Thursday, January 16
Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness
Dr. Nunez will explore how the face of poverty and homelessness has evolved over the last 40 years, and the ways in which it has it stayed the same.
Tucker-Sorini will deliver brief remarks.
Williams will examine which neighborhoods in America offer children the best chance to rise out of poverty and the local dynamics at play.
Friday, January 17
Sesame Street in Communities
Sesame in Communities and their partners will discuss the development of new resources that focus on traumatic experiences such as family homelessness, the opioid crisis, foster care, and food insecurity and the decision to explore the topic of family homelessness through their character Lily.
Barbara Duffield, SchoolHouse Connection
John Greenwood, Homes for the Homeless
Kama Einhorn, Sesame Workshop
La Shawn Hye, Project Hope Alliance
Renée Wilson-Simmons, DrPH, ACE Awareness Foundation
Chapin Hall, University of Chicago
Morton will discuss the findings of the Voices of Youth Count initiative.
A B C D E F G H J K L M N O P R S T U V W Y
Azalea Acuña is the Program Coordinator at La Casa Norte, coordinating the Rapid Rehousing and Palante Permanent Supportive Housing programs including La Casa Norte’s new Pierce Housing and Community Center development that serves youth and families. She began her career at La Casa Norte in 2013 as a Supportive Housing Case Manager and was promoted to her current role three and a half years later. Ms. Acuña has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago.
Ron Allen is the Director of Community Services at Drueding Center, providing program oversight to After Care Services, the Blueprint to End Homelessness case management program, and a permanent supportive housing program for families with documented disabilities called New Neighbors. He is also responsible for quality assurance and data reporting. Mr. Allen has a Master’s in Health Administration from St. Joseph’s University.
Dona Anderson is the Deputy Executive Director at the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, overseeing programs, operations, and communications. She also coordinates the Institute’s internal data collection and evaluation efforts and represents the Institute at community and university events. Prior to her work at the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, she was the Director at the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness and the Director of Programs and Development at Homes for the Homeless. Ms. Anderson has a bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College and a Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University.
Dr. Cynthia Arndell
Dr. Cynthia Arndell is the Executive Medical Director of Care Management and Home Healthcare at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, developing and implementing evidence-based medical school curriculum that reinforces social accountability through multidisciplinary service-learning opportunities. For the past 38 years, Dr. Arndell has been working as a registered nurse, physician, and community volunteer caring for society’s most vulnerable populations, including those experiencing homelessness. Additionally, Dr. Arndell participated in two yearlong fellowships in leadership through the national Alpha Omega Alpha Physician’s Honor Society and American Essential Hospitals Organization. Dr. Arndell received a Bachelor’s in Nursing from the University of New Mexico and a Doctor of Medicine from the University of New Mexico.
Matthew Atwell is the Senior Research and Policy Analyst at Civic, conducting data analysis and research on the education gap, civic health, social mobility, and ocean conservation. He has co-authored numerous reports for Civic, including Building a Grad Nation, Hidden in Plain Sight, Our Opportunity Nation, and the Great American High School Campaign, and was the lead author of Civic Deserts: America’s Civic Health Challenge. Before working at Civic, Matthew worked for a member of the European Parliament in Belgium. Mr. Atwell has a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Economics from St. Joseph’s University and a Master’s in Applied Economics from George Washington University.
Cara Baldari is the Vice President of Family Economics, Housing and Homelessness at First Focus, leading the U.S. Child Poverty Action Group’s national strategy to reduce child poverty in the United States by streamlining the federal definition of homelessness, better coordinating homeless assistance services with education and child welfare services, and supporting households with children who are facing eviction. Before coming to First Focus, she provided direct legal representation for low-income clients in landlord tenant disputes in Pittsburgh, PA. Ms. Baldari received a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh.
Kate Barrand is the President & CEO of Horizons for Homeless Children, the only organization in Massachusetts that exclusively serves homeless children and families. Before coming to Horizons for Homeless Children, Kate was the founder and CMO of Clareon Corporation and was a strategic planner at BankBoston. Ms. Barrand has a Master’s in Business Administration from Boston University and a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Development from Tufts University.
Rachel Barth is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH), researching the intersections between health, education, and homelessness using data from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Before joining ICPH, Rachel served as a Research Technician for Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies. Ms. Barth has a Master’s in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s in Social Relations and Policy from Michigan State.
Marsha Basloe is the President of Child Care Services Association. Before working at Child Care Services Association, Marsha was senior adviser for the Office of Early Childhood Development at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) where she worked closely with the Office of Head Start and the Office of Child Care and the Interagency Workgroup on Family Homelessness on initiatives targeted to young children and families. Prior to her work with ACF, she was the executive director of Durham’s Partnership for Children.
Laura Bass is the Director of Programs at Facing Forward to End Homelessness, managing and developing programs for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. She is also a Field Consultant for the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Ms. Bass has a Master’s in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.
Elsa Bermudez is a Program Manager and Senior Instructor at Writopia Lab, running Writopia Lab’s on-site scholarship program, Write to Recognition, as well as several off-site partnership programs. She studied improv and sketch comedy writing at Upright Citizens Brigade and published her short story, Agency, in H.O.W. Journal’s Issue 11. She also writes for Magnet Theater’s house sketch team, House Party, and writes, directs, performs, and produces a sketch comedy show, I Feel Funny. Ms. Bermudez has a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Providence College and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in Fiction from the New School.
Joann Bjornson is the Executive Director of Family Promise of Morris County, NJ, directing the operations of the agency as well as building and maintaining infrastructure and promoting growth in order to provide shelter, housing, and outreach services to families experiencing homelessness in the county. She also provided leadership to the team that created the Morris County Coordinated Entry System, participated in the Morris County Strategic Plan, served on the Women’s Advisory Committee to the Freeholders and the Continuum of Care Executive Committee, and has developed numerous housing first and harm reduction programs in Morris County. Before joining Family Promise, Joann was a homelessness advocate in Morris County for fourteen years. Ms. Bjornson has a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Bloomfield College, a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University, and is a licensed social worker (LSW).
Dona Bolt is the McKinney-Vento State Coordinator at the Oregon Department of Education. She has excelled in this position since 1987, earning her Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth as well as the Oregon Coalition on Housing and Homelessness. Ms. Bolt has a bachelor’s from Lewis & Clark College and a Certificate of Public Administration from Willamette University.
Rachael Borné is the Career Center Manager at Our House, overseeing all Career Center programs and operations. She also supervises a team of five full-time staff members and seven AmeriCorps National Service Members. Before working in her role as Career Center Manager, Rachael worked as the Reentry Program Manager at Our House. Ms. Borné received a Bachelor’s in Anthropology from Vassar College and completed a Fulbright Fellowship in Argentina.
Guy Bowling is the Workforce Development Manager of the FATHER Project at Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota, overseeing the successful implementation of three federally funded grants as well as working with low-income, non-custodial, never married fathers and their families in culturally specific, multi-racial, multi-ethnic and rural communities. He is also a nationally recognized fatherhood leader and speaker and annually coordinates the Festival of Fathers & Families event. Mr. Bowling was selected as a fellow of the first cohort of the National Practitioners Leadership Institute through the Center for Urban Families and also received an invitation to the White House Conference Center.
Ken Bradford is the Development Director for Homestretch, leading the development and implementation of a variety of strategies to achieve the organization’s fundraising goals in order to empower homeless families to secure permanent housing and attain the knowledge, skills and hope they need to achieve self-sufficiency. Before working at Homestretch, Ken completed a distinguished 20-year career as a Coast Guard officer. He also led and managed the resource development and partnership building activities of nonprofit organizations, including the Society of St. Andrew, BreakPoint, and FACETS. Mr. Bradford holds a Master’s in Public Administration from George Mason University.
Nancy Brener, PhD
Nancy Brener, PhD., is a Senior Health Scientist in the Division of Adolescent and School Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overseeing survey operations for both the School Health Profiles and the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. She is the author of more than 100 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles and government reports, in the areas of survey methods, adolescent health-risk behaviors, and school health policies and practices. Dr. Brener received her Doctorate in Social Psychology from Princeton University.
Cassandra Brooks is the Assistant Director of Education for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), overseeing CHA’s college access programs with City Colleges of Chicago and directing strategic efforts to increase academic achievement for youth and adults living in Chicago’s public housing. Prior to working for the Chicago Housing Authority, Cassandra was an education-focused program manager for foundations, non-profits, and for-profit entities. Ms. Brooks received a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha.
LaJuan Brooks is an Administrative Assistant at Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, connecting people experiencing homelessness to the assistance and resources that best fit their need as well as facilitating connections between the organization’s volunteers and clients and providing general administrative support. Prior to joining Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless in 2007, LaJuan was a member of the US Army. Mr. Brooks also assisted the Fair Budget Coalition and was an advocate for the homeless population in Washington, DC.
