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Alpha Community Services (ACS) is a regional nonprofit organization and the largest provider of housing services for the homeless population in Fairfield County, Connecticut. In 2006, as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness in the region, and to portray the diversity of the “faces of homelessness,” I was asked to make a series of portraits of people receiving services from ACS. I met each subject once and for only a short visit. My challenge was to go beyond the superficial and reveal the true spirit of each individual. It is my hope that these photographs do just that, and that the viewer is enriched by the experience.
—Ronnie E. Maher
Each year the Alpha Community Services’ “Families in Transition” emergency shelters serve 700 homeless individuals, 400 of whom are children. ACS provides 423 units of shelter, transitional and permanent affordable housing with supportive services for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness, which serves more than 1,200 people, and operates the only emergency shelter for homeless families in the city of Bridgeport.
ACS incorporates the concept of Continuum of Care, a program designed to address the root causes of homelessness by providing affordable housing, coupled with comprehensive supportive services, including health care and counseling services, parent training, affordable child care, job training, financial management, educational guidance, and child and youth services, along with case management to encourage successful independence. Importantly, the program staff deliver services in a caring and compassionate manner, helping families maintain their dignity and respect, and overcome the stigma associated with being homeless.
—Carmen Colon, Executive Director
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