Our Mission

Friends Association provides programs and services that prevent homelessness and promote the independence of families with children.

OUR MODEL

A stable home. A healthy child. A resilient family. A safe community.

Our Housing First model combined with our trauma-informed, 2-generation approach makes our community better for all.

Friends is unique in that we focus on keeping families together during times of crisis while connecting them with highly personalized case management, community resources, and skill-building.  We support all families experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness in Chester County structured as they are when we meet them, including single moms and dads, two-parent, multi-generational, grandparent, and LGBTQ+ families.

We work with families to empower them as they build on existing strengths and skills and work together to build resiliency, stable housing, and financial independence. 

OUR STAFF

Bold, innovative, and committed. The Friends team is a small but mighty force that draws on its own experiences and expertise to provide families with the care and support they need to be empowered to succeed.

    Joyce chester

    Joyce chester

    CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

    610-431-3598 x222
    she/her

    Robin Senss

    Robin Senss

    Chief Operating Officer

    610-431-3598 x203
    she/her

    David James

    David James

    Chief Development Officer

    610-431-3598 x204
    he/him

    Vanessa Hunter

    Vanessa Hunter

    Director of Programs

    610-431-3598 x223
    she/her

    Tracey Iezzi

    Tracey Iezzi

    Director of Administration

    610-431-3598 x220
    she/her

    Maria McDowell

    Maria McDowell

    Staff Attorney

     610-431-3598 x205

    Karina OlMEDA

    Karina OlMEDA

    Director of Community Engagement

    610-431-3598 x224
    she/her

    Ellen Haines

    Ellen Haines

    Executive Administrative Assistant

    610-431-3598 x 213
    she/her

    Daphne Gilliam Miller

    Daphne Gilliam Miller

    Resource Navigator

    610-431-3598 x216
    she/her

    Lisa Buchanan

    Lisa Buchanan

    Case Manager

    610-431-3598 x225
    she/her

    Roune Betts

    Roune Betts

    Data Entry & Report Specialist

    610-431-3598 x223
    she/her

    Angela Linden

    Angela Linden

    LCSW & Program Support

    610-431-3598
    she/her

    OUR BOARD

    Friends Association Board members are dedicated and passionate about ensuring that every family in our community has a home. Their experience spans the nonprofit, legal, construction, medical, and financial and social services industries.

      Yolanda Van de Krol

      Yolanda Van de Krol

      President


      Clerk of Courts
      Chester County

      William McGrath

      William McGrath

      Vice President


      EVP, Chief Credit Officer
      Centric Bank

      Barbara Diorio

      Barbara Diorio

      Immediate Past President


      Dentist

      Troy Vogt

      Troy Vogt

      Treasurer


      Certified Financial Planner
      Market Street Wealth

      Joseph Keefer

      Joseph Keefer

      Secretary


      Executive VP
      Univest Bank & Trust

      Rev. Caroline Cupp

      Rev. Caroline Cupp

      Board Member


      Executive Pastor
      First Presbyterian
      Church of West Chester

      Jeffrey Garrett

      Jeffrey Garrett

      Board Member


      District Operation Supervisor
      Sears/Transformco

      Michael Hazley

      Michael Hazley

      Board Member


      President
      Hazley Builders

      HOLLY HUMPHREY

      HOLLY HUMPHREY

      Board Member


      HH Communications & Consulting

      Steve E. Jarmon

      Steve E. Jarmon

      Board Member


      Attorney
      Lamb, McErlane, PC

      Matthew Korenoski

      Matthew Korenoski

      Board Member


      Associate Attorney
      Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees

      Rebecca Louick

      Rebecca Louick

      Board Member


      School Counselor

      Jim MacFadden

      Jim MacFadden

      Board Member


      Co-Owner & Managing Partner
      MacFadden & Springer Investments

      Frank Monterosso

      Frank Monterosso

      Board Member


      Corporate Counsel
      United BioSource LLC

      Stephen Nicolai

      Stephen Nicolai

      Board Member


      Attorney
      Hogan Lovells US

      Raef Lee

      Raef Lee

      Board Member


      Principal, Business Consultant
      Lee & Associates

      OUR HISTORY

      ‘Proceed as the Way Opens’: To undertake a service or course of action without prior clarity about all the details but with confidence that divine guidance will make these apparent and assure an appropriate outcome.

      1822:

      • Founded on Quaker principles recognizing the inherent value of each individual in our society
      • Quaker and African American women, led by Friend Ann Yarnall, provide a home for children who had lost their parents in the city of Philadelphia.
      • 30-50 children each year received a home and schooling, many of whom were the children of individuals who had escaped enslavement

      1915:

      • Moved to Cheyney, Pennsylvania, and focused on providing education, training, mental health support, and most importantly, a home for girls and young women

      1974-1984:

      • Moved to the second floor of the YMCA building in the borough of West Chester, by the end of 1982 trend toward foster care, little need for shelter housing girls, shelter is empty
      • Emergency shelter provided to a family, start of Emergency Family Shelter that continues today
      • Foster Care program began with a request for care for special needs, older children
      • Coatesville Project, a housing and drug & alcohol program in Oak Street Public Housing started
      • Bridge Housing Program, assisting families transitioning from shelter started

      1985-2010:

      • Moved to Kesher Israel Synagogue providing shelter for 6 families
      • Purchased apartment building on Chestnut Street to provide transitional housing for families
      • Innovative Family to Family  Foster Care Program started in Coatesville keeping kids in their community of origin
      • Providing Foster Care for 45-50 children and specialized adoption services

      2010:

      • Foster Care and Adoption programs transitioned to Children’s Home of York.   Our mission became focused on homelessness and housing instability.
      • Aligned with Housing First  National Model, premised on evidence that a family experiencing homelessness is more responsive to interventions and social service supports if they are housed safely first.
      • The Emergency Family Shelter was moved to Chestnut Street, allowing the agency to serve diverse family compositions; single parent, two-parent, multi-generational, and LGBTQ+ families, and to provide families with a way to continue a normal daily routine during the trauma of housing instability.

      Today:

      We continue to operate the only publicly funded, low barrier, Housing First Emergency Family Shelter in Chester County that keeps families together during one of the most difficult times of their lives.

      Our Homelessness Prevention Programs combine targeted assistance and a collaborative approach that focuses on stable housing, financial independence, and resilience.

      At Friends, we believe that it starts with a home and we are committed to walking alongside every family as they take the first steps on that journey.

      “Over 55% of cities report that families had to break up to enter emergency shelters.*

       

      * US Conference of Mayors, 2010

      2022 marks the 200th Anniversary of Friends Association providing Chester County individuals and families experiencing homelessness with opportunities to build family well-being.

      REPORTS AND FINANCIALS

      ANNUAL REPORTS

      View Our 2021-2022 Annual Report

      View Our 2020-2021 Annual Report

      View Our 2019-2020 Annual Report

      Friends Association promotes the independence of families by providing shelter, programs and services that prevent and end homelessness in Chester County.

      Last year, Friends Association provided services to 840 of our neighbors (283 families) throughout our four pillars of support.

      2018 – 2021 Strategic Plan

      (click to view)

      Fiscal Year 2020 Audit (click to view)

      Fiscal Year 2019 Impact Report (click to view)