Cathey Brown is the Director of the Trans4m Center, facilitating trainings for professionals based upon curriculum of her own design called The Curriculum Based Support Group (CBSG®) Program. Before Cathey became Director of the Trans4m Center, she founded and was the former CEO of Rainbow Days, Inc. Ms. Brown is a certified facilitator and trainer in numerous national programs and is a Frances Hesselbein Community Innovation Fellow.
Kimberly Caldwell is a Program Manager at A Child’s Place, developing and leading programs that build resilience and self-determination in children and families experiencing homelessness in Charlotte, NC. For the past 15 years, Kimberly has worked in urban ministry, educational empowerment and social work. Ms. Caldwell has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Johnson C. Smith University and a Master’s in Leadership and Urban Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Joe Camarillo is a Police Officer with the San Leandro Police Department Bicycle Patrol Unit, protecting and serving the community as a downtown patrolman, homeless liaison, mental health liaison, and hostage negotiator. As a member of the San Leandro Homeless Compact, he regularly leads homeless outreach efforts in conjunction with partners from the compact and outreach teams from local community-based organizations.
James P. Canfield, PhD
James P. Canfield, PhD is a national award-winning educator and an expert on childhood and family homelessness. He has written the book, School-based Practice with Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness and published numerous articles on the topic. Dr. Canfield has presented nationwide on his efforts evaluating programs designed to address the impact of experiencing homelessness. He is active in the nonprofit community that serves these children and families through establishing evaluation infrastructure and chairing a board for an agency that directly serves children experiencing homelessness.
Carlos T. Carter
Carlos T. Carter is the Executive Director of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund. Prior to working at Homeless Children’s Education Fund, he was a consultant for Holy Family Institute/Holy Family Academy and was a vice president in the banking industry for more than fifteen years. Mr. Carter received an associate’s degree from Community College of Allegheny County, a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master of Business Administration from Robert Morris University.
Christine Carter-Love is the Executive Director of Family Promise of Monmouth County, NJ. Prior to working for Family Promise, Christine was the Executive Director of Against All Odds Foundation and launched a consulting firm to assist various organizations with fundraising, capacity building, program development, and expansion. Her dedication to social service stems from her experiences as a young person surviving abuse, neglect, and homelessness after losing both parents to substance abuse and AIDS. Ms. Carter-Love has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Norfolk State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Northeastern University.
Michael Chapman is Director of Afterschool and Recreation at Saratoga Family Residence, a family homeless shelter operated by Homes for the Homeless (HFH). Michael manages and develops educational clubs, activities, and recreation programming for families experiencing homelessness. Prior to his role at HFH, Michael spent 10 years working in homeless outreach for Goddard Riverside Community Center, ultimately assuming the role of Beacon Program Director. He previously worked as a Protective Service Caseworker for ACS. Michael received a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Rhode Island College and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Organizational Leadership from Nyack College.
Mary Cheng is Director of Child Development Services at the Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. (CPC), overseeing the agency’s 6 early childhood centers as well as 11 school-age programs. She is also a Board member of CSA’s Asian American Association (A3). Prior to working as the Director of Child Development Services, Mary taught at Chung Pak Early Childhood Center and Directed CPC’s Little Star of Broome Street Early Childhood Center. Ms. Cheng has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from City College of New York and a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College.
Rachel Cohen is a Freelance Reporter based in Washington, D.C., covering local and national politics and policy as well as housing and homelessness issues. She has written for a variety of outlets including City Lab, Next City, Washington City Paper, and The American Prospect.
Julio Colon is a former resident of Prospect Family Residence, a family shelter operated by HFH. As a child, Julio spent several summers as a camper at HFH Summer Camps, a sleepaway camp for children experiencing homelessness in New York City, and also participated in a teen leadership program offered by the camp. In 2019, Julio worked as a Camp Recruiter for HFH Summer Camps, conducting information sessions for families and shelter providers with eligible children and assisting with the camper application process. He previously worked as a General Counselor for HFH Summer Camps. Julio is currently working towards a BA in Computer Science at Lehman College.
Sean P. Corcoran, PhD
Sean P. Corcoran is an Associate Professor of Education and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University, affiliating his research with the Research Alliance for New York City Schools and The Tennessee Education Research Alliance. He also serves on the editorial boards of the journals Education Finance & Policy, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, the American Educational Research Journal, and Sociology of Education as well as serves on the board of directors of the National Education Association Foundation. Previously, he was an Associate Professor of Economics and Education Policy at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Dr. Corcoran has a Doctorate in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Cindy Crone is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science (UAMS) College of Public Health, managing a wide range of research projects that focus primarily on public health. Prior to her employment at UAMS College of Public Health, Cindy was Executive Director of a nationally recognized program that served families struggling with mental health challenges. Ms. Crone is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and holds a Master of Nursing Science from the University of Arkansas.
Miguel is a BSW student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He received the Schoolhouse Connection scholarship in 2018 and has since been engaging in powerful advocacy for students experiencing homelessness. Most recently, Miguel was a speaker at a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill regarding the needs of students experiencing homelessness. Miguel uses his powerful story of youth homelessness to engage and teach audiences about the needs and perspectives of students. His hope is to continue advocating for and serving vulnerable populations as he begins his social work career.
J.J. Cutuli, PhD
J. J. Cutuli, PhD., is a Senior Research Scientist at Nemours Children’s Health System, researching the developmental processes of resilience for children, youth, and families who experience high levels of adversity, such as homelessness, abuse, and poverty. In particular, he focuses on protective factors that are common in the lives of individuals who thrive despite their experiences with adversity and the processes through which those factors result in positive outcomes. Dr. Cutuli received his Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and his Doctorate in Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Science from the University of Minnesota.
Denise Fitzgerald Danyow
Denise Fitzgerald Danyow is the Director of Operations at the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS). Before working at COTS, Denise was the Director of Finance and Operations at Lund Family center as well as trustee and chairperson of the boards of the Charlotte Library and Lund Family Center. Ms. Danyow has a Bachelor’s in Economics from Boston College and a Master’s in Business Administration from Boston University.
Lorraine Davis is the Founder, President, and CEO of the Native American Development Center (NADC) and NATIVE, INC., bringing a culturally responsive model and platform to community development that enhances Native Americans’ capabilities to improve their lives for themselves and their families. Lorraine Davis is a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, one of the five recognized tribes of North Dakota, and has experienced many traumatic lived experiences common amongst Native Americans who transition from a reservation and into an urban area. Ms. Davis is pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership and administration.
Carmela J. DeCandia, PhD
Carmela J. DeCandia, PhD, is the Owner and President of Artemis Associates, LLC, providing training and consultation on trauma-informed and family-centered practice to organizations that serve children and families. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology (CDEP) at Boston College Graduate School. Since 2008, Carmela has maintained a clinical practice that specializes in neurodevelopmental and psychological testing of children. Dr. DeCandia is a licensed child psychologist and received a Doctorate in Psychology from Antioch University New England.
Rebecca Derenge is a Coordinator at the Office of Federal Programs, implementing McKinney-Vento law by working with county assistance director and homeless liaisons in identifying and providing services to homeless children as well as interpreting state policy and resolving state disputes on matters related to attendance. She also manages and coordinates Neglected and Delinquent Services. Prior to working for the Office of Federal Programs, Ms. Derenge worked at the Kentucky Department of Education. Ms. Derenge has a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Kentucky, a Master’s in Education from the University of Kentucky, and an ABD in Education from the University of Kentucky.
Amanda Dolan is the National Service Coordinator at Our House, providing professional development, training, and support to national service members and their supervisors at Our House and Our House’s sub-sites as well as maintaining partnerships with potential Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) sub-sites. They are also the Chapter Leader for the AmeriCorps Alums Little Rock Chapter. Prior to their role as National Service Coordinator, Amanda was a Housing Case Manager and a member of AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps. Mx. Dolan has a Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Rhode Island.
Lisa Dolan is the Lead School Social Worker for Spotsylvania County Public Schools, supporting vulnerable populations in school settings through trauma informed practice. She has worked with Spotsylvania County Public Schools for over twenty years. Ms. Dolan is certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is a licensed clinical social worker.
Rosie supports the C4 Innovations’ Research and Evaluation team across a number of projects exploring the intersection of housing and homelessness with racial inequities, family health and wellness, and child development. In addition, Rosie contributes to research on innovative tools for substance use prevention, early intervention, and recovery. She is passionate about youth engagement and bringing historically marginalized voices to the table. Rosie received a B.A. and M.A in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire.
Jeanette Dong is the Director of Recreation and Human Services for the City of San Leandro. She is also on the California Board of Registered Nursing. Prior to working as Director of Recreation and Human Services, Jeanette was the Associate Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development and Advancement and was on the Public Health Advisory Committee five years. Ms. Dong has a bachelor’s from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University, and was both a Coro Foundation Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow.
