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New Look - New Vision - One Community


HFHS was created in 2022 in response to the growing need for social services in our community and the surrounding communities. Holy Family Home & Shelter first sheltered individuals in 1989 through the Sisters of Charity. More than thirty years later, HFHS takes the values and vision of the Sisters of Charity and expands into an organization that is involved in all areas of serving those in need. Like the path to homelessness takes many different forms, so do the solutions. Those solutions are more than just temporary housing and include help in obtaining ID, education, job skills, supportive housing, and reintroduction to their community. HFHS has four divisions focused on those in need:

HFHS Shelter | Homes+ | HFHS Homeless Services | HFHS Community

About us

HFHS Mission Statement

Our mission at HFHS is to provide shelter to members of our community who are homeless and help those at risk of repeat homelessness to obtain the skills they need to become self-sufficient. We work with local social service organizations, local government, community leaders, and businesses to provide resources and opportunities for those in need

HFHS Vision Statement

HFHS envisions being part of a community that works together to address areas of need of its most vulnerable members while identifying and finding solutions to gaps in the system in order for our community to be inclusive and safe for all.

HFHS Shelter

HFHS Shelter is the Holy Family Home & Shelter reinvented. The update in the name coincides with the change in leadership, new vision, updating of the facility, and what it has to offer. We are the only shelter in our area that will house families.That is what makes us unique and sets us apart. Keeping families intact while they are facing a difficult time is important to our organization. Our goal is for stays at the shelter to be at most sixty days although there are instances where a longer stay is needed. In those circumstances an action plan is created with HFHS leadership including regularly scheduled meetings until housing is obtained. During an individual's or families stay with us they are encouraged to take comfort in being safe, sheltered, fed, and see this as an opportunity to get back on track without the worry of basic human needs. Our staff and case managers assist our guests with intake, the understanding of rules and safety, obtaining housing and employment, as well as enrolling in state and federal programs. Guests receive three meals a day and follow guidelines laid out in the guest handbook each individual received upon intake. Guests are encouraged to take advantage of programs offered by HFHS such as financial education, job training, and wellness programs through our partnership with United We Om Yoga & Meditation.

Homes Plus Supportive Housing

Homes Plus is our supportive housing division. We assist individuals and families with finding permanent housing through partnerships with local landlords and organizations. Participants in the program meet monthly with the Homes Plus Program Manager for guidance and help with identifying challenges and working on goals. Program participants are assisted in getting services needed and with interacting with landlords and other professionals. Participants pay Homes Plus a percentage of income based on their qualification and Homes Plus pays the landlords the full rent amount. Participants are encouraged to pay their portion of the rent to Homes Plus before the 5th of each month. This program is ideal for individuals on social security and have other mitigating circumstances that may make it difficult to obtain housing or a lease on their own.

HFHS Homeless Services

HFHS Homeless Services is the division of HFHS that helps homeless individuals end the cycle of falling into circumstances that may cause them to become homeless again. HFHS partners with local Colleges and Universities, businesses, social service organizations, local government, and private organizations to identify opportunities and programs that can help individuals become self-sufficient. Helping individuals obtain the necessary legal documents to have the ability to find employment and apply for assistance programs. Assisting individuals obtain their G.E.D, find a new skill to find better employment, attending budgeting classes, and participating in parenting classes are just some of the programs that we either offer or will be adding through new community partnerships.

HFHS Community

The success of any community is the result of people working together to achieve a better place to live. HFHS Community is committed to partnering with other social services organizations, community leaders, local government officials, educational institutions, chambers of commerce and private citizens to solve complex social problems. Our vision is to enhance and support programs that are already in place in organizations that provide similar services while identifying areas of need in order to develop new programs. Community outreach is a necessary part of this solution. Our outreach team travels the city to visit unsheltered clients, bringing water, food, toilet paper, and other basic needs. HFHS partners with local healthcare providers to administer first aid and basic healthcare to these clients. Regular, consistent visits build trust and lay a foundation for clients to lean on when they are ready to move into shelter.

