Our Program Leadership

Susanne M. Byrne, Executive Director

Susanne joined the York Street Project in her newest role on July 20, 2009, but she is no stranger to its programs.  With a one year hiatus, serving as the Homeless Planning Coordinator for Hudson County, Sue spent 10 years prior with The Project. She served as the Caseworker/Advocate for St. Joseph’s Home from 2000 to 2008 and as the Assistant to the Director of The Nurturing Place from 1998-2000.  Her prior experience includes work in a public relations firm and writing for weekly newspapers.

Susanne holds a Masters in Administrative Science degree from Fairleigh Dickinson in Teaneck, New Jersey and a BA degree with a major in English and a concentration in Political Science from St. Michael’s College in Vermont. Upon graduation, she volunteered as an English teacher in Costa Rica, working as part of the founding team to develop curriculum and implement their national program to teach basic English to Red Cross workers and volunteers.

Currently, she is member of the Hudson County Human Services Advisory Council, Hudson County Alliance to End Homelessness, the Hudson County Affordable Housing Coalition, the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, and the Antipoverty Network of New Jersey. Within these groups, she serves on a variety of Executive Boards and sub-committees advocating for the poor.


Gloria Acosta-Nelson, MSW, Director of Housing

Gloria joined the York Street Project in March of 2012 as the Director of St. Joseph’s Home. She was the third individual – and first lay person – to hold this position since the program opened. As of 2017, Gloria now oversees all on-site and off-site housing programs of York Street Project, which are St. Joseph’s Home, St. Mary’s Residence, and York Street Project’s Rapid Rehousing Program.  She brings over sixteen years experience working with the poor and marginalized, and previously served as the Director of Support Services within the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice. Gloria holds a Masters in Social Work from New York University and a Bachelors in Criminal Justice from Seton Hall University. She is an active member of the Hudson County Alliance to End Homelessness.


Ms. Victoria Hayes, Director of Education

Victoria Hayes is no stranger to the York Street Project. In 2013, Ms. Hayes joined Kenmare High School and served as an English Teacher for 2 years. After the retirement of Sister Barbara, Founding Member of the York Street Project and former Director for the Nurturing Place, Ms. Hayes took over as the Program Director for the Nurturing Place.  In 2017, Ms. Hayes began her role as the Director of Education for both Kenmare High School and The Nurturing Place.

Ms. Hayes more than 30 years experience as a teacher and principal. Ms. Hayes earned her B.A. in Education from Jersey City State College (NJCU) and her M.A. in Administration and Supervision from Saint Peter’s University.  She has earned certifications as both a teacher and principal.


Jennifer S. Mehr, csjp-a, Director of Development

With 25 years of fundraising experience, Jennifer has served more than half of those as the Director of Development for The Project. Jennifer served in this capacity from 2000-2012 and resumed her role in July 2016. During the four-year hiatus, she worked as the Director of Development for New Jersey SEEDS and Director of Institutional Advancement for Chatham Day School. Prior to her first tenure with YSP, she served as Vice President for Financial Development at The Advertising Council in New York City where she was awarded the Eleanor Hangley Award for outstanding contribution to the mission by an under-30 employee, and as Director of Programs and Media Relations for the Employment Policy Foundation in Washington, DC.

Jennifer is an active member of her community, currently serving on the Board of Directors for Cranford Family Care (Chair, Public Relations) and Cranford Fund for Educational Excellence (Vice Chair and Co-Chair, Fundraising) as well as volunteering where needed with her church and children’s schools and clubs. Jennifer, along with her husband, is an Associate member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, the founding order of the York Street Project. She serves on the Resources for Mission subcommittee for the CSJP community.

Jennifer earned her B.A. in Communication from Villanova University and has taken fundraising certificate and graduate courses at Seton Hall University and New York University. Jennifer has been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of New Jersey since 1999. She lives in her hometown of Cranford, New Jersey with her husband, three children, and father.