Our Presenters

We are lucky to have so many wonderful presenters and organizations hosting breakouts for this year’s Annual Conference! Look below for more information about these presenters, and the organizations they’re representing:


Abbey DeLisle, Lutheran Social Services

Abigail DeLisle is a Black woman physician assistant student with a passion to serve at the intersection of community, public and global health and racial justice. She has experience working with unhoused folks, street outreach, mental health, and addiction medicine. In addition to infectious disease, she enjoys peace work, youth and young adult engagement, Black empowerment, and learning new things. Abigail currently serves as the Duluth Branch NAACP Vice President and Outreach Liaison at Lutheran Social Services supporting HIV testing.

Breakout Session: Outbreaks, Outreach and Better Outcomes – The State of HIV in Minnesota

Amanda Zagelbaum, The Bridge for Youth

Amanda Zagelbaum joined The Bridge for Youth as Outreach and Support Services Manager in August 2019. Prior to The Bridge she was a Community Outreach Case Manager for Catholic Charities providing intervention, support and case management. Before that she was a Workforce and Career Counselor at YouthLink. She holds a BA in Sociology from Brandeis University.

Breakout Sessions: A Safe Place for ALL Youth | “Meeting Youth Where They’re At” The Evolution of Outreach Programming

Angela Larson, UCAP (United Community Action Partnership)

Angela Larson, CCAP, has been in the human services field for more than 25 years, serving as the Family Services Director for United Community Action Partnership (UCAP) for the last 15 years. During that time her team has developed and expanded programs and services throughout UCAP’s service area including emergency housing, food assistance, free tax preparation, etc. Ms. Larson currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater MN Housing Fund and as the Chairperson of the Southwest Continuum of Care. Ms. Larson has a BS Degree in Sociology from Southwest Minnesota State University and lives in Marshall, MN.

Breakout Session: All Hands on Deck: Strategies for Mobilizing Resources for Quick Response to Crises

Anna Odegaard, Minnesota Asset Building Coalition

Anna Odegaard is the Director of the Minnesota Asset Building Coalition, a coalition of nonprofit organizations committed to creating asset building opportunities for low-income Minnesotans, reducing barriers to economic mobility, and advancing racial equity. Previously, she worked as a Policy Analyst for SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, a healthcare workers union, and chaired the Consumer and Small Business Advisory Committee to MNSure. Before focusing on policy advocacy, she worked in domestic violence prevention. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Drake University and a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Breakout Session: Legislative Advocacy for Systemic Change

Anne Franz

Anne has over 10 years of international consulting, corporate and non-profit experience focused on leading change, strategy and innovation in complex environments and systems. She was a founding board member of an innovative non-profit, Exodus Lending, which developed and scaled a first of its kind solution to refinance payday borrowers and break the cycle of payday loan debt.

Breakout Session: Sacred Settlements: A Community First Approach to Homelessness

Annie McCabe, MN Office of Economic Opportunity

Annie McCabe is a Homeless Grant Manager with the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) with the MN Department of Human Services. As part of the OEO Housing team, she is the lead for the Transitional Housing Program (THP). A strong believer that affordable, safe, permanent housing is a basic human right. Within her position, Annie works to advocate for solutions that will achieve the goal of ending homelessness and housing instability for all people in the state of MN. Prior to joining OEO, Annie has worked for CommonBond Communities, St. Paul Public Schools, Chisago County Health and Human Services Behavioral Health Unit, and Amherst H. Wilder Foundation serving and supporting individuals and families in achieving their goals. Outside of work, she spends her time being a forever home to Wayne and Rosey, rescue dogs who were in need of unconditional love.

Breakout Session: Transitional Housing Program and Its Elevation to End Housing Instability

Ben Weiss, Southern MN Regional Legal Services

A former MCH Board member, Ben Weiss is a Senior Attorney in the Economic Justice Unit at the St. Paul office of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc. He practices in the area of public benefits, including Unemployment Insurance, MFIP, Social Security, SNAP and Medical Assistance. He is SMRLS’ main practitioner in the area of homelessness prevention and response, including Emergency Assistance, utility disconnections, and emergency shelter. He has brought appeals and litigation to establish legal protections for shelter residents in Ramsey, Washington and Dakota Counties.

Breakout Session: Emergency Shelter and the Law

Blair Harrison, Minnesota Department of Health

Blair Harrison is the Senior Advisor on Health, Homelessness and Housing at the Minnesota Department of Health. Since March 2020, she has worked with the state’s COVID-19 Homeless Response team. The team aims to respond to COVID-19’s impact on people experiencing homelessness through a person-centered, trauma-effective lens. Blair has worked at the cross-section of data and trauma for over a decade with work experience in homelessness, hospice, substance use and severe persistent illness, pediatric emergency care, and military trauma.

Breakout Session: Minnesota Department of Health Update on Ongoing COVID19 Vaccination and Prevention Measures

Brenda Pritchard, HOPE 4 Youth

Brenda Pritchard is the HOPE Homes Specialist at HOPE 4 Youth, a drop-in serving youth facing homelessness in Anoka, Minnesota. The HOPE Homes program helps stabilize chosen family hosting arrangements by mediating agreements about shared expectations, and providing a monthly stipend and ongoing case management. Brenda brings 18 years experience as a child protection social worker to her work. She practices selfcare by only working four days a week so that she can also breed English golden retrievers and sell her crafts at craft shows. She lives in rural Minnesota with her husband and son. Her adult daughter is a chemical dependency counselor.

