SJC Professor Named Local Hero

January 07, 2010

PATCHOGUE, NY JANUARY 8, 2010 St. Josephs College is pleased to announce that Peter Barnett, adjunct professor in the Department of Religious Studies, was recognized as a Local Hero by Bank of America at the fifth annual Neighborhood Initiative Awards Celebration, which was held at the Childrens Museum on November 12, 2009. The award acknowledged Mr. Barnetts longstanding commitment to helping the homeless on Long Island.

Mr. Barnett has been a leader in the fight to end homelessness on Long Island for almost three decades. Awarded $5,000 by Bank of America to donate to the charity of his choice, he selected the Wyandanch Homes and Property Development Corporation (WHPDC) as its recipient. Mr. Barnett serves as the executive director of WHPDC, a not-for-profit organization created in 1985 to help alleviate a severe housing shortage for economically disadvantaged families living in Wyandanch and other overpopulated Suffolk County communities. WHPDC has built and renovated 29 houses for homeless families to date. 

"I was very humbled to receive the award, said Mr. Barnett. "Ive been doing this for 27 years and I really enjoy helping the homeless. I hope that more people will begin to realize we all need to do more to help the poor on Long Island, especially now.

Along with his work for WHPDC, Mr. Barnett belongs to several other organizations addressing homelessness on Long Island. He co-founded the Nassau-Suffolk Coalition for the Homeless, which has raised over $100 million to create supportive housing for the homeless population on Long Island over the past 20 years. He also serves as an appointee to the Suffolk County Legislatures Welfare to Work Commission, working to redevelop welfare policies.

The Local Hero Award is part of Bank of Americas Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, a philanthropic program, which recognizes, supports and rewards community-based organizations, local heroes and student leaders working to improve their communities. The organization works with local leaders to identify critical issues and individuals working to alleviate those problems.  

Mr. Barnett has been a dedicated member of the SJC faculty for over two decades. He currently teaches courses in the Religious Studies Department.