For over 20 years, Pete Powell has cared for Westport’s homeless. In February, he will leave the Interfaith Housing Association — his own longtime home.
As executive director since 1988, Pete — an Episcopal priest with a chemical engineering degree — has overseen IHA’s growth from an overnight-only emergency shelter to its current 9 buildings. In July, the 6-apartment Westport Rotary Centennial House opens on West End Avenue.
A full-time professional staff and over 400 volunteers provide support to hundreds of homeless people each year.
The IHA opened its first shelter on Christmas Eve, 1984. Founder Ted Hoskins — also a minister — called the date “poetic justice,” Pete says.
Pete will be 62 next February. He and his wife Barbara are ready to do “something else,” he says.
They’re not sure whether they’ll remain in the area. But after two decades, Pete realizes this town is special.
“I’m not sure the IHA could have succeeded in any community other than Westport,” he says. “It’s a unique place, with the social conscience to make this happen.”
Nine months remain, but the IHA is already searching for Pete Powell’s replacement. It won’t be easy.