Breakout Session: Chosen Family Justice: Addressing barriers and engaging landlords to resource hosting arrangements with a youth’s natural supports

Cathy ten Broeke, Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness

Cathy ten Broeke is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness and Assistant Commissioner at Minnesota Housing. In this role, she works with the Governor and Lt. Governor, multiple state agencies, community partners, and private stakeholders to create a statewide partnership to end homelessness. Cathy has 28 years of experience working on homelessness in both the nonprofit and government sectors, including as an advocate and Shelter Director at St. Stephen’s Human Services, a Hennepin County Commissioner Policy Aide, a Bush Leadership Fellow studying the national movement to end homelessness, the Founder and Director of the Minneapolis/Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness and Project Homeless Connect, and immediately prior to her current role, Cathy served as a Special Advisor to the Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness in Washington, DC. Cathy holds a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.

Breakout Session: Bending Toward Justice: Ending Homelessness as the Pursuit of Housing, Racial and Health Justice

Christina Woodlee, Bridge for Youth

Christina Woodlee joined The Bridge as Program Director in January 2018, bringing 15+ years of leadership experience in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. Soon after joining The Bridge she was promoted to Associate Director, providing leadership to the program and development departments. Christina became the Senior Director of Strategy & Partnerships in May of 2020. Prior to The Bridge she spent nearly a decade with The United Way developing nationally recognized donor affinity groups, including Women United, Emerging Leaders and Arise Project. She began her career at Discovery Creek Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C., as the Special Events and Board Relations Manager, in this capacity focusing on philanthropy advocacy and legislation. Christina graduated with honors from the University of New Mexico with a Master Degree in Public Administration, as well as an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Family Studies.

Breakout Session: A Safe Place for ALL Youth

Daryl Olson, American Indian Community Housing Organization

Daryl Olson has worn many hats in her work within the nonprofit world. Ms. Olson accepted a new position back at AICHO as the Director of Programming in 2019, however Ms. Olson has worked with the American Indian Community Housing Organization since 2013. Prior to her return to AICHO, Ms. Olson was working for Homeless Youth Connection (HYC), a non-profit in Avondale, Arizona providing services in public and charter high schools for students identified as homeless under the McKinney Vento Act. During her time with AICHO, Daryl served many positions including the Family Services Case Manager, Gimaajii Program Coordinator, DV/SA Training Specialist as well as playing a role in the development of procedures and policies for their Property Management Team. She has dedicated much of her time to supporting participants and making sure that all their needs are being met. During her time with AICHO, Daryl developed a children’s program for their permanent supportive housing program and built community collaborations to meet the needs of the children ages birth-18 yrs. old. Daryl has been a spokesperson on societal issues affecting the Native community and has coordinated and developed training for service providers to spread awareness about the complexities of these matters. Olson has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Special Education, which she acquired from the University of Minnesota – Duluth. Originally from Duluth MN, she is a member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe. She takes pride not only in her professional accomplishments, but also in her role as a mother raising two exceptional boys.

Breakout Session: Native History & Indigenous Solutions

David Katzenmeyer, People Incorporated Mental Health Services

David (he/his/him) currently serves at People Incorporated Mental Health Services as a Program Manager with Project Recovery and Street Outreach, and has worked directly with people experiencing unsheltered homelessness for over ten years and additionally serves as the coordinator for Outside-In Outreach, a collaborative program aimed at building new and creative approaches to addressing unsheltered homelessness in downtown St. Paul. Previously, David worked for several years with Youth experiencing homelessness.

Breakout Session: Meeting Them Where They’re At: Understanding the Needs of People experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness

Deb Holman, CHUM

Deb Holman is Duluth’s foremost authority and outreach practitioner to persons camping in the wild or living on the streets of the city. With fierce determination and passionate conviction, she for decades has braved the elements to connect with the unreachable and challenged the system to respond to their unique situation.

Breakout Session: Low Barrier Homeless Shelter: The Highs and Lows

Elena Leomi, Foster Advocates

Elena Leomi (she/her) is the Associate Director, overseeing programming and research platforms. Elena started facilitating youth programs in high school and has a range of experience designing and managing youth programs focused on healthy development and sexuality, leadership, violence prevention, as well as racial and gender equity. She has seen the impact of letting young people lead, and values creating settings where their expertise and voices are heard. Elena is passionate about youth participatory research and advocacy. She brings those values to Foster Advocates while building out our leadership programs, including the annual Fellowship, and research platform. Elena holds a MSW and MPH from UC Berkeley and consults on research projects around youth civic engagement and modeling consent in after-school programs. In her spare time, she likes to play in her garden, cook spicy food, and explore the outdoors with her spouse.

Breakout Session: Foster Care: a Critical Piece of the Homelessness Puzzle

Elizabeth Dressel, MN Interagency Council on Homelessness

Elizabeth Dressel is the newest member of the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness team and serves as the Implementation Specialist and Equity Coordinator. Elizabeth is a licensed social worker and holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining the Council, Elizabeth was a Senior Planner with the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, Policy Coordinator and Director of Federal Relations for former Governor Mark Dayton, and Regional Organizing Director with Minnesotans United for All Families.

Breakout Session: Bending Toward Justice: Ending Homelessness as the Pursuit of Housing, Racial and Health Justice

Elsa Swenson, Missions Inc.

Elsa Swenson (she/her) joined Missions Inc. Programs in 2016 as the Program Manager for the Home Free Community Program. Elsa provides oversight and direction for the domestic assault intervention project and leads a staff of advocates in providing criminal and civil legal advocacy to individuals and families impacted by domestic violence. Her background and experience include several years in human services, ranging from working with vulnerable adults, at-risk youth, pregnant and parenting teenage mothers in transitional housing, to domestic and sexual violence legal advocacy and family services for families with children impacted by child abuse. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of Minnesota – Duluth.

