He may look familiar because he’s been here before- Ryan Dowd is back as the Executive Director of Hesed House- the Aurora shelter that makes it their mission to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless.
Dowd left in 2013 and made his way to Washington D.C., founding the Center for Faith and Human Rights. There he helped serve immigrants and human rights groups in Africa, but soon realized he was missing what he calls home.
“This community is unique, the sense of caring for every member, the sense of responsibility to the whole, it really, really is special and I don’t think I realized just how special Hesed House was until it wasn’t a major part of my life anymore,” said Dowd.
Now that’s he’s back, his plan is to be even better at caring for people who need help, not just in our area, but for the broader community.
“We’ve done a really good job of building multiple services, everything a homeless person needs into one site, and its good, but it can be better. That’s the next step is make us even better and bringing even more volunteers from churches and community groups and get homeless people out of here even faster and into their homes even faster, and then start to help other communities, shelters to learn how to do that better,” said Dowd.
Though Illinois’ budget impasse is holding up about 20 percent of Hesed Houses’ funds, Dowd believes this time around he can work toward new beginnings.
“Hesed House from the beginning has never been afraid to try new things, developing models innovative programs, so from day one Hesed House has been a model for other organizations around the country, so that spirit is still there, so I’m really excited to see what’s next in terms of developing new programs, innovations, new ways of doing things that gets homeless people back into their homes faster,” said Dowd.
Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.
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