Housing Partnership (HP) was formed in 1986 after a Palm Beach County Affordable Housing Task Force recommended that the county form a public-private partnership to address the need for affordable housing in the county. William Finley, Chair of the Task Force, took the initiative to form HP and was instrumental in hiring its first CEO, George Steele. Steele and Finley successfully secured funding for the first several years of operation, which consisted primarily of grants from the county and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The organization’s focus for the first five years was on public policy work and first-time homeownership for low and moderate income families, including housing production.
During the early 1990s a new CEO, John Corbett, developed a strategic vision to expand into other housing activities, most specifically multi-family rental apartments and housing for special needs. Through owning and managing apartments, HP began to recognize the need to provide other support services to families residing in those communities. Our growing experience in housing production and neighborhood revitalization was also teaching a similar lesson. The staff and board embraced the concept that the condition of the real estate in our neighborhoods was a reflection of the social and economic condition of the families living in the homes.
In 1996 Housing Partnership was honored to be named a chartered affiliate of the national NeighborWorks America, created and funded by the U.S. Congress to promote neighborhood revitalization and affordable housing. HP expanded community development efforts by operating community centers on the grounds of elementary schools in disenfranchised neighborhoods. This concept originated in New York and was brought to the county by the Children’s Services Council in 2002. Housing Partnership currently operates five of ten BRIDGES Centers in Palm Beach County and is viewed as a leader in this arena.
In 2001 the state asked Corbett if he would be willing to contact the board of a struggling children’s community mental health center, Parent-Child Center (PCC). Founded in 1979, PCC was created to address the community mental health needs of children and their families in Palm Beach County. In the 1980s and 1990s, PCC was the premier provider of behavioral health services for children and families throughout the county. Under the umbrella of Community Partnership Group, the two agencies formed a partnership, sharing operational and financial oversight.
Upon planning his retirement as CEO, Corbett recommended to the board of directors that he be succeeded in 2007 by Patrick McNamara, a member of the organization since 1999. Later rebranded "Community Partners," McNamara led the organization's gifted senior leadership team in serving the children, families, and communities of South Florida faithfully for ten successful years until accepting his current role as CEO of Palm Health Foundation.
Scott Hansel, a senior executive with more than 30 years of diverse leadership experience in both large and small corporations as well as start-up businesses, was selected by the Community Partners board of directors after an extensive nationwide search to take the role of CEO in June 2017. A passionate and communicative leader, Hansel is deeply engaged in Palm Beach County philanthropy and serves on the boards of several other nonprofit and leadership organizations throughout the area. In May 2019, CP rebranded as Community Partners of South Florida (CPSFL) and our work remains focused on supporting residents of Palm Beach County through a network of high-impact health, housing, and community services.
Under Hansel's leadership, and with the ongoing support of our generous funders and partners, CPSFL empowers residents to lead social change, improve quality of life, and build healthy communities. CPSFL is changing health, housing, and communities for generations to come by changing the odds today.