Unsung Hero #34

Audrey Sparre joined Homes with Hope — known then as the Interfaith Housing Association — in 1999. She was one of their first professionally trained case managers.

Audrey initially managed men at the Gillespie Center shelter, and the adjacent Hoskins Place women’s shelter. She grew with the agency.

As Homes With Hope built permanent supportive housing, she added responsibilities. Working first at Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, then at the permanent headquarters on Richmondville Avenue, she supervised the HwH counseling staff (currently 10 professionals).

For the last decade, Audrey has overseen all programs, and all program directors, at Homes with Hope. Her title is VP and chief operating officer.

While she appeared at nearly all their functions since 1999 — and was a regular at Castles in the Sand, Stand Up for Homes With Hope, Project Return lunches and “Summer Night” parties — Audrey kept a low profile. She preferred hands-on care of clients.

In her early years, Audrey Sparre attended an Interfaith Housing Association event with a younger Jim Marpe.

On February 16, Audrey — a longtime Westporter — retires. It’s a huge loss for Homes With Hope — and Westport.

“She represents the best of what this community is all about,” says president and CEO Jeff Wieser.

“She raised her daughter here, nurtured many people in her various roles at HwH, She’s been the glue that makes our social work function efficiently and effectively. She has kept our clients, staff and community safe and caring.”

Audrey’s retirement will be interesting. She has property in upstate New York, where she hopes to pursue her equestrian activities. (She’s a member of St. Lawrence University’s Athletic Hall of Fame!) And, Wieser adds, she’ll raise yaks.

The other day — in the midst of intense activity at the Gillespie Center — Audrey looked around and said, “I can’t believe I’m leaving all this!”

Homes with Hope can’t believe she’s going either. This week’s Unsung Hero will be sorely missed.

6 responses to “Unsung Hero #34

  1. Truly one of a kind! Congratulations Audrey

  2. Congratulations Audrey! Westport has been lucky to have you.

  3. Audrey you have many good things for homes for hope i enjoyed getting to no you and you have help many many homeless peaple in westport and all over the state the peaple in westport and the state will miss you and your work it will be hard for Jeff to find somebody to replace you I wil miss you the town should give you a award for all your work

  4. Amelie Babkie

    Audie – as I call her – is my best friend. We’ve known each other and have been friends since BEFORE she began work at HwH – since BEFORE the days of Fun Fitness at the “Y”. If anyone deserves The Unsung Hero write up, it is Audie. She’s a strong, humble, polite, FUNNY, beautiful, Soulful, sensitive, SMART, thoughtful person. I am so excited for your next “move”. Aud, you have made such a wonderful difference in so many of our lives. I wish you so much Love and so much Luck.

  5. Dolores Bacharach

    Audrey, I can only say “May you make your “retirement” as fulfilling as you made your professional life. Whenever I called, you never sounded rushed or interrupted. Your compassion shines through to everyone whether it is someone in need of shelter or someone needing a place to drop off an item or two.
    You are a gift to this community. How you will be missed!

  6. I had the honor of serving on the HwH board for several years and can honestly say Audrey Sparre is one of the finest and most dedicated professionals I’ve ever known. Every single day Audrey poured her huge heart and warm soul into serving HwH and its clients with distinction.
    Good luck and warm wishes, Audrey. Thanks for all you did to make HwH and Westport a better place.