope was founded in 1985 with the establishment of a residence for five individuals. Since then, the agency has expanded into a multi-county supportive housing provider serving 300 individuals and has become one of the largest providers of supportive housing for individuals with mental illness in New Jersey. Residents include veterans, as well as individuals who were discharged from state psychiatric institutions after years of hospitalization.

Community Hope was selected from numerous exemplary nominations for consideration as Outstanding Provider. NJAMHA honors one provider and several frontline employees each year for outstanding service. The awards were created to recognize the incredible work of community service providers that often goes unrecognized and unheralded.

Carmela Lunt“At NJAMHA’s Annual Courage and Compassion Awards Dinner, we honor extraordinary organizations and employees who inspire us, challenge us and remind us why we go to work each day,” said Debra L. Wentz, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of NJAMHA, noting that they represent the courage and compassion of thousands of employees at NJAMHA’s 125 member agencies. “They exemplify the best in the mental health system by going above and beyond what is expected of them. Through the work they perform and the compassion they demonstrate each day with clients, they truly are transforming the world one person at a time.”

“More than 95 percent of the individuals entering our programs will break the cycle of repeated psychiatric hospitalizations or homelessness and successfully integrate into the community as a result of our residential programs,” said J. Michael Armstrong, MA, MBA, Executive Director of Community Hope. The agency’s innovative and highly effective programs include the CHAMP (Care and Hope at Morris Plains) and Partnership programs, in collaboration with Comprehensive Behavioral Health Care, which enable patients who have been hospitalized at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital for years to reintegrate into the community; the Community Housing and Independence for Consumer Empowerment (CHOICE) program, which provides permanent housing for individuals with low incomes and disabilities who can live independently with the proper level of support; and the Hope for Veterans program, a transitional housing and recovery program for homeless veterans. All of these programs were significantly expanded over the past three years.

“Community Hope was founded on the premise that all individuals with mental illness could improve the quality of their lives if they had hope for the future. Many individuals have come to Community Hope after struggling with this debilitating disease for years and, in some instances, for decades. In despair, they have given up all hope in planning for the future,” said Carmela Lunt, Founder and President of Community Hope. “We believed that providing the basic necessities of housing and supportive services would give these individuals the foundation upon which they could find the hope, dignity and self-esteem that would empower them with the self-confidence to rebuild their lives. Until a cure for mental illness is found, there is no alternative but to respond to this challenge.”

“Community Hope’s commitment to overcoming barriers, innovation, improving services and staff development epitomize the traits we sought to honor,” Dr. Wentz said. “It is equally clear that Community Hope has provided a supportive work environment and served as a leader in the supported and veterans housing field. The agency’s and staff’s impact on helping consumers on their road to recovery is clear.”

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Press Release Issued by: New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies, Inc. 3575 Quakerbridge Road, Suite 102, Mercerville, NJ 08619 - Phone (609) 838-5488 - Fax (609) 838-5489