After eight years as executive director, Paul Selden is retiring from Evanston-based Connections for the Homeless.

During his tenure, Selden transformed the agency from a long-term homeless shelter to a multi-service housing and homelessness prevention organization.

The agency more than doubled in size, responding to community needs during and after the recession. It also started employment and education programs to help people increase their income potential and gain greater financial stability.

Selden says he will continue to participate in the fight against homelessness, remaining involved in advocacy efforts to increase the amount of affordable housing available to those in need.

John Pfeiffer will replace Selden as executive director, effective Feb. 1. Pfeiffer, who has been the first deputy commissioner at the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services since 2011, said in a statement that he’s “eager to join the Connections family and build on the organization’s momentum to help more individuals and families find housing, stability and futures full of possibility.”


John Pfeiffer.

Pfeiffer previously served for seven years as the executive director and CEO of Inspiration Corporation, which provides job training, housing, and supportive services to 3,000 homeless and at-risk individuals a year. Pfeiffer has also held positions as director of individual philanthropy at Feeding America, director of operations for the City of New York’s Department of Homeless Services, a consultant in the Public Sector Risk & Advisory Practice at KPMG LLP, and as the director of operations for the Division of Adult Services at the City of New York’s Department of Homeless Services.

“John comes to us with a wonderful background, both in non-profit management and in homeless services,” said Abbey Fishman Romanek, president
of Connections’ board of directors. “Connections will miss Paul greatly, but we feel much better knowing that his successor is so well qualified for this challenging position.”

Connections will host an open house for the public to meet Pfeiffer on Thursday, Feb. 5, from 4 to 7 p.m., at Connections’ office at 2121 Dewey Ave.

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