Breakout Session: Safety & Stability: Meeting Clients at the Intersection of Homelessness, Chemical Dependency, and Domestic Violence

Eric Grumdahl, Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness

Eric Grumdahl serves as Deputy Director of the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness, supporting the State’s pandemic response for people experiencing homelessness and the work of 14 Cabinet-level agencies to prevent and end homelessness and create housing stability for all Minnesotans. In his previous roles for the Council, Eric led the Homework Starts with Home initiative for the Minnesota Department of Education, focused on achieving housing stability for all Minnesota students, and served as Special Advisor on Ending Veteran Homelessness with Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, driving statewide efforts to end Veteran homelessness. Prior to his state service, Eric was Policy Director for the U. S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Housing Manager for Dakota County, and Director of Information, Evaluation, and Regional Community Relations for Hearth Connection.

Breakout Session: Bending Toward Justice: Ending Homelessness as the Pursuit of Housing, Racial and Health Justice

Eric Gustafson, Family Housing Fund

Eric Gustafson is a program officer at the Family Housing Fund, where he collaborates with renter communities, the rental housing industry, local government, and many others. In this role, he leads work to ensure homes in the region are safe and healthy while also reducing involuntary moves and displacement. He also works to improve the accuracy and fairness of tenant selection systems while helping applicants improve their ability to secure quality affordable housing. Additionally, Eric leads efforts to expand access to homes for households using rental subsidies. Prior to joining FHFund, he spent five years in engineering and architecture, and then 12 years in community development as an executive director and neighborhood organizer achieving policy and built environment outcomes in affordable housing, land use and transportation, local food systems, and economic development. Eric holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from North Dakota State University and a Master of Public Affairs from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Breakout Session: Opening the Door: The Role of Screening Practices used by Landlords and Where They Need to Change

Erica Valliant, People Serving People

Erica is responsible for managing a Core Team of stakeholders in a learning process and partnership to explore the problem of family homelessness that overwhelmingly impacts African American and Native American families through a whole systems approach, exploring areas that include childcare and quality early-learning education and preventing the re-occurrence of the experience of family homelessness. She is a member of the Regional Expert Network a table of people with lived experience of homelessness and providers working to help end homelessness. Erica came to People Serving People after serving as a Community Engagement Specialist for the Science Museum of Minnesota, where she continues to support projects. She is also a parent organizer with Education Partnerships Coalition, a grantee through the StriveTogether’s Cradle to Career Community Challenge Strategic Initiatives Fund. Her professional background includes financial services, insurance, and telecommunications. Erica graduated from the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s Neighborhood Leadership Program, Community Equity Program, and at Nexus Community Partners Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute and is the Chair of the Summit University Planning Council Board of Directors. She serves on Ramsey County’s Low-Income Committee Citizens Advisory Council, Victoria Theater Board of Directors, Parent Council, and is President of her children’s school P.T.A. She also is a trained circle keeper. In 2018 Erica received an Unsung Hero award presented by Minnesota Communities Caring for Children. She is a mother of three and Chicago native who has lived in Minnesota for over 15 years.

Breakout Session: Trauma Informed Care: Supporting Whole Family Systems on the Path to Liberation

Gabrielle Clowdus, Settled

Gabrielle is a research fellow and PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota studying housing and homelessness. Concurrent with Gabrielle’s dissertation, she was hired by a large healthcare system and the University of Minnesota to look at homelessness in the Twin Cities. There was a growing concern around the homeless population using the Emergency Room as a place of refuge. Gabrielle began a multi-year investigation into how we might respond to homelessness more productively. Gabrielle co-founded the national non-profit Settled as a response to the enormous barriers to housing the homeless by generating affordable housing in an intentional community environment through private funding, religious land federally protected against NIMBYism, purposeful work opportunities, and missional neighbors who live and serve alongside the formerly homeless. She has devoted her studies, travels, and career to walking alongside people in poverty recognizing that her own privilege comes with responsibility and more importantly, a profound conviction that we belong to one another.

Breakout Session: Sacred Settlements: A Community First Approach to Homelessness

Heather Jeseritz, United Community Action Partnership

Heather Jeseritz serves as the Community Services Director at United Community Action Partnership (UCAP). She has worked for UCAP for 20 years, working with families in need and those living in poverty in rural Minnesota. Ms. Jeseritz is also the Board Chair for Meeker Area Ministries, a Non-Profit that creates and uses innovative strategies specific to the rural homeless population to increase self-sufficiency and obtain stable housing, and she serves on the Board for the Meeker County Hospital Foundation. She is a nationally trained trainer for Social Security disability application assistance along with family advocacy. Ms. Jeseritz studied Human Services at St Cloud State University and lives in Starbuck, MN.

Breakout Session: All Hands on Deck: Strategies for Mobilizing Resources for Quick Response to Crises

Helina Haile, CloseKnit

Helina Haile is the Director of the Chosen Family Justice Initiative at CloseKnit. She works on developing resources and creating racially equitable policy proposals to support caring adults, especially renters, who are hosting youth facing homelessness. As an Ethiopian-American immigrant peace builder, she hopes to use law and policy as a transformative tool to pursue justice as healing for individuals and communities. As a scholar-activist, her commitment to a justice that heals is rooted in a belief that justice is a generational project, a claim to her descendants that is inspired by her ancestors, both blood and chosen. Helina has a B.A in International Studies and Political Science and an M.A in Global Affairs – International Peace Studies.