About us

What We Do

HFHS Homeless Services combines shelter and housing services with a community outreach approach. We are committed to outreach, case management, providing shelter, and basic needs to help individuals address their unique challenges and build a better future for themselves and their families. We also look at why our guests end up on the streets and in poverty and address those challenges. We recognize that there are gaps in the system. HFHS is working to identify solutions to a complex social problem.

Our Vision

Real challenges are faced by our community everyday. We stand for those who have no one else to care for them. We believe that just like the path to homelessness takes many shapes, so do the solutions. From homeless to home, we are committed to helping all individuals find their way. Providing people with not only a sense of hope, but an opportunity to start again. It takes strategic planning, renewed vision, and community support. We believe in this mission and we’re committed to making it happen, right here in Windham County.

Our Mission

Holy Family Home & Shelter provides shelter, support services, and basic needs to those experiencing homelessness or poverty in Windham County. Recognizing the inherent value of each person, we serve the most vulnerable with compassion and kindness. Seeking to expand our reach outside the shelter, providing services to those in need. In doing so, we help strengthen the entire community.

New Look - New Vision - One Organization

The Challenges

In our community, the needs of those struggling are varied and often profound. The poorest and most vulnerable are often caught in a vicious cycle as they try to meet their basic needs in the face of poverty, family crisis, health issues and more.


  1. Fund internal programs and the community outreach division of Holy Family Home & Shelter (HFHS Homeless Services) integrating our team of volunteers and staff into the community to identify areas of need, community partners, and create a pathway from homelessness, to shelter, education & support, to housing.
  2. Establish trust throughout the homeless population. Building trust through communication and contact to lay a foundation for individuals to lean on when they are ready to move into shelter.
  3. Utilize the relationship we establish to learn the needs and struggles of the homeless population in our community.
  4. Partner with local schools, businesses, colleges and universities to create programs addressing homeless recidivism.
  5. Implementation of programs at the shelter to stop the cycle of homelessness.
    1. Job Prep
    2. General skills
    3. GED completion
    4. Parenting Classes
  6. Utilize our visibility and measured success rate to expand our services and attract local community partnerships and contributions.


Each year from April to October, our newly formed outreach team would travel to different locations in our community to visit unsheltered clients, bringing water, food, and other basic needs. HFHS will partner with local healthcare providers to administer first aid and basic healthcare to these clients. Regular visits build trust and lay a foundation for clients to lean on when they are ready to move into shelter.

Extended Shelter

HFHS currently operates one year-round homeless shelter. The Shelter is a 40-bed, low-barrier shelter for individuals and families. A typical stay is around 45 - 60+ days and in that time clients meet one-on-one with a Case Manager to address their obstacles to secure housing and work toward long-term stability.

0bjective/Focus Area

We strive to provide 360° wraparound services anchored with case management—from street level community engagement to emergency shelter, finding long-term housing, life skills training and much more. All aligned with the individual needs of each client. This work happens in three key focus areas:

Basic Needs

We provide for the most vulnerable, when they need it most, through shelter, clothing, food, basic healthcare and more.

Human Empowerment

Through street outreach and case management, we meet those in need where they are. By providing the services and structure they need to improve their situations, we empower them to build brighter futures for themselves and their families.

Community Development

We bring the community together to serve our region’s most vulnerable, those experiencing homelessness or living in poverty, through service and educational opportunities, special events, and more.

We truly believe that powerful moments of kindness can intervene and work to break this cycle. If we can help lift up those struggling to a place of stability, it will lift up the entire community around them. Working together we can make homelessness in our community rare, brief, and nonrecurring.