Brenda Dowdy is the Homeless Education Project Manager at the Alliance for Education Branch of San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS), ensuring that children and families in San Bernardino County receive the resources they need to attain an education and become self-sufficient. She has been employed in this role for the past nineteen years. Brenda has previously received a NAEHCY Outstanding Individual Working in a Program Award.
Sherlonda Dozier is a Housing Counselor at Drueding Center, locating housing opportunities and serving as a liaison with landlords to ensure quality housing opportunities. She also serves as a housing advocate and assists with managing the housing assistance program. Ms. Dozier holds a Master’s in Leadership from Grand Canyon University.
Jennifer Drake is the Director of Family and Community Engagement at Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA), working with teaching tools made by the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement to help professionals better support children and families experiencing homelessness. Before joining CCAoA, Jennifer worked in a regional Child Care Resource and Referral Agency for fifteen years. Ms. Drake has a master’s in public administration.
Barbara Duffield is the Executive Director of SchoolHouse Connection, leading a national organization that works to overcome homelessness through education. Prior to her employment with SchoolHouse Connection, she served as Director of Policy and Programs at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) for thirteen years. She also spent nine years as the Director of Education for the National Coalition for the Homeless. Ms. Duffield holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Michigan.
Christina Dukes is the Federal Liaison at the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), representing NCHE and the field of homeless education in federal interagency discussions on the role of education in preventing and ending youth and family homelessness. She also serves as NCHE’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) task lead. Ms. Dukes holds a Bachelor’s in Spanish from Tulane University and a Master’s in Latin American Studies from Vanderbilt University.
Paul Durham is a Manager for the Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program at San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS), working with school district personnel, students, caregivers, foster parents, and numerous community partners to provide services to the Desert/Mountain region. His own experiences as a former homeless and foster youth help him connect with youth to mentor them to realize their hopes and dreams. Mr. Durham has a master’s in school administration and a master’s in special education.
Claas Ehlers is the CEO of Family Promise, implementing innovative strategies to empower families, deepening and broadening existing services, and increasing the participation of volunteers outside the faith community. He also frequently presents on the issues of family homelessness and volunteer engagement as well as serves on the Community Advisory Group for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Advisory Board for Sesame Street in Communities. Prior to attaining his role as CEO, Claas was the Director of Affiliate Development, the Director of Affiliate Services, and the President of Family Promise. He has also worked in video production, publishing, business development, advertising, and teaching English as an adjunct professor at two local community colleges. Mr. Ehlers has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television from New York University.
As Senior Content Manager for Sesame Workshop’s U.S. Social Impact group, Kama Einhorn develops multimedia outreach materials for children, parents, and providers. Prior to joining the Workshop, she wrote and edited early childhood teaching resources for Scholastic. She holds a master’s degree in education from University of California at Berkeley.
Danielle Emery is the People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) Director at Urban Resource Institute (URI), directing the day-to-day operations of PALS at URI’s domestic violence shelters and advocating for co-living programs that keep people and pets together in moments of crisis. Before working at URI, Danielle oversaw admissions and foster programs at the ASPCA Adoption Center. She also was responsible for programmatic aspects of New York University’s Center on Violence and Recovery. Ms. Emery holds a Bachelor’s in English from Tufts University and a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University.
Donald English is the Child Welfare & Attendance (CWA) Program Manager for San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS). Prior to his current job as CWA Program Manager, he served in various other roles at SBCSS including Community Day School Principal, Independent Study Program Principal, and Homeless Liaison.
Jennifer Erb-Downward is a Senior Research Associate at University of Michigan Poverty Solutions, focusing on the impact homelessness has upon on the education and health of families, children, and youth, as well as ways to leverage data to improve homelessness programs and policies. Before working at University of Michigan Poverty Solutions, Jennifer was Principal Policy Analyst at the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness. Ms. Erb-Downward holds a Master of Public Health from New York University.
Selcuk Eren, PhD
Selcuk Eren, PhD, is a Senior Economist at the Office of the New York City Comptroller, conducting research on many economic issues including homelessness reduction initiatives, affordable housing, New York City’s digital divide, and the impact of home-sharing websites on the rental market. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Previously, Selcuk worked as a Supervising Analyst at the New York City Office of Management and Budget, a Research Scholar at Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, and was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Hamilton College. Dr. Eren holds a Doctorate in Economics from Stony Brook University.
Thomas W. Evans
Thomas W. Evans is the Young Adult Services Coordinator at Family Scholar House, Inc., coordinating directly with colleges, universities, and apprenticeship programs to provide educational opportunities that offer a path to self-sufficiency and stability for low income families and individuals.
Michael Fahy is the Administrator of the Saratoga Family Residence where he has operational oversight of the 255 unit family shelter. For the past eight years, he has directly overseen the Family Services Department, Afterschool and Recreation Department, Early Childhood Learning Center, Safety Department and the Facilities Department. Fahy spent most of his career in law enforcement, beginning in Washington DC and ending up in New York. Post-retirement, he was the Assistant Director of Training at the Thomas Shortman Training Fund for SEIU Local 32 BJ before becoming the Director of Security at Saratoga. Fahy has spent the better part of his adult life in service to others, and he loves that his current position at the Saratoga Family Residence allows him to continue that service.
Christopher Fay is the Executive Director of Homestretch. Prior to working at Homestretch, Christopher was Director for Delancey Street Replication at the Milton Eisenhower Foundation. Chris is also a prolific illustrator of children’s books, including the award-winning “Inigo,” and his original screenplay for “Carry Me Home” earned him a Humanitas award nomination.
Heather Foote is the Director of Project Management at The City Mission, overseeing numerous interdepartmental projects as well as creating and implementing organizational standards for projects throughout The City Mission. Prior to joining The City Mission, Heather served as the Chief Operating Officer of a direct marketing agency that specialized in rescue mission fundraising. Ms. Foote is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP).
Kara is a 2016 SchoolHouse Connection Scholar from Brentwood, New York. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in psychological counseling at Columbia University Teachers College. Her research interests include minority stress theory, resilience and protective factors for at-risk youth, and implications for psychotherapy practice. She has completed an internship with Wediko Children’s Services as a Residential Counselor and hopes to pursue her doctorate in counseling psychology. She is a passionate advocate and researcher.
Brian Goldstone is a writer, cultural anthropologist, and Director of the In the Press journalism initiative at Duke University. His work has appeared in Harper’s, The New Republic, The California Sunday Magazine, Guernica, and Jacobin, among other publications. He is currently writing a book, The New American Homeless, about the growing crisis of housing insecurity and family homelessness.
Ben Goodwin is the Executive Director of Our House, leading a nonprofit that focuses on empowering homeless and near-homeless families and individuals. Prior to joining Our House in 2009, Ben worked at Southern Bancorp, a CDFI development bank, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Mr. Goodwin has a Bachelor’s in Politics, Philosophy, & Economics from Oxford University and a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Hendrix College.
John Greenwood is Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Homes for the Homeless (HFH), overseeing all shelter operations and programming for families experiencing homelessness. John previously held the roles of Deputy Administrator at Prospect Family Residence and Administrator of Williamsbridge Family Residence, both family homeless shelters operated by HFH, where he managed all daily operations and programming. John also spent several years working at the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS), where he held the roles of Chief of Staff to the First Deputy Commissioner and Executive Director of Planning and Procurement for Family Capacity. John received his Master’s in Urban Planning from Hunter College and has a BA in Sociology and Policy from Syracuse University.
Eric Grumdahl is the Director of Special Projects for the Minnesota Department of Education and Minnesota Office to Prevent and End Homelessness, leading the Homework Starts with Home initiative to create housing stability for homeless students and their families. He also serves on an interagency team that supports the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness in implementing Heading Home Together: Minnesota’s 2018 – 2020 Action Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. During the Obama Administration, he served as Policy Director for the U. S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. Additionally, he has been the Special Advisor on Ending Veteran Homelessness to the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. He has also worked as Housing Manager for Dakota County, Minnesota, and as the Director of Information, Evaluation, and Regional Community Relations for Hearth Connection.
Carolyn Gordon is the Northeast Regional Director at Family Promise. Prior to becoming Northeast Regional Director, she was the Executive Director of Family Promise of Northern New Castle County for seven years. She also has worked for various organizations that serve youth aging out of foster care. Ms. Gordon has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Boston University and a Master of Social Work from the State University of New York, Albany.
Tierra Gunther is a Program Associate at Homes for the Homeless (HFH), facilitating education, social services, and partnership programming for families experiencing homelessness. Prior to her role at HFH, Tierra worked as an Assistant Teacher at Harlem Children’s Zone. Tierra has a Bachelor’s in Communications from the University of Hartford.
Dana Harley, PhD
Dana Harley, PhD, is a full-time Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Cincinnati, leading numerous community engagement projects with vulnerable populations using her expertise in participatory action research. Dr. Harley holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Cincinnati and a Doctorate in Social Work from Ohio State University.
