By John Lynds
Rachael Hennessey-Crowell, who has served as Crossroads Family Shelter’s executive Director since October 2015, said she has decided to leave her post as head of the transitional homeless shelter for area families.
Hennessey-Crowell, who recently gave birth to her first child, said the birth of her son helped her make the tough decision.
“It is with mixed feelings that I announce that I am transitioning from Crossroads Family Center as of Thursday, May 4,” said Hennessey-Crowell. “While on maternity leave, I decided that I would like to spend more time with my son than a role like this allows – a decision I am sure many can relate to. I have returned briefly to prepare things for whoever has the good fortune of succeeding me in this position, and have been doing my best to ensure a smooth transition.”
Hennessey-Crowell continued that it has been an honor to be at Crossroads, and for the opportunity to work with the community, staff and families.
“I have learned an incalculable amount in my time here, and am leaving overwhelmed by the commitment of our extended community to impacting the work we do here at Crossroads. Thank you for your assistance, and partnership,” she said. “Be assured that hiring efforts will proceed as quickly as possible.”
When Audrey Sivikas left as Director of Crossroads Family Shelter in East Boston in 2013, there was a huge void to be filled. After several interim directors that did not have the same impact as Sivikas, it seemed Crossroads had all been forgotten in the neighborhood until Hennessey-Crowell arrived.
Hennessey-Crowell worked to make the homeless shelter’s profile well known again in the community through outreach, legislative breakfasts and partnership with other Eastie organizations.
In a job that calls for being part advocate, part politician, part fundraiser, Crowell, like her predecessors,worked day and night in the community fighting for more opportunities and funding for homeless programs while bringing attention to the epidemic of homelessness facing Eastie and the rest of the city and state.
Hennessey-Crowell, a Natick native who graduated from Boston College in 2011 and later received a Master’s Degree and MBA from the school, had past experience in social work.
In 2015 Hennessey-Crowell landed in Eastie at Crossroads and began rebuilding a 31 year neighborhood institution where twenty seven families at any one time call Crossroads home.
Since its inception in 1985, Crossroads Family Shelter has become an oasis of hope—providing shelter for countless families in the area. Over the past two years Hennessey-Crowell’s commitment to the shelter’s cause heightened her profile as an important community activist.
Throughout her tenure, she has held several successful open houses and legislative breakfasts where local elected officials were invited to discuss legislation and budget issues that may affect funding to programs like Crossroads.
These events celebrated Crossroad’s work; provided testimony from current and former residents while raising much-needed funds; and raised awareness for the program.