Robin Tomechko has led Harford Family House’s staff and clients through tumultuous times in 2020.
“We have had to all think more out of the box in order to continue to be successful,” said Tomechko, who was named CEO in April 2016. “Empowering my staff, supporting them in their endeavors, and working collaboratively with each other as a team along with community partners has helped us continue to provide our much-needed services.”
Harford Family House provides transitional housing for families with children experiencing homelessness and unaccompanied adults ages 18 to 24 in Harford County.
Tomechko said among her priorities in the last four years was restructuring the organizations’ board of directors and developing a three-year strategic plan. As a result of the changes, board giving has more than doubled, and 93 percent of clients were able to successfully transition to permanent housing.
In May, Tomechko said services were not being disrupted during the pandemic.
“We are continuing to care for those in need, in spite of the need to social distance,” she said. “Our unique setup of individual apartments and housing units provides private space for each family so they can safely follow stay-at-home orders. Our case managers remain in daily contact with everyone to make sure they have enough food and supplies and are helping them cope with the stress of our current uncertainty.
“We are also very focused on the 50 children residing with us, making sure they have the resources they need so they don’t fall behind their peers in their schoolwork. We anticipate our need for services will only increase as the economy begins to open again.”
But the organization has faced many challenges. Fundraising events were canceled or changed to virtual events. Volunteers have not been able to help with cleaning and resupplying apartments, and families were unable to move to permanent housing. The children living at the house struggled with learning in the virtual classroom.
Tomechko said, the organization secured funding to improve internet access and technology for all ages, and additional support programs have been developed for kids.
“Empowering my staff, supporting them in their endeavors, and working collaboratively with each other as a team along with community partners has helped us continue to provide our much-needed services.”
— Robin Tomechko