The Gulf Coast Partnership is excited to announce the arrival of Kelly Hunter filling in the role of Director of Coordinated Services for the continuum of care. Kelly will be overseeing the implementation of coordinated entry for Charlotte County. Kelly was born in Anderson, Indiana and grew up in Noblesville until the age of 11, when her family moved to Charlotte County to be near her maternal grandparents. A born advocate for those without a voice, Kelly knew early on in life that she wanted to make a positive impact on the lives of others. In fourth grade, she requested that her elementary school administration allow her to give up recess to volunteer with the mentally and physically challenged children who also attended her school; she continued to do this daily for the next couple of years. By fifth grade she was voted “Most Likely” to take over for Dear Abby, as her friends would always come to her for advice. Kelly’s passion for advocacy and volunteer work did not end once she moved to Florida. Kelly began volunteering throughout Charlotte County with various organizations, community projects and again became her peers “go to” for advice and guidance. Following graduation from Port Charlotte High School in 1994, Kelly moved to Orange County, California in search of the young woman she was to become. Things weren’t so sunny once she arrived at the bus station in Los Angeles, where she was informed that her luggage had been lost and wouldn’t arrive for 3 days. Kelly found herself stranded in the heart of Skid Row and it was there that her life was forever changed. As she looked around, she began to feel as if she were in the middle of a movie; surrounded by the homeless, mentally ill, prostitutes and drug addicts, she realized she had led a very blessed but sheltered life and needed to do something. Kelly spent the next three days getting to know the names and stories of many of these individuals and was inspired to begin volunteering at the Union Mission in downtown LA. In 1998, Kelly moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where she continued her efforts to bring awareness and change to the surmounting issues many individuals and families are faced with every day. Kelly returned to Charlotte County in 2003 with her husband and three children and was surprised to see that people were homeless in this community, as this wasn’t the case when she left 9 years prior. Kelly has sense been working to educate community members about the lasting effects of homelessness in hopes that more residents and organizations will get involved in the fight to prevent and end homelessness in Charlotte County. Kelly received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2011 and was recruited by the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition where she joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program, becoming the Coordinator for the Faces of Homelessness Speaker’s Bureau. For the last three years, Kelly has worked at Charlotte Behavioral Health Care as a Targeted Case Manager for adults with mental health and substance use disorders. Kelly is a Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager with more than 24 years experience working with our nation’s most vulnerable populations. Kelly possesses the knowledge, skills and compassion needed to inspire our community to work together in preventing and ending homelessness.