Posted Tuesday, November 20th, 2018
Retiring Director Assisted Mentally Ill and Homeless Veterans
The Morris County Board of Freeholders yesterday honored J. Michael Armstrong, the longtime executive director of nonprofit Community Hope, who recently retired after two decades at the helm of the organization that worked to provide housing to severely mentally ill county residents and homeless veterans.
Under Armstrong’s leadership, Community Hope established one of the first Supportive Housing Programs — and largest in Morris County — for persons recovering from severe mental illness, and developed 13 residential recovery programs in the county.
Community Hope also established the CHAMPS and Partnership Programs, as one of the most successful efforts to transition long-time patients from state psychiatric hospitals to residential settings.
In addition, Armstrong helped to establish the Hope for Veterans Transitional Housing Program, which opened in 2004 as the largest such housing venture for veterans in New Jersey.
“We have the bittersweet task of congratulating and saying good-bye to Morris County’s long-time human services partner, Mike Armstrong, who is retiring as Executive Director of Community Hope,’’ Freeholder Director Doug Cabana said at a ceremony for Armstrong at a Board of Freeholders meeting in Morristown.
“Long before Morris County had a Stigma-Free initiative regarding mental health and addictions, Mike was out in the field, encouraging people with mental illness to get treatment and to work towards recovery. He has been a longtime leader in our county and he will be missed. Thank you, Mike.’’
Armstrong was joined yesterday by some of his peers, including Carmine Deo, who has taken over as his successor at Community Hope.
Founded in 1985, Community Hope was created by mental health professionals and family members of young adults with mental illness with the opening of a single residence serving five individuals.
Today, the organization’s residential programs serve more than 140 individuals a day in recovery from mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse. It also is the lead nonprofit rescuing veterans from homelessness in New Jersey.