Home Again: Only a Home Ends Homelessness
Ellen Ryder- Director of public affairs, College of the Holy Cross

Ellen Ryder returned to her hometown of Worcester after being away for 15 years with a desire to help bring change to the city.  As the director of public affairs for the College of the Holy Cross, Ellen was inspired by the commitment to the community and social justice she saw in her colleagues, and volunteered her time and skills to Home Again as a way to make a difference in Worcester.


“When I learned about the work of Home Again and the ‘housing first’ concept, I was immediately drawn to it as an opportunity to make a difference,” says Ellen.  Seeing her developmentally disabled brother move into a group home opened her eyes to the challenges of finding suitable housing. She also saw firsthand how having a home can make a person more independent and engaged in their community.


Once Ellen was more involved in the early planning stages of Home Again, she was impressed by what she saw.  “It is inspiring to see individuals and organizations from diverse backgrounds and perspectives working together,” says Ellen. “A clear vision was articulated and even though there were challenges along the way, we all understood what needed to be accomplished and worked together to make it happen.”


One of the most inspiring moments and a high point of working with Home Again for Ellen was when the Lt. Tommy Spencer House group home officially opened.  “It was a bitter cold day, so walking into a place that had been utterly transformed into a warm, inviting residence was extraordinary.  It was a real, physical signal that our work was serious about changing lives.”


In just a few short years of returning to Worcester, Ellen is making a difference through her work with Home Again. “We have a moral obligation to end homelessness. By providing housing first, a person who is struggling with homelessness  can work within a structure of stability and security to make lasting change.”