Meet the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
Whether working in the nation’s capital or in States and communities across the country, USICH’s team of talented and resourceful professionals are committed to carrying out the Obama Administration’s mission to prevent and end homelessness. As USICH moves through a leadership transition from Barbara Poppe to Laura Zeilinger as the new incoming executive director, we thought a “refresher” on the complement of USICH team would be helpful. Below are short profiles of policy and program staff who work directly with our Federal partner agencies, and State and local leaders.
On March 7, Laura Green Zeilinger stepped up to the role of Executive Director and now leads the implementation of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, an effort that includes the coordination of all Federal homelessness policies among 19 Federal departments and agencies as well as partnerships among State and local communities, non-profits, and the private sector. “Making the policy work that happens in the interagency space on the Federal level meaningful for States and communities is what energizes me most. I’m also excited about working with our partners to bridge what is happening in the field back to the Federal level,” she said. “In the coming months, I’m looking forward to accelerating our interagency work around employment for families and other populations who are experiencing homelessness.” Recently, Zeilinger worked with Federal partners to create Family Connection: Building Systems to End Family Homelessness. USICH will provide more resources and guidance that will help communities operationalize that framework.
Richard Cho is based in Washington, DC, where he coordinates USICH's Federal policy efforts and the implementation of Opening Doors. One area of his work that will have long-lasting impacts is his effort to promote housing as a health care intervention. “Because of the Affordable Care Act, we are on the verge of having a transformed health care system that is oriented to addressing the needs of the whole person, including housing needs and homelessness,” Cho said. “I firmly believe that when we have a health care system that is able to provide the supports people need to achieve housing stability, homelessness will be a thing of the past.”
Matthew Doherty is based in San Diego, Calif., and oversees USICH’s work with State and local leaders across the country. Doherty specializes in working with communities to design and implement newly coordinated systems for linking people experiencing homelessness to the housing and services that best fits their needs and best supports their achievement of their goals. “In the coming months, I am especially excited by the opportunity to add another Regional Coordinator to our team, which will enable USICH to deepen our work with states and communities in the Western U.S,” Doherty said.
Eric Grumdahl, Policy Director
Eric Grumdahl is based in Washington, DC, and works across Federal agencies to help shape policies that address Veteran and youth homelessness. “I am energized by the work USICH, our Federal partners, and our allies across the country are doing right now to end youth homelessness and to enhance our collective capacity to support youth in achieving their goals,” Grumdahl said. He added that “as more communities approach the goal of ending homelessness among Veterans, I look forward to a continuing shift in thinking across the country: a growing recognition, which stretches beyond those of us for whom ending homelessness is our personal mission, that ending all forms of homelessness is within our reach.”
Beverley Ebersold, based in Detroit, Mich., focuses on achieving the goals set forth in Opening Doors by fostering collaboration and partnership among leaders within communities, local, state, and at the Federal level to promote evidence-based best practices, cost-effective use of resources, and peer-to-peer sharing opportunities across the midwest and far reaching to the northwest. “Over the next few months, I am looking forward to traveling to communities in my regions and visiting leaders across the country, to learn local and state dynamics while building, strengthening, and encouraging partnerships to achieve the goal of ending homelessness,” she said.
Robert Pulster is based in Boston, Massachusetts, and works with State and local stakeholders in the northeast, south, and central regions to implement evidence-based practices that are proven to be successful. Specifically, he said he is “looking forward to working in communities to advance USICH's vision of Family Connection: Building Systems to End Family Homelessness. We have the opportunity to expand key actions and I am excited to support the tremendous energy and commitments among our partners to set us on a path to prevent and end homelessness among families.”
Amy Sawyer is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and works with leaders in states on the east coast and southeast to grow momentum and find ways to leverage and target resources in order to reach the goal of ending homelessness across all populations. “Right now, I’m really excited about my work on human rights and finding alternatives to criminalization. I think it is important for our conversations about homelessness to focus on real people and what they are experiencing,” Sawyer said. Stay tuned for blogs, webinars, and conversations about this important issue.
For the full list of our talented staff, click here.