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 Laura Zeilinger to Matthew Doherty as the Interim 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 January 23, 2015, Matthew Doherty became the Interim Executive Director, leading 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. Under his leadership, USICH provides technical assistance and supports to communities across the country, building systems of care that ensure individuals, families, youth, and Veterans are able to obtain or regain permanent housing as quickly as possible and access services to remain stably housed.
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.”
Jay Melder is based in Washington, DC and is responsible for planning and managing communications and media information programs regarding the work of USICH and its initiatives. Additionally, he develops and manages our legislative priorities and processes, including the management of relationships, initiatives and work related to federal and national partners.
Jasmine Hayes is based in Washington, DC, and works across Federal agencies to help shape policies that address homelessness among families, children and youth, as well as increasing access to employment and education. Jasmine Hayes has devoted much of her career to the field of child welfare, starting as a case-carrying social worker in Child Protective Services where she worked with youth and families who often struggled with unstable housing, periodic homelessness, unemployment and co-occurring disorders. “I have seen firsthand the impact of homelessness on short- and long-term outcomes for children,” said Hayes. “I believe that there are opportunities in child welfare reform to end homelessness among families.”
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.
Katy Miller is based in Seattle, Washington, and serves as a principal representative and bridge between the work of the full Council and states and communities. In this role, she is responsible for facilitating the strategic implementation of Opening Doors specifically in Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington state. Katy has been working for nearly 20 years as an advocate, housing provider, and funder of homeless housing and services. She played an important role in launching new initiatives and funding resources to help people move out of homelessness into permanent housing, such as the Washington Families Fund, Landlord Liaison Project, Career Connections, and the Client Care Coordination system for targeted recruitment of the most vulnerable and high utilizers of expensive systems into permanent supportive housing.
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.