Michael Hickey is the Executive Director of Students in Temporary Housing at the New York City Office of Community Schools, leading a team of more than 300 DOE staff members in supporting all students affected by homelessness who attend New York City public schools. Prior to working at the New York City Department of Education, Michael was an independent community development consultant assisting various organizations with project development, strategic planning, and organizational change. He was also the founding Executive Director of the Center for NYC Neighborhoods (CNYCN) and spent ten years as a community development banker and philanthropic program manager with Deutsche Bank. Mr. Hickey has a Bachelor’s in English Literature from Ohio University and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Kathryn Hill, PhD
Kathryn Hill is a Research Associate at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, studying the causes and consequences of inequality for historically disadvantaged New York City students. She is also interested in how education reforms impact urban communities and parent engagement and has worked to illuminate the perspectives of parents of color regarding education policies and practices. While in graduate school at Columbia University, Dr. Hill served as a research assistant for The Center for Understanding Race and Education (CURE), The Ford Foundation’s Building Knowledge for Social Justice Program, and the New Jersey Network of Superintendents Study. She also worked as an educator in the Bronx prior to graduate school, serving as both a 7th grade ELA teacher and a High School Academic Director for CitySquash, an after-school enrichment program. Dr. Hill has a Bachelor’s in History and Literature from Harvard University, a master’s from Columbia University, and a Doctorate in Sociology and Education from Columbia University.
Ted Houghton is the President of Gateway Housing. Prior to working at Gateway Housing, Ted served as Executive Deputy Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) and led the Supportive Housing Network of New York. Mr. Houghton has also been a writer and policy adviser to government, foundations and nonprofit organizations on housing, mental health, employment and homelessness, and worked for the New York City Department of Homeless Services and the Coalition for the Homeless.
Symeria T. Hudson
Symeria T. Hudson is the President and CEO of Chapman Partnership, overseeing the strategic, programmatic, financial, and managerial operations of the organization. She also closely collaborates with the Board of Trustees to develop the organization’s fundraising strategy and goals, secures and allocates resources to sustain the organization, and implements innovative marketing and brand initiatives to raise awareness of Chapman Partnership’s work in the community. Prior to working at Chapman Partnership, Symeria worked as a corporate executive at medical technology and healthcare companies for more than twenty years. Ms. Hudson has a Bachelor’s in Business from Alabama A&M University and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University.
Adam Huron is responsible for supervisory oversight of HELP’s 6 DHS-contracted family shelters and 3 shelter-based early childhood education centers. Mr. Huron joined HELP in 2018 after working in homeless services in NYC for nearly a decade, serving in both direct service and leadership positions. Prior to coming to NYC, Mr. Huron worked with high need youth and families in New Jersey and Maine. In addition to his extensive work in all aspects of shelter operations, he has a background in policy analysis and program evaluation and a strong commitment to improving short and long term outcomes for homeless families. Mr. Huron holds a BA in Philosophy from Haverford College and an MPA from Rutgers University.
Shahera Hyatt is the Director of the California Homeless Youth Project, leading an initiative of the California Research Bureau that is focused on educating policymakers about the needs of youth experiencing homelessness in California. She also serves as the Local Coordinator for the Sacramento Homeless Youth Task Force’s Youth Council: Youth Voices Matter! Ms. Hyatt has a Master’s in Social Work from California State University Sacramento.
La Shawn Hye
La Shawn Hye has his B.A. in Psychology from Central State of Ohio. He has over 20 years of experience centered around child abuse and trauma, homelessness and domestic violence. La Shawn is a dynamic leader in advocating for equity and full-service partnerships in underserved communities. He has been a team member at Project Hope Alliance for 7 years. He has held many critical roles within the organization and is currently a Case Manager with the Promotor Pathway Program; the program provides a holistic approach to supporting children and youth experiencing homelessness. La Shawn’s resourcefulness and collaborative nature has enabled him to move many children and their families out of homelessness while supporting their academic and social emotional development.
Walter Jackson is the Assistant Director of Child, Adult, and Family Services for the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, leading a continuum of programs that include Child Protective Services, Foster Care & Adoptions, Family Preservation, and many more. He is also a lecturer in the Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice Department at Townson University. Prior to working for the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, Walter worked as a Case Management Specialist, Executive Assistant, Area Director, and Assistant Regional Director for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services.
Sonia Jenkins, EdS
Sonia Jenkins is the McKinney-Vento Specialist for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, advocating for the educational needs of over 4000 homeless children in the school district. Prior to working for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Sonia worked for seventeen years as an Elementary Teacher, Guidance Counselor, Truancy Officer, and School Social Worker for Rockford Public Schools. Ms. Jenkins holds a bachelor’s from Grambling State University, a Master’s in Social Work from Grambling State University, a Master’s in Teaching from Aurora University, and an Education Specialist Degree from Northern Illinois University.
Patricia Julianelle is the Director of Program Advancement and Legal Affairs at SchoolHouse Connection, providing expertise on education law and policy, including the rights of children experiencing homelessness, students with disabilities, and undocumented immigrants. Previously, she has worked with the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP), the National Disabilities Rights Network (NDRN), Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), and the American Bar Association. She has also taught high school in the US and law school in Chile. Ms. Julianelle has a bachelor’s from Yale University and a Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark College.
Karina is a Girl Scout Senior and an 8th grade student in Queens. Karina is a member of the National Honor Society, worship team, an advocate for girls in her school and community, and a member of the Girl Scouts’ Leadership Institute Program. Karina has been a member of Troop 6000 since inception in 2017; in fact, her mother is the visionary behind starting the initiative in the shelter where Karina lived with her four siblings. Over the past two years, Troop 6000 has had a remarkable impact on Karina. She has learned the importance of sisterhood and community during trying times and is consistently inspired by her 500 Troop 6000 sisters to break the stigma of homelessness. Her favorite way to do that is by asking people to choose their words carefully, challenging New Yorkers to self-reflect on their stereotypes of who they think “the homeless” are.
Josef Kannegaard is a Principal Policy Analyst at the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH), focusing on both national- and New York City-level policy analysis and research related to student and family homelessness. Prior to this role at ICPH, Josef was a policy analyst for five years. He also worked for Charles Group Consulting. Mr. Kannegaard has bachelor’s degrees from the University of California Berkeley and a Master’s in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Lisa Kessler is a Data Analyst at Allegheny County Department of Human Services, creating Tableau dashboards that guide informed decision and policymaking surrounding homelessness and housing as well as reporting to Housing and Urban Development. Ms. Kessler received her Bachelor’s in Decision Science and Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and her Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management from the University of Pittsburgh.
Carol Klocek is the CEO at Center for Transforming Lives, leading a service rich organization that gives families access to Early Head Start, rapid rehousing services, shelter and transitional housing for women, and one-on-one financial coaching and asset building. She also founded and chairs the Coalition for Homeless Children and is a member of UNT Health Science Center’s Academic Community Partnerships Advisory Board. Previously, she served as a member of the board of the Fort Worth Commission on Ending Homelessness and as a member of the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition. Ms. Klocek holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Texas Arlington and a Master’s in Business from Texas Christian University.
Leslie Kokotek is a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati, studying language and literacy development in underrepresented and economically disadvantaged communities. She is also a Speech-Language Pathologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Ms. Kokotech has Bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Cincinnati, a Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Cincinnati, and a Certificate of Clinical Competence for Speech-Language Pathologists (CCC-SLP).
Kristi Kubicki is a Program Consultation Specialist at Bridge of Hope, writing curriculum and developing resources for program staff and neighboring volunteers as well as providing direct support to program staff in Bridge of Hope affiliates nationwide. Prior to her role as a Program Consultation Specialist, Kristi was a Program Site Case Manager at Bridge of Hope. Ms. Kubicki received her bachelor’s from the University of Notre Dame and her Master of Social Work in Child Welfare from Arizona State University.
Derrick Lambert is a Senior Manager at Share Our Strength, supporting their ‘No Kid Hungry’ campaign that works nationwide to expand access to federally funded child nutrition programs. Prior to joining Share Our Strength in 2016, Derrick worked as a Program Manager at Hunger Free Vermont and also spent four years in France teaching at public secondary and post-secondary institutions. Mr. Lambert has a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Union University and a Master’s in International Political Economy from the University of Kent.
Cindie Lembo is a Certified School Social Worker from White Plains Public Schools, providing assessments, crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, and other support services to 7th and 8th grade students and their families. Between 2016 -2019, Cindie was the chairperson of the school’s Trauma Sensitive Steering Committee. Prior to her work with White Plains Public Schools, she worked for the Student Assistance Services Corporation. Ms. Lembo has a Master’s in Social Work from Adelphi University and is a licensed master social worker (LMSW).