Breakout Session: Chosen Family Justice: Addressing Barriers and engaging Landlords to Resource Hosting Arrangements with a Youth’s Natural Supports

Hibo Ali, Office of Economic Opportunity

Hibo Ali is a senior majoring in Political Science and Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance at the University of Minnesota. She was an Urban Scholars intern this past summer at the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) with the Minnesota Department of Human Services working under Annie McCabe. At OEO, Hibo worked on finding ways to reform the Transitional Housing Program (THP) in Minnesota. Prior to OEO, Hibo was a policy intern at Minnesota Housing Partnership and a Women Winning Political Leaders of Tomorrow (PLOT) program intern. Hibo is passionate about housing and education policy and, outside of university and work, serves on the board of a public charter school in Northeast Minneapolis

Breakout Session: Transitional Housing Program and Its Elevation to End Housing Instability

Hoang Murphy, Foster Advocates

Hoang Murphy (he/him) is Foster Advocates’ Founder and Executive Director. A former high school English teacher, he has seen the importance of amplifying student and family voices. Hoang also has had the honor of serving as the Public Policy Fellow with the United States Department of Education in the last year of the Obama Administration. As a Foster he knows that children and families must, and absolutely can, have a seat at the policymaking table. At Foster Advocates, he works to ensure that those most impacted by current inequities have a voice in making decisions and crafting solutions. Hoang is a proud first-generation college graduate, with a B.A. from Syracuse University, where he majored in Policy Studies, and an M.S., Ed. from the Johns Hopkins University. In his spare time, he likes to brag about the Eastside of St. Paul, cook, and try to be the person his dog thinks he is.

Breakout Session: Foster Care: a Critical Piece of the Homelessness Puzzle

Jacqueline White, CloseKnit

Jacqueline White is the founder and Executive Director of CloseKnit (closeknit.us), which champions system change to invest in chosen family hosting arrangements for youth facing homelessness. Jacqueline is an identical twin and a smitten foster grandma to five fabulous siblings. She loves doing almost anything outdoors—even in the winter in Minnesota.

Breakout Session: Chosen Family Justice: Addressing Barriers and engaging Landlords to Resource Hosting Arrangements with a Youth’s Natural Supports

James Weaver, Radias

James Weaver is the outreach and engagement worker for the Radias Healthcare RUSH Program in the Ramsey County shelter system.

Breakout Session: A Glimpse of What Could Be: Outreach Reflections From Ramsey County On Homelessness and the Shelter System During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jen Small, Aeon

Jen Small is passionate about building communities that work for everyone. A Real Estate Project Manager for Aeon, one of the largest affordable rental housing providers in the State, Jen works to create and preserve affordable rental housing. She oversees the full lifecycle of development projects from securing subsidized funding, navigating public approvals, and building meaningful partnerships that help meet the needs of future residents. From constructing new buildings to rehabilitating historic properties, she works on a range of affordable housing projects including supportive housing, workforce housing, and Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH).

Breakout Session: Community Housing with Services Innovations to Reduce & Prevent Homelessness

Jensina Rosen, Department of Human Services

Jensina Rosen is the Housing Policy Consultant for the Minnesota Department of Human Services Housing and Support Services Division. Jensina supports the Housing Stabilization Services Team with implementation of Housing Stabilization Services. She has nearly fifteen years’ experience in program and policy development, grant writing, compliance, and advocacy in a variety of fields including criminal justice, higher education, sex offender treatment, and homelessness/housing. Jensina received her Master of Social Work from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Breakout Session: First Year Population Trends and Provider Influenced Improvements to Housing Stabilization Services

Joel Kilgour, CHUM

Joel Kilgour is Director of CHUM’s Warming Centers, a member of the Loaves and Fishes Community, and a tireless advocate on behalf of persons struggling with poverty, homelessness and housing insecurity. His work and commitment have saved many lives from the brutal subzero winter conditions in the northern region.

Breakout Session: Low Barrier Homeless Shelter: The Highs and Lows

John Petroskas, MN Department of Human Services

John Petroskas is a policy specialist at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. He has worked in housing and homelessness for over 20 years. Before joining DHS, he worked at Catholic Charities. John also enjoys doing trainings on engaging reluctant clients and resolving ethical dilemmas.

Breakout Session: General Assistance and Minnesota Supplemental Aid: Two Programs You Should Know More About

Jordon Johnson, Life House

Jordon Johnson, PhD, is a researcher, educator and community health leader committed to creating, implementing, and sustaining innovate strategies and practices to advance the health and wellness of individuals, families and communities. His work is embedded in establishing relationships and collaborative partnerships that are result oriented, which is critical to enhancing the vision and mission of organizations, programs and projects. Jordon considers himself a lead learner and effectively creates an environment to elevate human capital through professional and personal enhancement.

Breakout Session: Our Emerging Leaders – Elevating Youth Voices

Joseph Schaber, Workforce Development, Inc.

Joseph R. (Jody) Schaber works at Workforce Development, Inc in Rochester MN for the past 27 years in Rochester, MN as a Career Planner. He offers career guidance to indivuals and families that have limited financial resources (TANF), dislocated works in the community, & specializes in career planning for the Trades Career Pathway. Jody’s career guidance through the years has assisted the job seekers enter livable wage jobs and replace wages that have been lost. His workplace motto: I serve heart beats and souls. He understands the intersectionality of homelessness, stabilizing housing, and employment in SE MN. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Science and has obtained his graduate level Leadership and Training Development Certificate from Winona State University (December 2020). Jody has his Global Career Development Facilitation credential (2005). He is active with the local Workforce Development Board and Leadership Greater Rochester through the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Jody is a member of the Minnesota Career Development Association (MCDA) and is currently a Trustee completing a one-year term. Jody is a national recognized presenter and had honor of presenting this topic at National Career Development Conference (NCDA) in summer 2020. He also presented at the Better together Conference, November 8th, 20218 on Increasing Success to Income and jobs.

