As you may now know, after an incredibly rewarding 27 years of service to Mercy Housing, I have decided to retire from my position as CEO. The decision was certainly bittersweet, but made much easier by knowing that my successor would be Mercy Housing’s current president, Jane Graf.
Jane is a dynamic and well-respected leader in the affordable housing industry. We are extremely fortunate to have had Jane as part of our team since 1992, first in her role as president of our California region, then as our national chief operating officer and now president and CEO-designate of Mercy Housing, Inc. Jane will take over on July 1 of this year and I have every confidence that she is the right person to lead Mercy Housing into the future.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Jane and I share a common passion for service. And perhaps no group of people in America has served more loyally than our nation’s veterans.
Every year on Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and of course the 4th of July, we all seem to become a bit more patriotic. We dedicate those few days out of each year to show our veterans how much we appreciate them. There are parades and speeches and talk of local heroes. But when the last float rolls by and the fireworks are over, we return to our normal lives. Too often, our local heroes are once again forgotten.
Since the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq began over a decade ago, more than one million of our sons and daughters have returned home physically and emotionally wounded. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) now estimates that one in five veterans of those conflicts live with post-traumatic stress disorder. The VA also estimates that about 670,000 veterans have been awarded disability status connected to their military service.
Even those who returned home relatively unscathed by their time of service often still face staggering unemployment rates and difficulty accessing veterans benefits. Our nation’s defenders deserve better.
In our latest issue of Community Matters, we focus on the men and women who have served our country and defended our freedom. Now it’s our turn to fight for them. I invite you to peek inside and learn about how Mercy Housing is using your donor dollars to provide Hope for America’s Veterans. Read about two new Mercy Housing properties being built specifically with veterans’ needs in mind. Hear from our vice president of National Resident Services as she discusses Mercy Housing’s role in President Obama’s plan to end veteran homelessness by 2015. And meet an amazing woman who served our nation before finally finding a home with Mercy Housing.
It is has been my honor to fight for the elimination of poverty and for the creation of stable, vibrant and healthy
communities for nearly three decades. Mercy Housing’s staff, board and especially you, our supporters, have inspired me to believe that this lofty goal of ours to end homelessness in America would one day be realized.
Live in Hope,
Sister Lillian Murphy, RSM
Mercy Housing CEO
View the full issue of Community Matters here.