Courtney Lewis is the Transition Age Youth System Coordinator at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS), coordinating program delivery across DHS to ensure that young adults can access appropriate and high-quality services and supports that help them successfully transition to adulthood. Prior to working as the Transition Age Youth System Coordinator, Courtney worked in other roles at DHS in the areas of evidence-based program implementation, strategic planning, community relations, and grant writing. Ms. Lewis has a Master’s in Social and Public Policy from Dusquene University.
Adina Lichtman is the CEO and Founder of Knock Knock Give a Sock, leading a nonprofit that collects socks for those experiencing homelessness while also building relationships between neighbors. Ms. Lichtman has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from New York University and a Master’s in Social Work from New York City.
Stephen Liggett-Creel is the Chief of Staff at Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, overseeing the Administrative and Child, Adult, and Family divisions. Previously, he served as Vice President for Hearts and Homes for Youth for three years and spent six years in a managerial role at the same organization. Prior to his service with Hearts and Homes, he worked for over seven years as a social worker. Mr. Liggett-Creel holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Maryland.
Arija Linauts is a Senior Program Associate for New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students (NYS-TEACHS) at Advocates for Children of New York, developing resources and trainings about trauma-sensitive strategies to help students in temporary housing succeed in school. Ms. Linauts has a Bachelor’s in Anthropology from Willamette University and a Master’s in Gender Politics and Cultural Policy from New York University.
Henry O. Love, PhD
Henry O. Love, PhD., is the Attendance Matters Project Manager at Gateway Housing, managing a project that identifies and addresses barriers to school attendance for homeless children. He is also a member of the advisory board for the Cambodia based NGO Angkor Tree Project which provides English language instruction as well as teacher training programs to rural communities in the Siem Reap Provence of Cambodia. Prior to working for Gateway Housing, Henry was a kindergarten teacher in Brooklyn and East Harlem. Mr. Love has a Master’s in Education Policy from Columbia University and is pursuing a Doctorate in Developmental Psychology from the City University of New York.
Abra Lyons-Warren is the Senior Program and Policy Manager at the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA), leading the Housing Is Initiative, an effort aimed at better aligning housing with other systems such as education and health. Previously, Abra worked as an analyst and advocate at the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Illinois Representative Barbara Flynn Currie’s office. She also served low-income and homeless individuals at Thrive DC. Ms. Lyons-Warren holds a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Brandeis University, a Bachelor’s in Women and Gender Studies from Brandeis University, a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chicago, and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Chicago.
Rita Markley is the Executive Director of the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS), leading and managing a successful emergency shelter as well as spearheading a successful campaign to spotlight the growing number of homeless students in Vermont that influenced a policy shift statewide to focus on ending family homelessness. She is also a Governor’s Appointee to the Vermont Council on Homelessness and the Pathways from Poverty Council. Before working at COTS, Rita founded the Vermont Alliance to End Homelessness. She has also served on the boards of the National Coalition for the Homeless, Fletcher Allen Health Care, CVOEO and Housing Vermont.
Ann Masten, PhD
Ann Masten, PhD, is a Regents Professor, Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development, and Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, studying competence, risk, and resilience in child development with a focus on the processes leading to positive adaptation and outcomes in children and families whose lives are threatened by adversity. Her recent research in Minnesota has focused on school success in homeless and other disadvantaged mobile children. Dr. Masten received her doctorate from the University of Minnesota.
Kristi Matthews is a Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator at Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, focusing on helping families, individuals, and youth in the District of Columbia develop advocacy skills, use their power, and understand the importance of working towards systemic change. She also co-created People Power Action, a community group within the Legal Clinic, and works on increasing the Legal Clinic’s community engagement by supporting various community-led initiatives throughout DC. Ms. Matthews holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Community Justice from Guilford College and a Master’s in Social Psychology and Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Walden University.
Chelsea Mauldin is the Executive Director of Public Policy Lab, directing the Public Policy Lab’s social research and maintaining their partnerships with government agencies to design better public policy and services for low-income and at-risk Americans. Previously Chelsea was a Government Consultant, the Director of a community development organization, and led government partnerships at a public-space advocacy nonprofit. Ms. Mauldin has a Bachelor’s in Social Science from University of California, Berkeley, a Bachelor’s in English from University of California, Berkeley, and a Master’s in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics.
Megan Melamed is the Clinical Manager at Win, training a large interdisciplinary staff in the implementation of Evidence Based Practices (EBPs) for providing support and services to homeless families as defined by Win’s innovative training initiative, Win Academy. Prior to working at Win, Megan was a Clinical Social Worker and an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Services. Ms. Melamed has a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University and is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).
Laura Menze is an Occupational Therapist at Lydia’s House, providing occupational therapy services to current and former Lydia’s House guests, including at Virginia Coffey Place, an 8-unit permanent supportive housing building for former Lydia’s House guests. Before practicing occupational therapy at Lydia’s House, she served individuals with serious mental illness involved in the criminal justice system with a focus on developing life skills and promoting mental health. Ms. Menze has a Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of Indianapolis.
Zitsi Mirakhur, PhD
Zitsi Mirakhur is a Research Associate at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, quantitatively examining the factors that contribute to inequality for historically underserved New York City students. Previously, Dr. Mirakhur worked as a High School Science Teacher in New Orleans and was a Faculty Member at the Princeton University Preparatory Program. Dr. Mirakhur has a Bachelor’s in Comparative Human Development from the University of Chicago and a Doctorate in Demography and Social Policy from Princeton University.
Nastacia Moore is a SPARC Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator at C4 Innovations, providing technical assistance and training to eight HUD Continuums of Care and other communities across the country in developing systems-level responses to historical racial inequity. Prior to joining C4, Ms. Moore was the Lead HMIS Trainer for the Indiana Balance of State and acted as Indiana’s SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery) State Lead for SAMHSA. She is also the former Program Manager of a Permanent Supportive Housing program for families in Dayton, OH.
Kamaria Moore-Hollis is the Economic Mobility Manager for the Department of Transitional Assistance. Through this role, she oversees several of DTA’s Employment Service Programs, which focus on 2Gen outcomes that support economic mobility for DTA clients. Kamaria was the responsible for the transition of Secure Jobs, an employment program for homeless families, from the Department of Housing and Community Development to DTA and has been able to increase providers, hire dedicated staff, and oversee a 300% funding increase for the program. The majority of her professional career has been spent developing innovative strategies to help families gain economic mobility. Kamaria holds both a BA and an MA in Public Administration from Clark University.
Bernice Morris is the Director of Education and Employment Services at Crossroads Rhode Island, directing education, employment, and job training programs at the organization. She has been working in the fields of adult education and workforce development for the past twenty years. Ms. Morris has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Rhode Island College.
Erin Morris is a Program Manager at A Child’s Place, leading program efforts to provide two-generational supports that eliminate the impact of homelessness on students and their education. She has spent the past thirteen years working in non-profit programming. Ms. Morris holds a Bachelor’s in Communication from the University of South Florida and a Master’s in Education from North Carolina State University.
Beth Morrison is CEO at Our Family Services. She is also a member of the Oakland County Fatality Review Team, Oakland County Coordinating Council Against Domestic Violence, Detroit Lions Courage House, University of Michigan Women and Gender Studies and Women in Leadership Advisory Board, and on various other local and regional task forces and committees in Michigan. Previously she served on the board of the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. Ms. Morrison has a bachelor’s from Central Michigan University, a master’s from the University of Arizona, and recently completed the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at Stanford University.
Matthew Morton, PhD
Matthew Morton, PhD, is a Research Fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, leading the most comprehensive national research initiative focused on youth homelessness in America, Voices of Youth Count. Prior to working at the University of Chicago, Matthew worked for the World Bank, the federal government, in philanthropy, and for various youth-serving non-profits. Dr. Morton holds a Master’s and Doctorate in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation from the University of Oxford.
Jarrett Murphy is the Executive Editor at City Limits, encouraging the coverage of topics related to homelessness and poverty. Prior to working at City Limits, he worked at WFUV-FM, the Hartford Advocate, CBSNews.com and the Village Voice. Mr. Murphy has a Bachelor’s in Economics from Fordham University, a Bachelor’s in Urban Studies from Fordham University, a diploma in public financial policy from the London School of Economics, and a Master’s in Economics from the New School.
Kristine Nadolski is a McKinney-Vento State Coordinator at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. She is also a State Coordinator for the Neglected and Delinquent Program as well as a Title I Grants Manager. Prior to working for the Wisconsin DPI, Kristine worked in a Wisconsin school district and served as an AmericCorps VISTA member. Ms. Nadolski has a Bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Diane Nilan is the Founder and President of HEAR US, Inc., chronicling the lives and experiences of non-urban homeless families and children on film. Her statewide film projects include Texas, Kansas, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Hawaii. She is currently planning HEAR US 2020 VisionQuest, a 9,000 mile, 25-state homelessness awareness raising tour. Before founding HEAR US, Inc., Diane ran homeless shelters for more than thirty years. Ms. Nilan has a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from the University of St. Francis.
