Deborah Drennan

Executive Director at Freedom House

April 19, 2017

Freedom House: A Place for New Beginnings

About the speaker

Deborah Drennan, Executive Director at Freedom House has a long history working for social justice.

Deb feels she has found her true calling at Freedom House. It was founded in 1983 as a temporary shelter for those seeking legal asylum in the U.S. from political persecution in other countries. At any given time, at least 12 countries are represented in Freedom House in Detroit. Residents come from all backgrounds and faiths. Freedom House is a micro-global community supporting each other’s journey through loss and tremendous personal challenge and, ultimately toward hope and joy.

Residents from countries where histories haven’t known peace, live together, supporting and respecting one another. This multicultural environment fosters residents’ ability to set aside their differences, appreciate their diversity, and celebrate together when their common goal of freedom is achieved.

Deb believes that her previous experience has well prepared her for peace-building at Freedom House. With more than 35 years in non-profit experience, Deb has helped thousands of people rekindle their spirits and renew their purpose. Prior to joining Freedom House in 2006, Deb worked at Women ARISE, a reentry program in Detroit, for women involved in the criminal justice system. Meeting women in correctional facilities, their houses, or at the Women ARISE site, Deb worked with women, their families and communities, teaching skills and providing outreach for these families to have a fresh start.

Working as the transitional housing program director and community relations/intake coordinator at the Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS), also in Detroit, Deb was the gateway for many homeless individuals and families to find safe affordable housing with the assistance needed to become economically self-sufficient.

The meaning that Deb has found at Freedom House inspires her to continue advocacy for systemic change that more fully recognizes the rights of all people.

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