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KC Council On Youth Homelessness

Co-Chair

Nancy Thoma
Regional Administrator, Region 7
Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Nancy Thoma provides administrative oversight and program coordination to ensure the ACF's mission, goals, and objectives are being pursued across the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, and the Tribes located within these borders. She works with policymakers and executives from public and private sectors to improve outcomes for low - income and vulnerable families, youth, and children.

Co-Chair

Scott Wagner
Mayor Pro-Tem
City of Kansas City, MO

Councilman Wagner represents the 1st District At-Large and also serves as Mayor Pro Tem and chairman of the City Council Finance and Governance Committee. He is a vocal champion of homelessness issues.

Councilman Wagner's accomplishments include the opening of the Kansas City Assessment & Triage Center. He is also the City Council liaison for the Mayor's Task Force to End Veteran Homelessness, the Chair of the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Governing Board, and the Chair of the Homelessness Task Force at the Mid-America Regional Council.

Lindsey Baker
Outreach and Policy Specialist
Missouri Budget Project

Before joining the Missouri Budget Project team in 2016, Lindsey served as an independent research consultant, an Instructor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Missouri - Kansas City, and as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California's Davis School of Gerontology. She has extensive teaching and research experience on the topic of poverty and inequality throughout the life course, and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of Missouri - Kansas City.

Heather Bradley-Geary
Supportive Housing Developer
The Vecino Group

Heather sees permanent supportive housing as the best path to permanently eliminating homelessness. Prior to joining the Vecino Group, Heather worked at Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC), where she created the Community Initiatives Department, overseeing $20 million in homeless funds for the state of Missouri and overseeing the Joplin Housing recovery from 2011 to 2013. She is also an adjunct professor in the School of Social Welfare at The University of Kansas, serves as a Board Member of the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness, Board Member of SAVE, Inc., Kansas delegate to the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, committee member of Kim Wilson Housing, and has served on the Governor's Committee to End Homelessness, National Association of Social Workers - Missouri Chapter, and the Multi - Racial Family Circle.

Jason Bohn
Vice President of Customer Experience
Cornerstones of Care

Jason helps Cornerstones of Care coordinate access to their 35-plus programs and enhance customer experience. As a co-founder of Soul Hole Productions, he helped create the Quarky app, which is designed to connect 14- to 24-year-olds in Kansas City with articles, events, and resources. In his work with Creating Community Solutions, Jason helped design and implement The Hub for Young Adults (Powered by Cornerstones). The Hub is focused on advancing well-being through partnership, advocacy, and peer support among 18- to 24-year-olds.

Jason previously worked with the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), where he helped spearhead the Homelessness Task Force of Greater Kansas City. Prior to that he performed systems-level child welfare work with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), personally provided family therapy and crisis management to keep children in homes, and spent more than 10 years in the area of youth ministry.


Starla Brennan
Operations Director
Metro Lutheran Ministries

Starla is a certified public accountant who manages the MLM community support locations that serve the poor, homeless, elderly and disabled. She manages program functions that include emergency assistance, case management, employment support, urban orchard, minor home repair, as well as the housing arm of the Wyandotte County Impact Wednesday.

Starla has extensive project management, regulatory compliance, quality control, and corporate team building experience. She sits on the Emergency Food and Shelter (EFSB) Board.

Valorie Carson
Community Planning Director
United Community Services of Johnson County

Valorie Carson is community planning director of United Community Services of Johnson County (UCS). UCS is a nonprofit agency whose purpose is to provide data analysis, lead collaborative planning, and mobilize resources to enhance the availability and delivery of health and human services in Johnson County. As community planning director, Valorie provides project coordination, facilitation and acts as lead staff for the Johnson County Continuum of Care on Homelessness, Johnson County's Trauma Informed Care Task Force, and the Johnson County Department of Corrections' Disproportionate Minority Contact Intensive Site Engagement grant.


Donna Cash
Supervisor
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

Donna is the Coordinator for the Homeless Grant program at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She also supervises the Title I programs for the St. Louis and Kansas City Charter Schools. She has been with the Department for 20 years, and before beginning her tenure with the Federal Compliance Section, she worked in Discretionary Grants and the Curriculum and Assessment Sections at the Department. In addition, she is an active member of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) and serves on the Special Education Advisory Panel and the State Interagency Coordinating Council.


Evie Craig
Executive Director
reStart, Inc.

Evie has over 30 years' experience in nonprofit management. Since taking the helm at reStart, an interfaith ministry serving homeless men, women, youth, and families in Kansas City's urban core, Evie has expanded program sites and services in keeping with the organizational mission to end homelessness. She has earned a reputation as a champion of housing and poverty issues facing Kansas City and proven herself as a leader who drives progress.