Breakout Session: Families Living in the Crisis of Poverty: A Guide to Moving Beyond a Livable Wage into a Career Pathway

Josh Leopold MN Department of Human Services

Josh Leopold is a public health planner for the Minnesota Department of Health focused on the COVID-19 response for people experiencing homelessness and other residents of congregate settings. Prior to joining MDH, Josh worked at The Urban Institute researching homelessness and affordable housing.

Breakout Session: Update on Ongoing COVID19 Vaccination and Prevention Measures

Julie Vena, Recovery Alliance Duluth

Julie is a person in long term recovery from a Substance Use Disorder. He is also a person who has overcome having a criminal background. Julie is the co founder of the Recovery Alliance Duluth. Which offers a variety of Peer Recovery Supports and recovery events to Duluth and surrounding Counties. Julie is a Peer Recovery Specialist herself, Peer Supervisor and trainer. With her help Recovery Alliance Duluth has become the premier place in Duluth to access recovery services and events.

Breakout Session: Understanding Peer Recovery Support

Justin McNeal, Minnesota Recovery Connection

Justin is a person in long term recovery from a Substance Use Disorder. He is also a person who has overcome having a criminal background. This has allowed him to be a Mental Health/SUD Peer Specialist and trainer. He also manages a program at Minnesota Recovery Connection that allows his to help people with criminal backgrounds find/sustain recovery and connect to community resources.

Breakout Session: Understanding Peer Recovery Support

Justin Vorbach, SW Continuum of Care

Justin Vorbach lived and worked at a shelter in Houston, did street outreach in Boston, and was part of a permanent supportive housing program in Minneapolis. He is currently the Southwest Minnesota Continuum of Care Coordinator. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Washington in 1992.

Breakout Session: Native History & Indigenous Solutions

Kate Erickson, MN Department of Corrections

The DOC Reentry Services team is committed to engagement with community partners to increase access to resources, programs and services that persons who are engaged within the corrections system need in order to thrive and live successful lives. This team of passionate and committed professionals are committed to work within the following areas of focus: evidence-based programs and restorative justice; facility case planning & transitions services; early release programs; partnerships with supervision agencies and community partners; and community stability and supports.

Breakout Session: Attacking the Issue from the Inside: Preventing and Ending Homelessness within the Corrections System

Kathy Hermes, Lutheran Social Services Duluth

Kathy Hermes, based from Duluth, works for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota in youth programming. She is the Coordinator of Together for Youth, a social support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, two spirit and allied youths. She also coordinates the LSS Teen Health Center providing harm reduction education and supplies as well as HIV testing. Kathy has a B. S. degree from Saint Cloud State University in Science Education and was a high school Life Science teacher for 19 years.

Breakout Sessions: Outbreaks, Outreach and Better Outcomes – The State of HIV in Minnesota | It’s OK To Call Us Queer And Other Things To Know About Us

Kim Randolph, CHUM

Kim Randolph has been with CHUM for as long as some of our shelter guests have been alive. She holds a Masters Degree in Social Work and directs CHUM’s Stabilization Services with maternal instinct, comprehensive knowledge of her field, and the insight of experience.

Breakout Session: Low Barrier Homeless Shelter: The Highs and Lows

Kizzy Downie, Model Cities

Kizzy Downie is the Chief Executive Officer at Model Cities of St. Paul, Inc., a 53 year old nonprofit organization dedicated to providing affordable housing, economic development services and an array of social services that help stabilize families and communities. Before becoming CEO, Ms. Downie worked at Model Cities for 12 years and served in a number of roles. Prior to joining Model Cities, Ms. Downie was employed at Girls Incorporated of Central Alabama as a Program Coordinator of adolescent pregnancy prevention and education programs. Ms. Downie holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Community Planning and Development from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Ms. Downie serves on the Board of Directors of Heading Home Ramsey, Land Bank Twin Cities and sits on the Advisory Council of the Future Services Institute – an initiative of the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. A native of Alabama, Ms. Downie has lived in the Twin Cities since 2006.

Breakout Session: Bring it Home, MN: Taking Action to End Housing Instability for All

Kristen Rosenberger, Greater Twin Cities United Way

Kristen Rosenberger is the Director of Advocacy and External Engagement at Greater Twin Cities United Way, providing support and leadership for the organization’s policy agenda driving equitable systems change that is aligned with its strategic focus areas. Kristen joined United Way in 2012 where she managed partnerships with the Start Early Funders Coalition and MinneMinds to create aligned, state-wide efforts to ensure all children are prepared for kindergarten and lifelong success. Kristen received her degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder and has resided in the Twin Cities for the past 18 years which she considers home. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, traveling near and far, and taking advantage of the outdoors year-round.

Breakout Session: Navigating Corporate and Non-Profit Partnerships

La’Kisha Hollmon-Griffin, Bridge for Youth

La’Kisha Hollmon-Griffin joined The Bridge in 2019 as an on-call Youth & Family Advocate in Marlene’s Place, in October 2020 she was promoted to Program Director where she oversees all programming at The Bridge. She has 20+ years of experience providing supportive services to youth and families in the Twin Cities metro. Prior to The Bridge, La’Kisha was Program Coordinator for the Girls Resolution and Prevention (RAP) program at the YWCA. She has also been a foster parent in Hennepin County, worked for Minneapolis Public Schools, and has volunteered for several community service agencies. La’Kisha holds multiple professional certifications, including Youth Program Quality Assessor, Youth Intervention Certification, Sexual Health Adolescent Risk Prevention and Racial Justice Facilitator.

