Elmira Louise Leto

Key West

Elmira L. Leto of Key West is the founder and CEO of Samuel’s House, Inc., the umbrella agency of two permanent supportive housing units, Kathy’s Hope and Casa de Meredith, and Mary Spottswood Women’s Center, Monroe County’s only emergency shelter for homeless women and children.  Samuel’s House embraces all without question and provides a second chance to displaced women, women and men with children and intact families. She is a founding member of the Southernmost Homeless Assistance League and the Monroe County Continuum of Care, where she has been an active participant and officer on the Board of Directors since 1999. Elmira is a wonderful role model for the community, especially young women. Her faith and perseverance in addressing local homeless and social issues, and her advocacy efforts on behalf of women, children, and families have made such a difference in the lives of many families faced with desperate and sometimes life-threatening situations of domestic violence. Her philosophy and mission is “We must educate the public that homelessness is not always by choice or because of drugs, but that poverty due to lack of education, skills for employment and affordable housing show a higher percentage of reasons for homelessness. We must provide the tools to individuals so that they can become empowered to be productive members of society.”