Faith Community Homes bids farewell to longtime program manager, welcomes new staff member

  • Sr. Carrie Miller, SLW, served for 15 years as the first program director at Faith Community Homes, in Arlington Heights. Sarah Harte recently began as the new program director.

    Sr. Carrie Miller, SLW, served for 15 years as the first program director at Faith Community Homes, in Arlington Heights. Sarah Harte recently began as the new program director. Courtesy of Faith Community Homes

Kris Mainellis

Faith Community Homes recently said goodbye to Sr. Carrie Miller, who served as program manager since the inception of the organization in 2003. Instrumental in founding the organization, she was a key staff member -- and for a while its only paid professional.

"For 15 years, Sister Carrie was dedicated to helping disenfranchised, forgotten and impoverished families, helping them to build a stronger existence," said Chuck Warner, executive director of Faith Community Homes. "Her impact on FCH and our families will be felt for years to come." Miller will move into a leadership position with her faith community, Sisters of the Living Word.

It was Miller who established the framework for the program at FCH, which continues to help low-income families survive and thrive in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. "Sister Carrie has provided our families with loving care throughout these years and she has provided the organization leadership and an attitude of 'we can do this' her entire time with FCH," said Jim Mayer, board chair.

Faith Community Homes serves low-income, working families in Arlington Heights and Palatine by providing rent assistance and mentoring services for up to two years. The organization's targeted program helps participants learn and put into practice solid financial principles and develop important career-advancement and life skills. Families meet with trained volunteer mentors and professional coaches throughout their time in the program.

"As we grew, Sister Carrie became the face of Faith Community Homes to the churches and organizations in the community while providing the professional social work with the families and guidance for the mentors," said Lou Walton, board member and one of the founders of FCH.

In addition, FCH families have benefited over the years by Miller's foresight in soliciting participation from the community. That community partnership remains today as organizations, businesses and individuals each year donate items including Christmas gifts, school supplies, gift cards and food pantry donations.

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Faith Community Homes continues to grow and adapt to the needs in the community and maintains a positive outlook for the future. The organization recently expanded the number of families it serves and the types of training and education it facilitates.

Another step toward the future included hiring a new program manager. Sarah Harte took up the mantle from Miller in June. "We are looking forward to continuing to grow and enhance our program as Sarah shares her experience and gifts with FCH and the families we serve," said Warner.

Harte earned her undergraduate degree at Yale University (New Haven, CT) and completed her master's degree at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Her work experience includes serving Special Olympics, Inc. (Washington, D.C.), Rush Alzheimer's Family Care Center, and Rush Medical Center in the Outpatient Day Rehabilitation Program (both in Chicago), as well as volunteering for several social service organizations in Arlington Heights.

Harte has direct experience in assessing needs and creating care plans for people of all ages as well as working with families in various stages of crisis. Her duties at Faith Community Homes include managing the intake of new families to the program, working with case managers and mentors as they provide guidance to families and coordinating all FCH family services. "After spending years working and volunteering in human social services, I am very happy to join FCH. This organization has such a positive impact on families' lives, and I am thrilled to be a part of that."

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