Ralph da Costa Nunez, PhD
Ralph is President and CEO of the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness and its affiliate Homes for the Homeless. He has worked with homeless families for more than three decades, starting at the office of then-Mayor Ed Koch in the early 1980s. He is an internationally recognized expert and leading scholar in the field of family and child homelessness. Dr. Nunez holds a PhD in political science from Columbia University, where he also serves as a professor at the School of International and Public Affairs.
Jeff Olivet is a Consultant at jo consulting, creating organizational and systems change around homelessness and behavioral health by promoting best practices for large and small organizations. While working as an advocate and consultant, he has he spearheaded the SPARC Initiative (Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities), a multi-city effort to address racial inequity in homelessness. From 2010 to 2018, Jeff was CEO of the Center for Social Innovation (now C4 Innovations). He has also worked as a Street Outreach Worker, Case Manager, Coalition Builder, Activist, National Trainer and Technical Assistance Provider, as well as a Curriculum Developer, Writer, and Public Speaker. Mr. Olivet has a bachelor’s from the University of Alabama and a master’s from Boston College.
Abe Oudshoorn, PhD
Abe Oudshoorn, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at Western University and an Associate Scientist with Lawson Health Research Institute, investigating the intersections between health systems, housing instability, and marginalized communities. He is also Chair of the London Homeless Coalition. Prior to his work as a researcher and professor, Abe was a practicing nurse. Dr. Oudshoorn has a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Western University, a Master’s in Nursing – Health Promotion from Western University, and a Doctorate in Nursing – Health Promotion from Western University.
Meridith Owensby is a Co-Founder of Lydia’s House, overseeing all aspects of the organization including case management, guest support, liturgy, operations, and finance. Prior to founding Lydia’s House, Meridith worked as a Social Services Manager at Miriam’s House and was a Volunteer Coordinator at the Open Door Community.
Connie Palmer is the Clinical Training Director of Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, providing trainings for Imagine facilitators and offering trainings on grief and loss in schools, workplaces and community organizations. Prior to joining Imagine, Connie worked as a Teacher, Therapist, and School Counselor for over thirty years. Ms. Palmer has a bachelor’s in elementary education, a Master’s in Social Work from Rutgers University, and is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).
Andrew Palomo, PhD
Andrew Palomo, PhD, is the Director of Community Strategies at the National Network for Youth (NN4Y), directing NN4Y’s cross-systems work with communities nationwide to best serve youth and young families at-risk-of and experiencing homelessness. Prior to joining the NN4Y team, Andrew worked at Valley Youth House for fourteen years, starting as a Resident Advisor in the Independent Living Program, then as the Program Supervisor at their Maternity Group Home and finally as the Research and Evaluation Coordinator. He experienced multiple forms of homelessness while in college. Dr. Palomo has a Bachelor’s in Biology from Villanova University, a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University, a Doctorate in Social Work from Fordham University, and was a 2013-2014 Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellow in Guatemala.
Michelle Patton Swisher
Michelle Patton Swisher is a School Social Worker and McKinney-Vento Liaison for Spotsylvania County Schools, working with highly mobile students in the school setting for over 11 years. She also developed and established The Treasure House as well as other community-wide homelessness awareness events. Ms. Swisher is a licensed clinical social worker.
Maegan Pedemonti is a Program Manager of Employment Support Services at Way Finders, Inc., pairing workforce development with human development in programs at the organization. She is also a member of Homes for Families, the On Solid Ground Coalition, the New England Whole Family Approach to Jobs Cliff Effect working group, WIOA Job Readiness and Information Sharing subcommittees, Springfield Works Community Partners and Employers subcommittees, Dress for Success Western Massachusetts, and the DFS Program Committee. Prior to working at Way Finders, Inc., Maegan counseled adults and children with disabilities and mental health diagnoses. Ms. Pedemonti has a Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Elementary Education from Bay Path University and a Master’s in Educational Psychology from American International College.
Sarah Peterson is the Director of Research and Development for the Office of Community Schools at the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), leading the research, innovation and attendance improvement efforts of Mayor de Blasio’s Community School Initiative. Before working for the NYCDOE, Sarah served as an adviser to the Obama White House and the U.S. Department of Education on the national My Brother’s Keeper Every Student, Every Day Campaign and managed education projects in countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, South Africa and Cambodia. Ms. Peterson holds a bachelor’s from Oberlin College and a master’s from Columbia University.
Renee Ensor Pope
Renee Ensor Pope is the Assistant Director for Community Services and the Continuum of Care Lead for the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, overseeing the County’s crisis response services including its homeless system of care; utility, eviction, foreclosure and rapid re-housing programs; food assistance programs; and ESF 6 shelter operations. She also is a member of the Maryland Interagency Council on Homelessness Youth and Young Adult Work Group. Ms. Pope has a Bachelor’s in English from Notre Dame of Maryland University and a Master of Education from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Toby Portner is the State Coordinator for Education of Homeless Children & Youth at the Hawaii Department of Education. Prior to working in this role, Toby worked as a Title I Linker between schools and the state Title I office. She was also an Elementary School Teacher in Michigan. Ms. Portner has a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Michigan and a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan.
Jennifer Pringle is the Director at the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students (NYS-TEACHS) at Advocates for Children, providing provides information and trainings to school districts, social service providers, parents, and others on issues related to the education of students who are homeless. Prior to working at NYS-TEACHS, Jennifer worked at a large family shelter in Brooklyn. Ms. Pringle holds a bachelor’s from Dartmouth College and her Juris Doctor from Columbia University.
Cindy-Ann Ragbirsingh is Troop Leader and Shelter Liaison for Girl Scouts Troop 6000, acting as a listening ear, mentor, sage, and Fairy Godmother to the homeless girls in the troop. She has worked as a Recreation Coordinator in the family shelter system for twenty-three years. Cindy-Ann’s passion for her work is inspired by her experiences with youth homelessness after emigrating to the US from Trinidad and Tobago at the age of fourteen. As a fifteen-year-old girl, Cindy-Ann lived in the very same shelter where she now works. She became a front-line worker to ensure all children have access to the resources and supports they need to thrive.
Amanda Ragnauth is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness, leading projects on the education and health disparities faced by homeless students, such as Learning English While Homeless and Suicide and Depression Among Homeless Students. Before joining ICPH in 2017, Amanda worked as a Researcher for the Service Employees International Union. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Rutgers University, and both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Florida.
Ashley Rhodes is a Founding Member of the Rapid Rehousing Workgroup, speaking on panels and testifying at hearings about her negative experiences with the rapid rehousing voucher in Washington, DC. She has been an advocate at Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless for the past three years.
Karen Rice is a McKinney-Vento State Coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. She is also a State Coordinator for the Migrant Education Program as well as a Title I Grants Manager. Prior to working for DPI, she spent ten years in a Wisconsin school district working with Latino students experiencing homelessness. Ms. Rice has a bachelor’s in Spanish and education and a Master of Science in Education-Professional Counseling from Concordia University-Wisconsin.
Jordyn Roark is the Director of Youth Leadership and Scholarships at SchoolHouse Connection, working to increase access to higher education for students experiencing homelessness. Using her own story of youth homelessness, Jordyn travels the country teaching young people, organizations, and professionals about the barriers that students experiencing homelessness face when trying to access higher education. She has also served as the Marketing and Community Outreach Coordinator for United Way of Robeson County, the Weekend Shelter Advocate for Southeastern Family Violence Center, and the Coordinated Entry Lead for the Region 8 Balance of State-Continuum of Care in North Carolina. Ms. Roark has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of North Carolina, Pembroke, and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of North Carolina, Pembroke.
Raysa S. Rodriguez
Raysa S. Rodriguez is the Associate Executive Director for Policy & Advocacy at Citizen’s Committee for Children of New York (CCC), leading and coordinating CCC’s government relations and advocacy efforts focused on budget, policy, and legislation that impact New York’s children and their families. She is also an adjunct professor at Cornell University. Prior to working at CCC, Raysa served as Vice President of Policy and Planning at Win, a provider of NYC family shelter and supportive housing. In addition to her experience in family homelessness, she has an extensive background in education issues including working as a public school teacher for many years. She was also United Way of New York City’s Associate Vice President for Education and served as Senior Advisor on Children’s Issues to the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. Ms. Rodriguez holds a Bachelor’s in Human Development from Cornell University and a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University.
Bess A. Rose, EdD
Bess A. Rose, EdD, is a Statistician at the Maryland Longitudinal Data System (MLDS) Center and the University of Maryland School of Social Work, studying the contributions of school and work environments to the growth of children and adults. Prior to joining the MLDS Center, she was a Senior Study Director at Westat, Research and Evaluation Coordinator at the Maryland State Department of Education, and Technical Writing Advisor at Goucher College’s Graduate Programs in Education. Dr. Rose received her Doctor of Education from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.
