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COUNCIL APPOINTS LAURA ZEILINGER TO USICH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR POST

February 18, 2014

WASHINGTON—Today, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the appointment of Laura Green Zeilinger to the post  of Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). Secretary Donovan serves as the Chair of USICH.

“Laura Zeilinger’s track record as an innovative local leader with proven success at the national level makes her the ideal person to serve as Executive Director of USICH,” said Donovan. “Her ability to harness data and take a collaborative approach to problem solving is critical to our efforts to end homelessness and achieve the goals of Opening Doors.”

Secretary Donovan and the White House emphasized the Obama Administration’s historic commitment to ending homelessness through investments in proven solutions and partnerships with local communities to share and implement what works to end homelessness.

“We know the power that a strong partnership between the Federal government and local leaders can bring to addressing some of our most challenging issues," said Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. “Laura’s experience bridging Federal policies with what works in communities will strengthen those partnerships and bring valuable leadership as we strive to achieve our goal of ending homelessness.”

Ms. Zeilinger currently serves as the Deputy Director of USICH, where she manages 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. A hallmark of Ms. Zeilinger’s contributions to the Council has been her success at engaging communities to develop 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.

Ms. Zeilinger is an attorney with a long standing commitment to underserved populations. Before joining USICH in 2011, she served as the Deputy Director for Program Operations at the District of Columbia Department of Human Services (DHS). There, she led the creation of more than 1,000 units of permanent supportive housing as part of the Homeless No More plan. She also designed and implemented the District’s Housing First Initiative which connected 500 individuals and 80 families to housing stability in its first year alone. Prior to her work with DHS, Ms. Zeilinger served as the Mayor’s liaison between DHS and Office of Disability Rights. She has also led international economic development efforts, managing a technical assistance project to reform the pension system in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Ms. Zeilinger is an alumna of Sarah Lawrence College and a graduate of the Washington School of Law at American University. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two children.

Ms. Zeilinger will assume the post of Executive Director of USICH on March 7, 2014. Current USICH Executive Director Barbara Poppe announced her departure from the Council earlier this month.