Carol Walter, the much-loved director of Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH), died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, after a short illness. She was 53.
Walter, who grew up in Bloomfield, brought a unique passion to her work among people who are homeless, starting with early jobs in homeless shelters in Stamford, New Haven, and Hartford, and then eventually moving to Connecticut AIDS Resource Coalition, (CARC) where she helped people with AIDS to gain employment and was a founding member of the National Working Positive Coalition.
Carol became CCEH's executive director in 2006, and she presided over a sea change in the organization's approach to homelessness, including greater coordination of services among other non-profits, and the coordination of the coalition’s statewide annual Point-In-Time homeless census. Carol led the state in the area of rapid re-housing and shelter diversion strategies.
"Carol uplifted everyone with whom she came in contact. She was a tireless, passionate advocate and the quantity and quality of her work in the area of homelessness and housing will be virtually impossible to replace," said Lee-Ann Gomes, CCEH Board President.
Howard Rifkin, the Executive Director of the Partnership for Strong Communities said, "Carol enhanced the lives and prospects of thousands of Connecticut residents who needed hope. She was always energetic, engaged, determined to meld her deep understanding of homelessness with the hard data and emerging research that could shape solutions not for statistics but for real people whose lives mattered." He added, "she made us better, she focused our efforts."
Shawn Lang, CARC director of public policy said of Carol, "She was a ridiculously passionate, Mets-loving baseball fanatic, and just probably one of the greatest champions for social justice around."
Francesca Martin, formerly of the Corporation for Supportive Housing, has been appointed CCEH's interim director beginning January 7th.
Carol leaves her wife, Debra Walsh, of West Hartford. Funeral arrangements are pending.
The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness in partnership with communities throughout the state, creates change through leadership, community organizing, advocacy, research, and education. Our mission is to prevent and end homelessness in Connecticut.