For thirty – five years I have been a cardiologist serving our communities, Windham Hospital, our physician staff and community. My family and medical vocation has been my life achievement. Since retirement I have pursued other interests: bicycling, sailing, courses at ECSU and working part time in Kalispell Montana. This is the hospital where daughter Rachel works as a pediatric surgical APRN. I plan a new challenge this summer. I will bicycle from Anacortes Washington to Glacier National Park as a fund raiser to assist our Holy Family Home and Shelter and to experience the beauty of this part of our country. The ride will take me thru the width of Washington, upper Idaho and the western third of Montana and approximately 1000 miles. My ride will be unsupported and for the most part solo. This means riding alone between 30 – 100 miles/day (there is a 50 – mile mountain climb in Washington) camping, some motels, fixing flats, bike repairs, talking to myself and those I meet and seeing this magnificent part of our country at between 5 – 25 mph. After Glacier I will return to Whitefish for the birth of our first grandchild. So why would I want to do this? I have loved bicycling since day when dad gave me my first bike in Pittsburgh in third grade. I later rode that bike to and from grade school and took bike hikes with friends. A bicycle was my transportation for medical school in Philadelphia. Early in my career I would ride Rachel to daycare at Windham Hospital in a small towed trailer. A favorite activity, riding with family and friends, has long been a source of socialization, recreation, exploration and at times therapy. When seated in a saddle the sensation of being a young boy with freedom to search for adventure has never left me. As a physician cycling has been a source of exercise and fitness when running was no longer possible. I have long wanted to take a bike trip across our country. Having achieved 70 years and retirement it is time. And why would I have us support The Holy Family Home and Shelter? The Sisters of Charity and staff, and what they do is a part of the fundamental goodness and humanity of Willimantic. For thirty years they have provided meals, housing, assistance and education to our most vulnerable people in need, especially young mothers. The shelter relies on the sisters, volunteerism, grants, anonymous helpers and God daily to continue their mission. My personal perspective of the kindness, love and generosity of the Sisters was formed as they helped to shape me. I lived four years with the Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of St. Joseph in grade school. They are part of me and I am forever indebted. “We will not be judged by how may diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many good things we have done. We will be judged by, “ I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.” Mother Teresa I am grateful for your support of this bicycle trip, this cycle of life. Mark Fisherkeller M.D.

Who We Are

Holy Family Home and Shelter, Inc., a non-profit organization, is a 28-bed home and shelter for fathers, mothers, and their children, and a small number of single females. Residents, who stay an average of 60 days, are provided with 3 meals a day, life skills workshops, case management, laundry facilities, an education program for children, assistance with permanent housing and employment searches, and referrals to other agencies as needed. A staff of 13, including case managers, provide support, a safe environment, and professional assistance. Through case management and workshops we assist our families with the information they need to rebuild their lives. The shelter works with the families to create budgets, formulate life plans and encourage further education. Those in need of help with mental health and/or addiction problems find additional assistance through local programs such as Perception Programs, Inc.

Prospective residents are admitted through a collaborative effort of the Eastern Connecticut Coordinated Access Network.. Admitted residents must be willing to adhere to shelter rules, follow curfews, help with daily chores, and participate in case management, including spending plans.

Holy Family receives a grant from the Department of Housing, State of Connecticut. Funding also comes from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Town of Mansfield, the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (U.S. Deptartment of Agriculture), and other grantors. Approximately 30% comes from civic groups, churches, schools, and individuals, with individual donations comprising the largest amount of this group. Holy Family also obtains funds through its annual raising events: Cardless Christmas, Tealess Tea, and other efforts.


HFHS Leadership

Ryan Fitzgibbons

Executive Director

Ryan became the organizational leader for HFHS Homeless Services (Holy Family Home & Shelter) in 2021 bringing him back to Eastern Connecticut from Wichita, KS. He was the Chief Operating Officer for HumanKind Wichita, a non profit organization that provides street outreach, shelter, affordable housing, supportive services, and basic needs to those experiencing homelessness or poverty in Sedgwick County, KS. Ryan left Eastern Connecticut in 2016 to become the Chief Operating Officer

Fran Edwards

Kitchen Manager

Nisha Holmes

Financial Development

Lori Furtado


Muhammad Hasan

Support Services Coordinator

Tina Gromko

House Manager

Floranne Rawolle

Homes Plus Program Manager

Kristan Green

Case Manager

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HFHS Partners