Ian Rosenblum is the Executive Director of The Education Trust – New York, leading an equity agenda to ensure that low income students and students of color have all the educational supports they need to reach their full potential. Prior to joining Ed Trust, Ian served as Deputy Secretary for Education and Economic Opportunity to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and was Secretary of Policy and Planning to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. He also led major components of the enactment of Pennsylvania’s first school funding formula in 17 years, and has experience managing strategic communications in government and political campaigns. Mr. Rosenblum has a Bachelor’s in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
Annamaria Santoro is Senior Director of Operations at Homes for the Homeless (HFH), managing all education and social services programming for four shelters serving families experiencing homelessness in New York City. Prior to her role at HFH, Annamaria worked as Director of Community Partnerships at Housing Works and as an Outreach Supervisor at NADAP. Annamaria received her Master’s in Education from DePaul University and has a Bachelor’s in Childhood Education from CUNY Brooklyn College.
Heidi Schmidt is the Director of Girl Scout Troop 6000, leading a new Girl Scout troop serving girls that live in the New York City shelter system. Prior to her current role at the Girl Scouts, Heidi served as the Director of Government Relations at the New York City Department of Homeless Services and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa. Her social consciousness is fueled by her experiences as a survivor of domestic violence as a child. Ms. Schmidt has a Master’s in International Affairs from New York University.
Sentia is a Girl Scout Ambassador and a Junior in high school. She has been a Girl Scout for two years. Sentia participates in a wide range of Girl Scouting activities from advocating for girls’ and women’s rights on World Thinking Day, selling Girl Scout cookies, amplifying the voices of girls’ by attending the Commission on the Status of Women for an entire week at the United Nations, and going to Girl Scout camp for 8 weeks this summer as a Camp Counselor-in-Training. Sentia plays soccer and reveres teambuilding, leadership and advocacy as a path to equality.
Danielle Sheeler is the Director of Camps and Curriculum and the Co-New York City Regional Director at Writopia Lab, co-directing Writopia Lab’s full-day camp as well as developing and implementing creative writing curriculum for schools and residential treatment facilities. Ms. Sheeler has a Master’s in Humanities and Social thought from New York University and a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University.
Judith Sikora is a Senior Family and Community Engagement Specialist at Child Care Aware of America® (CCAoA), working with teaching tools made by the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement to help professionals better support children and families experiencing homelessness. Prior to joining CCAoA, Judith worked with numerous training and technical assistance grant programs, including Head Start Region 2 (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands). Ms. Sikora has a Master of Arts in Leadership in Early Childhood Education from Kean University.
Alyson Silkowski is the Associate Policy Director at the Office of the New York City Comptroller, conducting original research and advising the Comptroller on issues of family policy and economic justice. Prior to working for the Comptroller, she managed the public policy initiatives of the Ms. Foundation for Women as well as worked at the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness and Jumpstart for Young Children. Ms. Silkowski has a Master’s in Gender, Policy, and Inequalities from the London School of Economics.
Josefa Silva is the Director of Policy & Advocacy at Win, developing and authoring institutional research and policy reports, leading program evaluations, and collaborating with leaders, legislators, and advocates to shape programs and policies that bolster the well-being of New York City’s families. She has been working in the non-profit sector for over fifteen years. Ms. Silva has a Bachelor’s in Urban Studies from New York University and a Master’s in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania.
Jaymes Sime is the Executive Director of MICAH House. He is also the Commissioner for the Council Bluffs Housing Authority, a Board Member with the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, and he sits on the National Network to End Family Homelessness (NNEFH) Best Practices Committee. As a child, Jaymes spent time homeless. Ms. Sime holds a Bachelor’s in Criminology from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master of Public Administration from South University.
Robret Simpson is the Director of Operations at Facing Forward to End Homelessness, managing government contracts, human resources, the property advocacy team, and IT. She has worked in administration at non-profits for over eighteen years. Ms. Simpson has a Bachelor’s in Information Systems from DeVry University and a Master’s in Non-Profit Management from DeVry University.
Jayne Singer, PhD
Jayne Singer, PhD., is the Clinical Director of the Child and Parent Program in the Developmental Medicine Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, working with families of children aged birth through early childhood with a wide variety of unique challenges. She also leads the Early Care and Education Initiative at Brazelton Touchpoints Center. Dr. Singer has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Purchase College and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from St. John’s University.
Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Smith-Grant
Jennifer Smith-Grant is an Epidemiologist in the School-Based Surveillance Branch of the Division of Adolescent Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, serving as the program consultant for both the School Health Profiles and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Lt. Cmdr. Smith-Grant has a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Spelman College and a Master’s in Public Health from Emory University.
Mandy Sorge is a Senior Policy Analyst at the National Governor’s Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices’ Education Division, researching early childhood and early childhood education issues. Prior to joining NGA, Sorge worked for the National Center on the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships. She began her career as an Early Childhood Educator working in Head Start, Early Head Start, and inclusive childcare settings serving at-risk children. Ms. Sorge has a Bachelor’s in Child Development and family Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s in Education Policy from George Washington University.
Chloe Stein is a Principal Policy Analyst at the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH), leading ICPH’s community research, including the State Snapshot series and The Seattle Atlas of Student Homelessness, as well as contributing to reports on housing and health issues. Before joining ICPH, Chloe served as Assistant to the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health. Ms. Stein has a Bachelor’s in Public Health from Franklin & Marshall College, a Bachelor’s in Spanish from Franklin & Marshall College, and a Master’s in Health Policy and Management from Columbia University.
Sarah Steward is the Chief Operating Officer of Homefront. She is also currently a Councilwoman in the Township of Ewing, NJ. Prior to working at Homefront, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff and District Director in the offices of Congressman Rush Holt (NJ-12). Ms. Steward has a bachelor’s from Franklin and Marshall College and a Master of Public Administration from Rutgers University.
Nikita Stewart is a Reporter covering social services for the New York Times as well as the author of Troop 6000, a book that chronicles the triumphs and challenges of the first Girl Scouts troop specifically designed for girls in the New York City shelter system. Prior to working for the New York Times, Nikita worked for The Washington Post. In 2018 the Newswomen’s Club of New York recognized Ms. Stewart for her coverage of homelessness, mental health, and poverty.
I-Hsing Sun is the Chief Program Officer at the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, leading the development and implementation of the organization’s programmatic work. She also teaches financial management to graduate students at Columbia University School of Social Work. Previously, I-Hsing was the Assistant Commissioner for Financial Empowerment Programs at the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. She also worked at Goldman Sachs and Price Waterhouse. Ms. Sun has a bachelor’s from New York University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
Doreen Thomann-Howe is the Deputy Commissioner of Family Services at the New York City Department of Homeless Services, providing clinical and administrative oversight for government agencies and nonprofit social services providers. She also co-chairs several work groups for the Early Childhood Roundtable of the New York City Children’s Cabinet and has taught graduate level courses in social work. Ms. Thomann-Howe is a licensed clinical social worker.
Erika Thompson, PhD
Erika Thompson, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at University of North Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health, collaborating with the Center for Transforming Lives on the systems change project for family homelessness as well as researching other community health and family issues. Dr. Thompson holds a Doctorate in Public Health from University of South Florida.
Tiara is a Girl Scout Cadette and sixth grader who has been a part of Troop 6000 for almost two years. She enjoys spending time with her fellow sister scouts, and family and friends hold a special place in her heart. Troop 6000 has taught her the importance of standing up for what is right despite the immense challenges she faces. Tiara also enjoys singing, rapping, gymnastics and making others laugh. She is outgoing and loves talking to new people she meets. At Girl Scout camp this summer, she turned her fear into fun by passing the swim test and jumping off the diving board.
Richard Trickel is the CEO of The City Mission, leading their efforts in battling family homeless in Cleveland, OH. He has been working in cross-cultural and urban ministry for over thirty-five years. Mr. Trickel has a Bachelor’s in Communications from Trinity International University and a Master’s in Administrative Leadership in Adult Education from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
Desiree Tucker-Sorini brings 30 years of high-level government, private, and nonprofit experience to Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). She has served in several executive positions such as CNCS’s Chief of Staff, where she oversaw operations of over six departments and managed the day to day operations of CNCS for the CEO. Tucker-Sorini also was appointed by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate as the Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs and Public Liaison at the Department of Treasury, in addition to a multitude of civic-centered positions that gave her a deep appreciation for the impact of civic engagement and public service. She brings her wealth of knowledge in communications strategies, domestic and international press, budget and nonprofit management, and team development to aid the VISTA program in alleviating poverty across the nation.
