On June 7, 2016, Somerset County lost a force that was in the business of saving lives. Renee Farrell was a homeless advocate extraordinaire. She served as executive director of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Somerset County for the last fifteen years.
A woman of great empathy, humor and love, she shaped a homeless emergency shelter into a continuum of care. Through her insight, she created Sunrise House and a Phase 2 program, allowing clients to assume the responsibilities of running a home— paying rent and utilities. As families moved through the phases, they emerged fully independent. She also forged a relationship with the Somerset County YMCA that provided child care for the youngest of her charges.
To quote a Somerset County Social Services employee, “We are better people for having known her.”