James Chiselom
Program Manager
Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC)

James is a Program Manager for Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC). He currently manages the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG). KHRC is the Kansas state recipient for ESG. James also manages the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) for the Kansas Balance of State Continuum of Care. James has worked in this capacity since June of 2008.

Melissa Douglas
Program Director
Office of Students in Transition
Kansas City Missouri Public Schools

Melissa is the board-approved McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaison for the Kansas City Public School District. She is responsible for helping students and families seeking assistance in the district get the resources they need. Melissa's motto is, "I believe that everyone can use a helping hand sometimes."

Carla Drescher
Executive Director
The Blue Door Project, Inc.

Carla Drescher, LMSW, has over 25 years of experience in the child welfare, juvenile justice and behavioral health fields. She has led as many as 70 staff members and worked in agencies with revenues from $1 million to in excess of $500 million. Carla's most recent position was as the Director of Behavioral Health for the State of Kansas, where she was responsible for monitoring and ensuring the quality of care of statewide services provided by community mental health centers, substance abuse providers, managed care organizations, nursing home facilities for mental health, psychiatric residential facilities, and psychiatric hospitals. She provided policy direction, fiscal management and facilitated communication with federal, state and local authorities.

Amy Ervin
Independent Living/Adoption Support Supervisor
Kansas Department for Children and Families

Amy has 20 years of experience in varied positions in the Kansas child welfare system. She currently supervises Independent Living Services in the Kansas City Region of the Kansas Department for Children & Families. The program serves approximately 200 youth who have aged out of foster care, aged out from corrections custody, were adopted or achieved permanency through permanent custodianship after age 16, or were in out-of-home placement after age 15.


Rachel Francis
Director of Youth Services
Synergy Services

Rachel has been with Synergy Services since 2006. She oversees the Street Outreach, Youth Resiliency Center, Synergy House (BCP), TLP, MGH and PSH programs. Ms. Francis has an MS in Clinical Psychology from Loyola College in Maryland. She has 17 years of experience working with at risk youth and their families. Rachel serves on the Runaway Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Advisory Board and, is an Administration on Children, Youth and Families Grant Reviewer and Peer Monitor.

Samantha Gamble-Kintz
Community Initiatives Information Specialist
Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC)

Samantha received both her Bachelor's degree in psychology and her Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas. In 2016 she became the Information Specialist in the Community Initiatives Department at the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC). MHDC is dedicated to strengthening communities and the lives of Missourians through the financing, development and preservation of affordable housing.

Josh Henges

Josh has spent the past 10 years in the nonprofit sector in various aspects of community development. "I saw my first homeless person as a young boy, and I've been zealous for a solution ever since," Josh shares. "In college, I started my first homeless outreach program, spending all my time and money with a transient homeless population in Columbia, Missouri. After college, I started working with homeless youth (I actually got a paycheck to work with the homeless!), and after about six years, I shifted toward doing development around the issues of poverty, homelessness, and the greater communities response. I'm committed to being a part of a movement that sees an end to what started while my family drove down Broadway those many years ago."

Dr. Julie Holland
Education Adviser to Mayor Sly James
City of Kansas City, MO

Julie joined the Mayor's office after a year of adventure in Seoul, South Korea. Previously, she worked at the Kauffman School, the Kauffman Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Central New York, and congressional offices in Oklahoma and Washington, D.C. Julie received her B.S. from Oklahoma State University, her MPA from Syracuse University, and a Ph.D. in Law and Policy from Northeastern University.


Areon Kelvington
Regional Program Manager for Runaway Children and Youth (4,5,7)
Administration for Children and Families, HHS

Areon is responsible for the leadership, direction, and administration of FYSB discretionary youth services grant programs and special initiatives within Regions 4, 5, and 7. He has extensive experience working with children, young adults, and families in crisis as a mental health clinician. In 2003, Areon became the Associate Director of Community Based Programs, overseeing a Basic Center Program, and created a Street Outreach Program. Prior to joining FYSB, he served for 9 years as a Director in the Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), where he led the Agency's efforts in preparing America's homeless veterans, transitioning service members, and their spouses for meaningful careers. During his tenure with VETS, Areon held senior positions in Washington, DC as the Executive Officer in the Office of Administration and Budget, and more recently, as the Director of the Office of Strategic Outreach and Legislative Affairs.

Tanya Keys
Regional Director for Jackson County
Missouri Children's Division

Tanya Keys has served as the Regional Director for Jackson County Children's Division with the Department of Social Services for the past six years. In this role, through collaboration with partners and alongside families, she supports operations, program delivery, and contract oversight for a continuum of child protection, in-home services, foster care and adoption services.


