WHO WE ARE

Homelessness is one of our nation’s most serious problems. While there are many causes of homelessness, the primary cause is the growing gap between housing costs and income.  On any given night hundreds of individuals and families are homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless in Palm Beach County. The Homeless Coalition was formed in 1986 and incorporated in 1989 as The Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, Inc.

Over the past 30 years, the face of homelessness has changed. Today 1 in 5 children living in Palm Beach County are living in poverty.

The Homeless Coalition is a 501(c) 3 not for Profit Corporation that serves as a catalyst for community collaboration to prevent and end homelessness in our community.   

Our Mission


Building Coalitions and Inspiring Pathways to Help End Homelessness.

Our Vision


Ending Homelessness in Palm Beach County

COMMUNITY PLAN TO END HOMELESSNESS

Fundraising and awareness events, volunteer opportunities, and news dissemination all support the goal of sustaining the “Community Plan to End Homelessness”. Our fundraising strategies include writing grants, foundation funding and most importantly support from our community members. Promoting and receiving support from community, individuals, local businesses, corporations and organizations large and small is essential to continuing the Community Plan to End Homelessness.  Without the support of the community at large, many families and individuals who are in immediate need of shelter and services, would not have the opportunity to end their homelessness.

The objective of the Community Plan to End Homelessness in Palm Beach County is to continue to create a local response system that will end homelessness. In order to meet this objective, a set of action steps have been developed which address current gaps in services, particularly as they relate to a number of underserved populations whose specific needs are not currently being met by those services available in our community.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 

The Homeless Coalition Board of Directors meet monthly and serve on numerous committees. Each director goes through a nomination process to serve as a member for two years and can serve up to six years. The board is engaged and committed to ending homelessness in Palm Beach County.

Sophia Eccleston
President

Seven years ago, Sophia Eccleston was appointed as the external affairs manager for Florida Power and Light Company. As such, she is responsible for advocating with local elected officials and key community stakeholders on behalf of FPL.

Sophia earned her Bachelor in Criminal Justice from Armstrong State University in Georgia, and her Master of Business Administration from American Intercontinental University in Illinois. She also completed a training program on leadership and negotiations from Harvard Law School.

Christine “Tina” A. Phillips
Vice President

After 33 years, Tina retired as President/CEO of the Palm Beach Habilitation Center. In her position she was responsible for the direction, management and planning of the non-profit agency serving men and women with disabilities in a myriad of programs including job training and placement, senior services, case management, recreation and housing. She has served as an international consultant in social service evaluation, program development and housing design.

Tina has been recognized with various awards, including the Palm Beach County Medical Society’s 2017 Bruce Rendina Professional Hero in Medicine Award for assisting people with disabilities to become meaningful members of society.

Paul E. Dumars, Jr.
Treasurer

Paul E. Dumars, Jr. is a local finance professional with more than 15 years of experience. During his financial career, he has worked in the information technology, food and beverage manufacturing, and retail expansion industries.

Paul earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Lousiana State University, and his Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Management and Finance from Northwood University.

Sally Chester
Secretary

Sally D. Chester, MS, RN, BC, has been a long-time community volunteer with an extensive background in nursing. Some of her past board and community service involvement includes chairing Palm Beach Medical Society’s Heroes in Medicine, acting as an Arc of Palm Beach County board member, and medical operations director for the Palm Beach Marathon Festival.

Sally has more than 45 years of experience in nursing and health care. She received her Bachelor in Nursing from Hartwick College, and her Masters in Health Education from Nova Southern University.

Christian E. Bergstrom, CHRS
Member

As Director & Senior Benefits Consultant for Gehring Group, Christian assists in strategic and budget planning for large group clients as it relates to employee benefits programs, making recommendations and providing guidance with regard to compliance with health care reform. His reputation in the industry has earned him the invitation to sit on the agent advisory councils of two of the largest group insurance carriers in the State of Florida.

Christian earned his Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from the University of Texas and is a member of National Association for Health Underwriters, State and Local Government Benefits Association as well as The Council for Insurance Agents & Brokers.

James Crowley, Esq.
Member

James “Jamie” Crowley is a land use attorney at Gunster. He represents developers and property owners on a wide range of development projects who require approval from local, county and state regulatory agencies. He has worked on large-scale planned development, public-private partnership and urban infill projects throughout Florida, but focuses his practice on South Florida.

Jamie graduated from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and the University of Florida’s honors program.

Peter L. Cruise, PhD
Member

Peter L. Cruise is Florida Atlantic University’s executive director of its Public Ethics Academy, and affiliate associate professor at its School of Public Administration. He has nearly 30 years of experience as a college professor, and has taught at various universities throughout the country.

Peter earned his Bachelor of Health Services, Master of Public Administration, and Doctor of Philosophy at Florida Atlantic University.

Gabrielle Finley-Hazzle
Member

Gabrielle Finley-Hazle serves as chief executive officer of St. Mary’s Medical Center and the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, overseeing the strategic, operational and clinical activities for the 460-bed acute care hospital, children’s hospital, inpatient rehabilitation hospital, and trauma center. As a native of South Florida, she participates in various community initiatives and serves in leadership roles in several community organizations.

Gabrielle earned two degrees from Cornell University: a Master in Healthcare Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, Health and Society.