J. Michael Underwood, PhD
J. Michael Underwood, PhD, is Chief of the School-Based Surveillance Branch (SBSB) in the Division of Adolescent and School Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overseeing the management of surveillance systems across the United States that monitor adolescent health behaviors through the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and School Health Profiles. Prior to working for the School-Based Surveillance Branch of the CDC, Michael worked as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) and led the Support, Evaluation, and Surveillance Team (SEST) at the CDC’s Immunization Services Division. Dr. Underwood has a Bachelor’s in Biology from Tuskegee University and a Doctorate in Pharmacology from the University of Minnesota.
Liz Varela is the Executive Director at Building Futures, leading the organization in the provision of a wide range of community-based services including a domestic violence crisis call line, homeless outreach and case management teams, winter warming shelters, scattered site permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing programs for families and a coordinated entry hub in the City of Oakland for families. Prior to becoming the Executive Director at Building Futures in 2007, she worked at the organization as a Children’s Program Coordinator for fourteen years. Ms. Varela has a Bachelor’s in Women’s Studies from Scripps College.
Roudy Vincent is the Assistant Vice President of Corporate Security at Win, overseeing a department of 217 internal and 110 contracted staff members as well as reshaping the department’s mission in caring for Win’s client population. He has worked in the life safety and security field for the past 23 years, 16 of which have been spent working with the homeless population at Win.
Katie Volk is the Senior Project Director at C4 Innovations, collaborating with Artemis Associates, LLC on a neurodevelopmental tool to screen children and their caregivers for risk and resilience. Prior to working at C4 Innovations, Katie worked at The National Center on Family Homelessness for seven years. She has also served as faculty at Boston College and Lesley University. Ms. Volk has a Master’s in Child Development from Tufts University and a Master’s in Public Policy from Tuft’s University.
Rebecca Wallace-Segall is the Founder and Executive Director of Writopia Lab, overseeing Writopia Lab in the DC Metro region, NY Metro North, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New Jersey as well as training Writopia Lab instructors nationwide. Before founding Writopia Lab, Rebecca established the creative writing program at Abraham Joshua Heschel Middle School. She has also taught at SUNY Albany, New York University, and at Gotham Writer’s Workshop. Ms. Wallace-Segall was a Journalism Fellow at Brandeis University.
Tracy Weaver is the Executive Director of Saranam, guiding Saranam through its scaling from an organization that served four families in 2004 to an organization that serves 30 families annually. Prior to founding Saranam, Tracy established a residential program for homeless families in Florida and a reintegration program for ex-offenders and their families in Oklahoma. Ms. Weaver has a master’s degree in counseling psychology and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
Valerie Weaver is a Child and Family Psychotherapist at Girl Scout Troop 6000, training volunteer troop leaders and staff in trauma-informed work with children as well as establishing Troop 6000’s Master’s Level Social Work Internship Program. Ms. Weaver has a Master’s in Clinical Social Work from Fordham University, is a Candidate in Child and Adult Psychoanalysis at the Contemporary Freudian Society, and is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).
Emily Webb is a Policy Assistant at EducationCounsel, studying education policy for the organization. Before working at EducationCounsel, she was a Legislative Fellow for U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, a Senior Associate with the Urban Education Leaders Internship Program at D.C. Public Schools, an Intern in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, and a Research Consultant with Innovations for Poverty Action. Ms. Webb has a Bachelor’s in International Relations and French from Connecticut College and a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University.
Cheree Webster-Jones is the Assistant Director of Education at Drueding Center, locating training and education opportunities for clients and staff as well as cultivating new partnerships and facilitating life skills and employment workshops. Prior to her role as Assistant Director of Education, Cheree was a Housing Counselor and an After Care Family Advocate. Ms. Webster-Jones has a Master’s in Leadership from Walden University and a Post-Master Certificate in Higher Education and Adult Learning from Walden University.
Mary Lou Wernig
Mary Lou Wernig is a Housing-based Employment Specialist at Crossroads Rhode Island, providing housing-based employment services to families experiencing homelessness. She has worked in Adult Education and Workforce Development for fifteen years. Ms. Wernig has a master’s in English literature.
Jennifer White-Reid is the Vice President of Domestic Violence Residential and Legal Programs at Urban Resource Institute (URI), directing, designing, implementing, and operating the agency’s domestic violence programs, including URI’s People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program. Prior to joining URI, she served as a Senior Staff Attorney at South Brooklyn Legal Services. Ms. White-Reid has a bachelor’s in psychology, a Certificate in Executive Leadership in the Not-for-Profit Sector from New York University, and a Juris Doctor from Fordham University.
Grace Whitney, PhD
Grace Whitney, PhD, is the Director of Early Childhood Initiatives at SchoolHouse Connection. Prior to working at SchoolHouse Connection, she was the Director of Connecticut’s Head Start State Collaboration Office for twenty years. Early in her career, she was a Residential Counselor with Second Mile for Runaways and helped start the National Runaway Switchboard. For the past forty-five years, she has worked in a variety of fields involving homeless children, including child welfare, community mental health, and early childhood systems. Dr. Whitney has a Bachelor’s in Child Development and Education from the University of Connecticut, a Master’s in Human Development from the University of Maryland, a Master’s in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University, and a Doctorate in Family Studies from the University of Connecticut.
Kelly Wierzbinski is the Family Connection Director of Children, Youth, and Family Services at Rainbow Days, Inc., overseeing Rainbow Days’ Family Connection Program, which provides curriculum-based support groups, arts-based supportive services, and other mentored activities for children experiencing homelessness. She is also hands-on manager to all full-time, part-time and contracted summer staff leaders. Ms. Wierzbinski is a licensed professional counselor (LPC), licensed chemical dependency counselor (LCDC), advanced certified prevention specialist (ACPS), and board-certified art therapist (ATR-BC).
Joe Willard is the Vice President of Policy at People’s Emergency Center (PEC). Prior to working at PEC, Willard was the Associate Manager for Public Policy at the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Associate Director at The Reinvestment Fund’s Regional Workforce Partnership. Mr. Willard has a bachelor’s from Penn State University and a master’s from Hunter College.
Darlene Williams, PhD
Darlene Williams, PhD., is the Chief Program Officer at Win, overseeing transitional homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities across New York City as well as associated programs and mental health services for Win’s clients citywide. Prior to working for Win, Darlene worked for Thrive NYC, NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and The Salvation Army Social Services of Greater New York. Dr. Williams has a master’s in public administration and a doctorate in public policy and administration.
David A. Williams serves as the Policy Director at Opportunity Insights, a research and public policy lab based at Harvard University dedicated to using big data to improve upward mobility in America. He is tasked with supporting research and evidence-based policy change by creating and leading partnerships with communities across the country. Current projects include Creating Moves to Opportunity, a national housing mobility initiative, and the Charlotte Opportunity Initiative, a community-wide place-based initiative aimed at improving economic opportunity throughout Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Before joining Opportunity Insights, David served as a senior advisor to the Mayor of Detroit. David was a member of the Mayor’s economic development team, managing large-scale real estate and community revitalization projects, neighborhood planning initiatives, and policies related to economic mobility, land use, and equitable development. David received an AB from Harvard College and a JD from Harvard Law School where he served as President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, focusing much of his energy on anti-foreclosure and anti-eviction law and policy. He has also served as an affordable housing and community development attorney and a non-profit management consultant.
Renée Wilson-Simmons, DrPH
Renée Wilson-Simmons, DrPH, is executive director of the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Awareness Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee, which was established in 2015 to support the healthy development of children and their families in order to prevent ACEs and mitigate their negative effects. She joined the foundation after six years as director of the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), a nonpartisan public policy research center at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Prior to leading NCCP, Renée was the Senior Associate for Adolescent Health & Development at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she managed the foundation’s investment strategy for adolescent health and taking to larger scale evidence-based interventions that improve systems and frontline practice. She also co-led the formation and launch of Evidence2Success, the Casey Foundation’s model for improving child outcomes through school-public systems-community partnerships. Renée earned a doctorate in public health, with a concentration in maternal and child health, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Tineshea Woodson is a Founding Member of the Rapid Rehousing Workgroup, leading the workgroup in drafting their demands, organizing their actions, and completing outreach as well as testifying at numerous hearings about her experience in trying to attain shelter and housing. She has been an advocate for these issues in Washington, DC for the past seven years.
Amy D. Yamashiro, EdD
Amy D. Yamashiro, EdD, is an Education Research Analyst for the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development (OPEPD). Prior to working for OPEPD, she was Special Assistant to the Acting Commissioner at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and a Data Coordinator at the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families. Dr. Yamashiro has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Yale, a Master’s in TESOL from the School for International Training, and a Doctorate in Education from Temple University.
Daniel Zavala is the Director of Policy and Strategic Communications at Building Changes. Prior to working at Building Changes, Daniel worked on state-level policy for StudentsFirst, was the deputy director at TennesseeCAN, directed policy and government relations at League of Education Voters, and taught special education. Mr. Zavala has a bachelor’s from Stanford University, a master’s from Stanford University, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Washington.