Bruce Ladd
Deputy Regional Administrator, Region 7
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Bruce oversees HUD programs in the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. He serves as a liaison between Headquarters and the Region VII offices located in Des Moines, Kansas City, Omaha, and Saint Louis and also interfaces with external and internal stakeholders to ensure implementation of the Department's strategic plan and goals. Bruce served in the Office of Housing for 26 years prior to his selection as Deputy Regional Administrator. He has served in various leadership positions in the regional office working in all aspects of Multi-family Housing.

Ed Lowndes
Executive Director
Housing Authority of Kansas City (HAKC)

Ed began his career at the Housing Authority of Kansas City, Missouri in 1995 as General Counsel and became Executive Director in 2001. In addition to his duties as the Executive Director for the Housing Authority, Ed serves as a board member of the Affordable Housing Accreditation Board; a board member of the Housing Authority Insurance Group and its affiliate companies; a board member of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities; a board member of the Kansas City Workforce Investment Board; and a member of the advisory committee for the Metropolitan Community Service Program of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission.

Sheryl Malloy
McKinney-Vento Liaison
Grandview School District

Grandview School District prepares all students to be college and career ready through high quality instruction and meaningful relationships.


Desiree Monize
Executive Director
Avenue of Life

Desiree is the founder and Executive Director of Avenue of Life, a nonprofit that aims to break the cycle of poverty through community development in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. For six years, Desiree served as the Executive Director of Hope Faith Ministries, where she turned a small soup kitchen into the largest homeless day center in Kansas City. Prior to working with the homeless, Desiree held the position of Equipping Pastor at Vineyard KC North, serving a congregation of 2,000 through volunteer management, assimilation, leadership development, and pastoral care. She also has over 17 years of experience in the field of domestic violence intervention, serving as a legal advocate and shelter liaison.


Marlene Nagel
Director of Community Development
Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)

The Mid-America Regional Council promotes regional cooperation and develops innovative solutions through leadership, planning and action.


Kim Nelson
Regional Administrator, Region 7
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Kim is a licensed addictions counselor with a master's degree in public administration and has worked in health care for all of her professional career, primarily in the area of behavioral health as an addictions and managed care contract professional. Her clinical work mainly focused on addiction services, initially in community-based settings in women's and children's residential programs in Kansas. She then moved into executive leadership roles in programs with criminal-justice clients in community-based residential and outpatient settings, as well as with prison-based therapeutic communities.

Kim's other positions include her time as the Medical Coordinator with the Addiction and Prevention Services Division as the Medicaid Coordinator for the state of Kansas; the Director of Managed Care for the Behavioral Health and Disabilities division of the Kansas Department on Aging and Disability Services, and Vice President of Marketing and New Business Development for Mirror Inc., a large integrated health services provider in Kansas.

Robbie Philips
Behavioral Health Program Director
Truman Medical Centers (TMC)

Truman Medical Centers is an academic health center providing accessible, state-of-the-art quality healthcare to our community regardless of the ability to pay.


Greg Porter
Board Chair
Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness

Because of near-homeless experiences growing up, Greg's passion is helping to end homelessness. He serves as Chairman of the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness and led the effort to merge the program to serve both Jackson County, Missouri and Wyandotte County, Kansas. The successful merger was one of the first collaborations of its kind across state lines.

As a Partner at Catalyst one of the fastest growing influence management firms in the country, Greg has cultivated a vast personal network of government officials, their senior staff, and the thought leaders who shape public opinion with over a decade of experience in public service, politics and government relations at the federal, state, and local levels. Furthermore, his work on behalf of Native American tribes has connected tribal leaders with state attorneys general to create a more positive and collaborative working environment between tribes and regulators.

Erin Pullen
Director of Housing
Kim Wilson Housing

Erin received her BA in Psychology and Public Policy Studies from Duke University and her MSW from the University of Kansas. She has over eight years of administrative and clinical experience in community mental health services with adults and children, including hospital screening, therapy, and administrative support of case management and specialty team management.

In 2009, Erin began an social work internship at Kim Wilson Housing (KWH), where she managed the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program. She performed applicant screenings, including the development of comprehensive housing stabilization plans and resource discovery for Wyandot Center clients and PACES families. In 2016, Erin returned to Kim Wilson Housing and partnered with Metro Lutheran Ministries in the administration of supportive housing programs for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness who are exiting homelessness. In 2017, she assumed the management of Beacon Homes and CABHI Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), HUD-funded permanent supportive housing programs in Kansas City, Kansas.


Britanie Ramirez
Street Outreach Director
Kids TLC

As the Director of Street Outreach Services with KidsTLC, Britanie is driven by the life-shifting impact she knows her program is making for families in her beloved Kansas City Metro. Prior to joining the KidsTLC SOS team in 2016, Britanie worked with at-risk children and families for 13 years.