Ted Peroulakis
Member

Ted Peroulakis has more than 16 years of experience in the financial industry as a financial advisor and financial analyst. He joined Merrill Lynch in 2011 as a Financial Advisor and is a member of the Girard, Kovarik & Associates team. Ted has dedicated his life to the study of finance, economics and investments.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Florida State University, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami.

Kelly L. Smallridge
Member

Kelly L. Smallridge is president and CEO of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County. She is currently the longest tenured economic development president in the state, and has a solid track record in facilitating some of the largest job creation projects for Palm Beach County. Kelly has worked at the Business Development Board for 30 years, and has garnered multiple prestigious recognitions.

Additionally, she has also had the opportunity of showcasing the BDB’s accomplishments on national outlets, such as CNBC and the New York Post.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 

The Homeless Coalition Board of Directors meet monthly and serve on numerous committees. Each director goes through a nomination process to serve as a member for two years and can serve up to six years. The board is engaged and committed to ending homelessness in Palm Beach County.

Sophia Eccleston
President

Seven years ago, Sophia Eccleston was appointed as the external affairs manager for Florida Power and Light Company. As such, she is responsible for advocating with local elected officials and key community stakeholders on behalf of FPL.

Sophia earned her Bachelor in Criminal Justice from Armstrong State University in Georgia, and her Master of Business Administration from American Intercontinental University in Illinois. She also completed a training program on leadership and negotiations from Harvard Law School.

Christine “Tina” A. Phillips
Vice President

After 33 years, Tina retired as President/CEO of the Palm Beach Habilitation Center. In her position she was responsible for the direction, management and planning of the non-profit agency serving men and women with disabilities in a myriad of programs including job training and placement, senior services, case management, recreation and housing. She has served as an international consultant in social service evaluation, program development and housing design.

Tina has been recognized with various awards, including the Palm Beach County Medical Society’s 2017 Bruce Rendina Professional Hero in Medicine Award for assisting people with disabilities to become meaningful members of society.

Paul E. Dumars, Jr.
Treasurer

Paul E. Dumars, Jr. is a local finance professional with more than 15 years of experience. During his financial career, he has worked in the information technology, food and beverage manufacturing, and retail expansion industries.

Paul earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Lousiana State University, and his Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Management and Finance from Northwood University.

Sally Chester
Secretary

Sally D. Chester, MS, RN, BC, has been a long-time community volunteer with an extensive background in nursing. Some of her past board and community service involvement includes chairing Palm Beach Medical Society’s Heroes in Medicine, acting as an Arc of Palm Beach County board member, and medical operations director for the Palm Beach Marathon Festival.

Sally has more than 45 years of experience in nursing and health care. She received her Bachelor in Nursing from Hartwick College, and her Masters in Health Education from Nova Southern University.

Christian E. Bergstrom, CHRS
Member

As Director & Senior Benefits Consultant for Gehring Group, Christian assists in strategic and budget planning for large group clients as it relates to employee benefits programs, making recommendations and providing guidance with regard to compliance with health care reform. His reputation in the industry has earned him the invitation to sit on the agent advisory councils of two of the largest group insurance carriers in the State of Florida.

Christian earned his Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from the University of Texas and is a member of National Association for Health Underwriters, State and Local Government Benefits Association as well as The Council for Insurance Agents & Brokers.

James Crowley, Esq.
Member

James “Jamie” Crowley is a land use attorney at Gunster. He represents developers and property owners on a wide range of development projects who require approval from local, county and state regulatory agencies. He has worked on large-scale planned development, public-private partnership and urban infill projects throughout Florida, but focuses his practice on South Florida.

Jamie graduated from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and the University of Florida’s honors program.

Peter L. Cruise, PhD
Member

Peter L. Cruise is Florida Atlantic University’s executive director of its Public Ethics Academy, and affiliate associate professor at its School of Public Administration. He has nearly 30 years of experience as a college professor, and has taught at various universities throughout the country.

Peter earned his Bachelor of Health Services, Master of Public Administration, and Doctor of Philosophy at Florida Atlantic University.

Gabrielle Finley-Hazzle
Member

Gabrielle Finley-Hazle serves as chief executive officer of St. Mary’s Medical Center and the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, overseeing the strategic, operational and clinical activities for the 460-bed acute care hospital, children’s hospital, inpatient rehabilitation hospital, and trauma center. As a native of South Florida, she participates in various community initiatives and serves in leadership roles in several community organizations.

Gabrielle earned two degrees from Cornell University: a Master in Healthcare Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, Health and Society.

Ted Peroulakis
Member

Ted Peroulakis has more than 16 years of experience in the financial industry as a financial advisor and financial analyst. He joined Merrill Lynch in 2011 as a Financial Advisor and is a member of the Girard, Kovarik & Associates team. Ted has dedicated his life to the study of finance, economics and investments.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Florida State University, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami.

Kelly L. Smallridge
Member

Kelly L. Smallridge is president and CEO of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County. She is currently the longest tenured economic development president in the state, and has a solid track record in facilitating some of the largest job creation projects for Palm Beach County. Kelly has worked at the Business Development Board for 30 years, and has garnered multiple prestigious recognitions.

Additionally, she has also had the opportunity of showcasing the BDB’s accomplishments on national outlets, such as CNBC and the New York Post.

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Team Members