Breakout Session: Disrupting the Cycle of Intergenerational Homelessness

Laura Harder, Private Practice

Laura Harder, founder of Happy With Work, LLC, is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Therapist and Psychology instructor at Metropolitan State University. As a researcher, she explores the causes of burnout in people-work and the effect of practitioner stress on their success with clients. By using psychology theory to create self-care techniques, Laura’s presentation style is as warm and interactive as it is informative. She believes self-care is a lens we use rather than a “thing we do.”

Breakout Session: The Revolving Door Effect: Motivation and Burnout in Homeless Services

Laura Phelps, Streetworks

Laura has been a part of the StreetWorks admin team for 2.5 years, as a Collaborative Administrator. Previous roles have given her experience in services for people fleeing domestic violence and exploitation, mental health residential services, and youth housing and homeless services.

Breakout Session: Opioid Overdose Prevention and Response Training

LeAnn Littlewolf, Northland Foundation

LeAnn Littlewolf (she/her), Anishinaabe/Maa’iingan doodem, Gaa-zagaskwaajimekaag Tribal Nation, is a Senior Program Officer at the Northland Foundation. LeAnn works on Maada’ookiing (the ‘distribution’ in Ojibwe), which is a grassroots grantmaking initiative in partnership with Tribal Nations and Indigenous community. LeAnn has worked for 30 years in nonprofit, community organizing, and advocacy roles. With a Master degree in Political Leadership & Advocacy and a Master degree in Education, LeAnn brings a commitment to cultural and community-based strategies, equity, and Seventh Generation principles. LeAnn lives and works in Duluth.

Breakout Session: Native History & Indigenous Solutions

Maia Uhrich, MN Department of Human Services

Maia Uhrich has a Master of Social Work and Master of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota. She has a background of direct service providing case management support to Minnesotans experiencing homelessness in Hennepin and Ramsey counties. She now works as the Policy and Training Specialist on the Housing Support team at DHS.

Breakout Session: Housing Support: New Eligibility and Access

Mark Caldwell, MN Department of Human Services

Mark Caldwell is a Housing Policy Consultant for the Minnesota Department of Human Services Housing and Support Services Division currently working on the new Medicaid-funded Housing Stabilization Services. He has worked on the implementation of primary care health models, and worked with communities and non-profit organizations across the Midwest to advocate for healthy food systems. Mark received his PhD in Sociology and Public Health from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Breakout Session: First Year Population Trends and Provider Influenced Improvements to Housing Stabilization Services

Martha Thomford, Workforce Development

Martha Thomford has 23 years of experience working as a Career Planner at Workforce Development, Inc. in Rochester, MN. Her primary focus is working with families living in the crisis of poverty and assisting them in identifying a career pathway. Utilizing her training & expertise Martha is committed to moving families into livable wage career, and out of poverty. She is an active member of the Homeless Community Network in Olmsted County. She has a master’s degree in Professional Development from Winona State University (2017), which she specialized in Multicultural Education. She obtained her master’s level Training & Development Certificate from the Winona State University (December 2020). She is national recognized presenter on families living in the crisis of poverty & the career pathway concept. She had the honor of presenting at the National Career Development Conference (NCDA) in 2019 & 2020 on these topics. Martha is an advocate and lifetime learner. She enjoys connecting job seekers with resources and career path opportunities in her service delivery area in SE MN.

Breakout Session: Families Living in the Crisis of Poverty: A Guide to Moving Beyond a Livable Wage into a Career Pathway

Mary O’Neil, Olmsted County Housing Department

Mary O’Neil is the Program Manager for the Housing Stability Team of Olmsted County. She has her LICSW and has 20+ years of experience in the community behavioral health field.

Breakout Session: Olmsted County’s Collaborative Response to Covid-19

Maura McGarry, Missions Inc.

Maura McGarry (she/her) joined Missions Inc. as the Judy Retterath Withdrawal Management Program Director in the Fall of 2020. Maura received her Bachelor of Science in Geography and Master of Social Work from Arizona State University. Maura worked with veterans experiencing homelessness with the Phoenix Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center until relocating to Minnesota in 2016, and spent several years providing case management and therapy services through the Addiction Recovery Services clinic with the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. Since 2013, she has worked in numerous direct practice and management positions both within the VA Health Care System and community organizations throughout Arizona and Minnesota, including serving as a National Consultant for Transgender Affirming Health Care within the VA. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Certified Clinical Social Work Licensing Supervisor in the state of Minnesota.

Breakout Session: Safety & Stability: Meeting Clients at the Intersection of Homelessness, Chemical Dependency, and Domestic Violence

Michele Smith, US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Michele K. Smith has been working for the Federal Government for over 25 years. She began her career as a Presidential Management Intern with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthcare for the Homeless Program in Washington, DC. She then moved to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) where she has served in several different capacities, including Senior Community Planning and Development Representative in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Director of Community Planning and Development in Minneapolis. Ms. Smith currently occupies the position of Field Office Director for HUD’s Minneapolis Field Office. She received a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Iowa and an M.A. in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.

