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Father Joe Retiring


Father Joe Carroll has been the face of homeless services in San Diego for decades. He will step down as president of Father Joe’s Villages on April 12, his 70th birthday.

— Father Joe Carroll said he no longer has the energy or strength needed to perform the 12-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week job of running Father Joe’s Villages. Instead he’ll devote time to fundraising for the organization.

Carroll began providing homeless services 28 years ago, when services were more fractured, he said. He remembers challenging his staff to change that.

“(I said) let’s develop a one-stop shopping approach, so that when a homeless person comes in we don’t have to refer them anywhere," he said. "If they need medical care, it should be in our building, if they need dental care, it should be in our building. If they need counseling, addiction, education, meals -- it all should be self-contained. And that’s pretty much what’s happened in the industry.”

Carroll took heat for challenging conventional wisdom over the years, said Peter Callstrom, director of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless.

“He’s been a real innovative person in finding the most effective and lasting services that change people’s lives," Callstrom said. "So, the fact that he’ll stay in the mix in a different way is fantastic.”

Father Joe’s Villages has grown into one of the region’s largest non-profits. The organization’s total 2009 revenues were about $40 million.

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