Community Hope: Helping veterans and individuals in need, one person, one family at a time

A beacon of hope.

That is what Community Hope has offered New Jerseyans since its inception in 1985.

“We always want to be that beacon of hope,” CEO Carmine V. Deo said about the Parsippany-based nonprofit. “Because, when people have hope, anything is possible.”

Deo said the mission of Community Hope is to help those in the Garden State who face poverty, homelessness, mental health challenges and substance abuse disorders.

“We connect individuals and families in need with life-changing support, service and housing that will foster their independence and resiliency and help them lead their best lives,” said Deo, who emphasized that Community Hope is a local organization and operates that way.

“We bring services to the neighborhoods we serve, one person at a time, one family at a time,” Deo said. “We believe that tangible programs, services and housing brings hope to our communities. This hope can fuel positive change and better futures.”

While maintaining its local focus, Community Hope has grown to where it now serves more than 1,000 individuals and families each year — many of them U.S. military veterans.

Community Hope helps homeless veterans cope with post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression and addiction (the National Veterans’ Administration estimates 90% of homeless vets suffer from substance use).

“Supporting veterans and addressing serious mental health illness is foundational for us,” said Deo.

Community Hope provides transitional housing for homeless veterans with mental illness and has done so for 15 years. In that time, it has helped more than 6,000 homeless veterans and their family members.

Recently, Community Hope developed a Women Veterans Housing Program in partnership with Family Promise. This initiative provides affordable housing in a women-only neighborhood of homes in Morris County and is focused on meeting the unique needs of women veterans.

To raise funds for its veteran support services, Community Hope will host Vet Fest 2024 from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at Dave Waks Memorial Park, 39 Barbour Pond Road, Wayne. Free parking will be available adjacent to the park.

Vet Fest is one of the largest music and food truck festivals in the state. Since its inception, the festival has raised more than $100,000 for veterans, with 83 cents of each dollar going directly to Community Hope’s programs and services.

Last year’s Vet Fest drew more than 1,500 people, about a 60% increase from the year prior. Deo hopes this growth trend will continue.

“Recognizing the pressing need for expanded mental health services, especially for individuals with serious mental illness, underscores the vital importance of community support for our efforts,” said Deo.

Vet Fest 2024 will feature six era and tribute bands performing classic hits from the 1970s and ’80s, along with 10 food trucks, a Biergarten and wine selection from Four Sisters Winery.

For additional details, tickets and sponsorship opportunities still available for Vet Fest 2024, go to or contact Peggy Banko, development director, at 973-463-9600, ext. 303.

Watch for ROI-NJ’s Military Matters e-newsletter, coming soon!