Breakout Session: Challenges and Opportunities: The Emergency Housing Voucher Program

Michelle Decker Gerrard, Wilder Foundation

Michelle (she/her/hers) has worked for over 25 years as a community-based evaluator for dozens of programs, with a particular focus on individuals and families experiencing a variety of risk factors including mental health and complex health issues, chemical dependency, and homelessness. Michelle leads a team that coordinates a one-night statewide snapshot of Minnesota’s homeless population every three years. As part of this research, Michelle has co-authored reports on LGBTQ homelessness (see http://www.mnhomeless.org for copies of both reports). In addition, Michelle collaborated with youth serving organizations and tpt to produce a documentary, Homeless Youth: Finding Home, that has aired multiple times on public television and was nominated for an Emmy. Previously, Michelle worked as a risk and prevention counselor and wraparound facilitator for youth with mental health conditions. Michelle has a Master’s degree in Education, with a focus on risk and prevention, from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Breakout Sessions: Tailoring Services to the Strengths and Needs of LGBTQ+ Youth and Adults experiencing Homelessness | Meeting Them Where They’re At: Understanding the Needs of People experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness

Michelle Jensen, United Community Action Partnership

Michelle Jensen, CCAP, currently serves as the Family Services Manager for United Community Action Partnership (UCAP) and has been with the agency for 24 years. In her current role, Ms. Jensen has successfully lead a growing team to expand programs and services to new counties, opened up new outreach offices, tax sites, etc. She currently serves as a Board Member for the Southwest Crisis Center, and is a nationally-certified ROMA Trainer. Ms. Jensen studied Sociology at Southwest MN State University and lives in Estherville, IA.

Breakout Session: All Hands on Deck: Strategies for Mobilizing Resources for Quick Response to Crises

Michelle L Wincell OLeary, Touchstone Mental Health

Michelle Wincell O’Leary, MA, LICSW is Vice President of Community Housing Services at Touchstone Mental Health. Michelle has developed innovative new housing models both scattered site and single site residential settings using a variety of DHS Medicaid/HCBS/Waiver services, using a variety of housing subsidies, and through partnering with a variety of housing developers, landlords and property managers over the last decade. Community Housing Services are grounded in dignity, respect, inclusivity and welcoming healing environments that honor each indivdiual’s journey and persective. Services are provided though interprofessional collaborative team based care models, are trauma informed and serve 50% BIPOC individuals. Mental health, physical health and social health supports, training and services are offered to meet the needs of those served, many of whom have experienced chronic homelessness. Addressing social determinants of health, reducing hospitalizations, improving quality of life and increasing housing stability are key focus areas.

Breakout Session: Community Housing with Services Innovations to Reduce & Prevent Homelessness

Michelle Seymore, Michelle Seymore Consulting

Michelle D. Seymore has over 15 years of public service experience working in various roles to provide mandated services for system-involved families. Currently, Michelle is a Human Services Manager in Children and Family Services for Hennepin County. She spent most of her direct service practice in Child Protection Case Management. Michelle continues efforts to decrease disparities within child welfare by collaborating with the University of Minnesota Center for Advanced Studies in Child welfare on curriculum development and training professionals.

Breakout Session: Moral Injury, Homelessness, and Human Services

Molly Jalma, Listening House

Molly Jalma is the Executive Director for Listening House of St. Paul, a two-location day shelter and drop-in center for people experiencing homelessness and/or in need of services and supports. Molly has an extensive history in housing and services for individuals and families. With a Master’s in Nonprofit Management, Molly is an experienced business leader with specialized focus in change management.

Breakout Session: From NIMBY to YIMBY, Yes in My Backyard!

Nate Cannon, Private Practice

Nate Cannon, BA, MFA, CDP is a nationally recognized speaker, consultant, and author who educates consumers and professionals through his experiences as a transgender man living with both mental illness and an unseen physical disability. He has over ten years of experience working with dementia, law, mental health, and chemical dependency. To learn more about his work, visit: natecannon.org

Breakout Session: Finding Home: Housing Challenges Facing the Transgender Community

Nicque Mabrey, People Serving People

Nicque Mabrey, Community Engagement Manager People Serving People Nicque is responsible for managing community engagement through our robust community partnership program, trauma informed care community capacity building, supporting guests in leading our Civic Engagement, and developing an organizing model unique to families experiencing homelessness. She is a Community and Cultural Organizer, proud to be building power in Minnesota for over 15 years. Nicque holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from The College of St. Scholastica. Previously, Nicque served in Elections at Hennepin County, GOTV Coordinator with MN Voice, and Associate Director of Policy for Outfront Minnesota. She is passionate about healing work through intersectional, multi-generational racial justice movements that center youth and families. Nicque is a past Board Chair with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and Leader with Take Action Minnesota. They grew up in rural Wisconsin and now live in St. Paul.

Breakout Session: Trauma Informed Care: Supporting Whole Family Systems on the Path to Liberation

Princess Kisob, Missions Inc.

Programs Princess Awa-ada Kisob (she/her) joined the Missions Inc. team as the Home Free Program Director in fall of 2020. Princess has an International Relations degree from the University of Minnesota – Duluth and has spent Princess Awa-ada Kisob (she/her) joined the Missions Inc. team as the Home Free Program Director in fall of 2020. Princess has an International Relations degree from the University of Minnesota – Duluth and has spent several years working with and serving various nonprofits in northeast Minnesota. Princess has extensive history working in youth development and community-based family services.

Breakout Session: Safety & Stability: Meeting Clients at the Intersection of Homelessness, Chemical Dependency, and Domestic Violence

Raj Sethuraju, Metropolitan State University

Raj is a recovering criminologist, alcoholic, and survivor of sexual abuse, with over 20 years of community-based activism as a researcher and educator. Inspired by our youth’s resilience and the men in our prison systems, he trains school staff, probation agents, community members, and justice personnel on restorative practices, trauma and healing, value-centered leadership, community building, and unpacking implicit biases. He believes in raising consciousness utilizing the restorative circle process. In his latest work, raj explores our justice system’s depths and creates a framework in which knowledge, critical consciousness, and heart become the root of our practices.