A Kansas native, Britanie developed an aspiration to meet the needs of local families when she was a young adult. This resolve lead her to obtain a BA in Sociology from Emporia State University. She is currently working toward a Master's degree in Counseling at MidAmerica Nazarene University.

Dr. Tami Radohl Sigley
Assistant Professor of Social Work
Park University

Tami is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (KS) who specializes in Behavioral Health. She worked in community mental health, schools, hospitals, criminal justice, and private-practice settings before completing her PhD in Social Work. At present, she is the Director of Field Education and teaches Behavioral Health and Social Work with Children and Families to MSW students at Park University. Her current research involves partnering with community agencies and higher education to house and educate homeless youth, field education pedagogy, and social work advocacy. She serves as a board member with the National Association of Social Workers, Kansas Chapter and the Junior League of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties. She is passionate about food accessibility, special education, and women's issues.


JaCinda Rainey
Work Assistance Manager
Missouri Department of Social Services

JaCinda Rainey is a Social Services Manager for the Family Support Division(FSD) at Missouri's Department of Social Services. JaCinda has been employed by FSD for many years and has held several positions within the division and is currently the Unit Manager for the Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) Program.

Nathan Ross
Youth Advocacy Supervisor
FosterAdopt Connect

Nathan works with former and current foster youth on crafting their stories and advocating for positive systemic changes within the child welfare system. A former foster youth adopted at 13 years old, Nathan began using his own personal experiences when he was 18 to help resource parents and child welfare professionals better engage and support young people who have suffered from trauma. He has spent the last eight years advocating throughout the country for a system that fights against child abuse and neglect and looks forward to the day when all children who enter care find permanency in loving, supportive homes.

Brent Schondelmeyer
Deputy Director of Community Engagement
Local Investment Commission (LINC)

Brent is responsible for public policy, community engagement, and communications at the Local Investment Commission (LINC), a nonprofit working with children and families in Jackson, Clay, and Platte Counties. It's primary program is an after-school program that serves over 6,000 children. Brent has an extensive career in journalism and wide-ranging civic involvements. He holds degrees from Grinnell College and the London School of Economics.

Nicole Sequeira
McKinney-Vento Liaison
Independence School District

By providing a quality education, the Independence School District will ensure that each learner will achieve the skills and self-confidence to be successful in an ever-changing world.


John Tramel
Associate Director
Drumm Farm Center for Children

As Associate Director of Drumm Farm, John provides direction and management for the HOME Program, a family care model of support for children in foster care, and the COMPASS Program, independent living support for youth who are homeless and/or aged out of foster care. He also provides oversight for the clinical services, educational support, and life skills programs that are available to all children and youth who live, or have recently lived, at Drumm Farm. John came to Drumm Farm from the Independence School District (ISD), where he served as the Director of Family Services, providing leadership in the areas of social services, McKinney-Vento homeless protections and services, attendance interventions, caring communities, and community development. In addition, John is a founding organizer for Showing Up for Racial Justice Kansas City (SURJ KC), a network working collaboratively to support and grow the multi-racial movement for racial justice in Kansas City.


Dr. Anne Williamson
Victor and Caroline Schutte/Missouri Professor of Urban Affairs
Director, L.P. Cookingham Institute of Urban Affairs
University of Missouri - Kansas City

An expert in housing policy, community development, citizen participation, public budgeting, and other urban issues, Anne has published in journals such as Urban Affairs Review, Social Science Quarterly, and others. She has also led public service outreach projects resulting in more than 25 externally funded projects and provided expert testimony on housing discrimination in U.S. Federal Court.

Prior to her role at UMKC, Anne was a faculty member at The University of Alabama, The University of Texas - San Antonio, and the University of Florida. She brings a blend of public - and private - sector management experience to her teaching, research, and service.

Kar Woo
Executive Director
Artists Helping the Homeless

Woo launched the BE THE CHANGE program in 2010 with support from Saint Luke's Foundation to fill a critical gap in the local safety net: transporting Kansas City's homeless residents to and from shelters and services. As riders shared stories and challenges, other gaps were identified and addressed, and a true collaboration of widely diverse agencies developed to expand the menu of services to meet the unique needs of the local homeless population. Today, the program operates a respite residence (Bodhi House) and a monitored apartment for independent living, complete with a medical and dental clinic (Finnegan Place). Working with the court system, the program develops and executes home plans for area homeless dealing with minor offenses. It also works with local nursing homes to help vulnerable homeless people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and coexisting conditions get off the street.


Henry W. Bloch School of Management
5110 Cherry Street
Kansas City, MO 64110
816-235-2215

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