SOUTHERN INDIANA — The Homeless Coalition of Southern Indiana has announced the resignation of director Keeley Stingel, effective Aug. 31.
According to a news release issued by the coalition Friday, Stingel will be taking on a "new role in community talent development," it reads, in part. She was hired as the coalition's second executive director in June 2017, following the creation of the organization in 2016.
In her time as director, Stingel has helped expand the organization's white flag shelter program, which served 70 people during the 2018-2019 winter season with a total of 1,500 visits since the start of the program, according to the release. She has also initiated the process of working toward a coordinated entry system for Southern Indiana and 13 surrounding regions.
"Keeley has been successful in achieving the goals we established together," Amy Burnette, president of the coalition's board of directors said, according to the release. "She has been an integral part of moving the coalition forward as we continue to work toward ending homelessness in Southern Indiana."
Stingel was unable to be reached by press time for comment on the resignation.
She said that an interim director will be named to continue uninterrupted operations, and that "plans are already underway to make sure the white flag shelter will be open this winter," she said. "We have wonderful staff, volunteers and community partners to thank for helping us provide shelter to anyone in need of a warm place to sleep during the coldest nights of the year."
The coalition is funded in part through the Jeffersonville and New Albany city councils; each provided $75,000 in 2015 for startup costs and have provided additional funding.
New Albany City Council member Dr. Al Knable said he was caught off guard by the announcement, because he had talked with her recently in her capacity as director.
"I was a little taken aback because I thought she was going to be there at least through this calendar year," he said.
He added that he has appreciated her leadership of the coalition since coming on.
"She did bring stability and greater organization to that body than they had had before," he said. "So I hope whoever steps into her shoes will carry on with the ... tighter organization and be committed to lowering the administrative burden over there."
Knable said that had been one of the council's concerns when the request came in early 2018 for more funding. Stingel had requested $75,000 as had been done in 2015, but the council ultimately voted to give the coalition $50,000, giving the other $25,000 to Haven House, the Jeffersonville homeless shelter.
He added that he's "committed to working with whoever [Stingel's] replacement is and with her organization to try to get people a pathway out of homelessness," he said. "It's important that they have shelter and food but in the long run, it's most important that people have a pathway out of that."
Board member Leslea Townsend Cronin said Stingel's work has been appreciated by members. The board is now in the process of finding an interim director, and Cronin said they have several people in mind. They hope to fill the spot as quickly as possible as they look for a permanent director.
"We're looking for somebody who can navigate all the players in the community, all the systems, as well as have the skill set to use to move us forward as far as financial resources, fundraising," she said.
"We really need somebody who has that mindset but who has a passion for the work that needs to be done."