Breakout Session: Critical Consciousness – A Pathway to Understanding the Issues, Process the Concerns and Resolve Together.

Rich Gehrke, MA Lutheran Social Services

Richard has worked with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota in Duluth since 2016 starting as a street outreach worker and has been in his current role as Program Coordinator and Case Manager for an emergency shelter program for homeless youth since 2018. Prior to working with LSS, Richard worked for Lake Superior College as a faculty member teaching sociology and the former Woodland Hills in Duluth in their Community Transition Program. Richard holds a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from MSU-Mankato and a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with a Political Science minor from UW-Superior. Richard has previously presented at the Midwest Sociological Society Annual Meeting and currently serves on the MSS Sociological Practice Committee.

Breakout Session: Voices from the Street

Rinal Ray, People Serving People

Rinal Ray is the CEO at People Serving People. She leads a dynamic team in responding to the crisis of family homelessness and works to change systems to prevent the experience of family homelessness in Hennepin County. Rinal is a former deputy public policy director for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits where she advanced the organization’s policy agenda at a state and local level, trained leaders on nonprofit advocacy, and lead special legal projects for the statewide association. Rinal currently serves as a co-chair for the Voices & Choices Coalition for Children and is on the Board of College Possible Minnesota. She teaches Nonprofit Advocacy in the Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) program at Metropolitan State University.

Breakout Session: Bring it Home, MN: Taking Action to End Housing Instability for All

Ryan Berg, Avenues for Youth

Ryan Berg (he/him/his) started as a youth worker in 2004 and is currently the program manager for the ConneQT Host Home Program of Avenues for Youth. ConneQT provides LGBTQI+ youth culturally responsive housing within their community of choice. In ConneQT, youth choose which community member they live with and those community members provide housing and food while Avenues provides wrap-around services and support. Ryan is also the author of No House to Call My Home: Love, Family and Other Transgressions, winner the Minnesota Book Award for General Nonfiction, the NCCD Media for a Just Society Award, and was listed as a Top 10 LGBTQ Book of 2016 by the American Library Association. He lives in Minneapolis with his two dogs, River and Jack.

Breakout Session: Tailoring Services to the Strengths and Needs of LGBTQ+ Youth and Adults experiencing Homelessness

Sara Fleetham, Listening House of St. Paul, Inc.

Sara is a Humphrey grad and management professional with a passion for collaborative public engagement for the common good. Demonstrated success in program management with public and private partnerships and working with divers populations and skill sets.

Breakout Session: From NIMBY to YIMBY, Yes in my Backyard!

Sarah Busch, Missions Inc.

Sarah Busch (she/her) joined Missions Inc. Programs in 2017 as the Development Associate and transitioned to Community Engagement & Outreach Coordinator in 2020. Sarah is responsible for advocating a comprehensive community response to domestic violence, homelessness, and substance abuse through legislative advocacy, community education, systems advocacy, evaluation, and training. Sarah has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan and is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker. Her prior work experience includes PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, Saint Paul Youth Services, and Saint Olaf College, where she taught undergraduate social work courses as an adjunct professor.

Breakout Session: Safety & Stability: Meeting Clients at the Intersection of Homelessness, Chemical Dependency, and Domestic Violence

Sarah Miller, Minnesota Asset Building Coalition

Sarah Miller is the Civic Engagement Associate for the Minnesota Asset Building Coalition. In this role, she builds connections with MABC members across the state to engage them in advocacy. Sarah has worked with a variety of nonprofits in New Orleans, Nashville, and Omaha, most recently serving Episcopal churches in Nebraska. Earlier this year she completed a Master of Professional Studies in Arts & Cultural Leadership and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management at the University of Minnesota.

Breakout Session: Legislative Advocacy for Systemic Change

Sarah Radosevich, General Mills

Sarah Radosevich is the Manager of Issues Management and Stakeholder Relations for General Mills, responsible for supporting the company’s efforts to understand the future of corporate social responsibility and prepare for it today. As part of the Government and Public Affairs department, she also supports key policy and community relations initiatives in Minnesota. Radosevich holds a Master in Public Policy from Duke University.

Breakout Session: Navigating Corporate and Nonprofit Partnerships

Shana Tomenes, Housing Justice Center

Shana Tomenes is an attorney and an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Target Corporation. Shana works with low-income tenants and community organizations to protect and expand access to affordable housing through litigation and public policy. Shana attended the University of St. Thomas School of Law and graduated magna cum laude in 2019. During law school, she was the Managing Editor of the St. Thomas Law Journal, volunteered with the restorative justice program Washington County Community Circles, and clerked at the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office. She was also a student attorney at the University of St. Thomas School of Law Appellate Clinic, where she represented a federal prisoner seeking relief in a civil appeal, and successfully argued the case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Before joining the Housing Justice Center in September 2020, Shana was a judicial law clerk to Justice G. Barry Anderson and Justice Paul Thissen at the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Breakout Session: Opening the Door: The Role of Screening Practices used by Landlords and Where they Need to Change

Sue Purchase, Harm Reductions Sisters

Sue Purchase has 20+ years of experience in harm reduction. Her expertise encompasses strategic planning, capacity building, and organizational development. She created the first comprehensive harm reduction program with a syringe exchange called Women With a Point-Access Works in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was instrumental in the day-to-day operations of the first needle exchange program in Tacoma, Washington. She was the founding board chair of Project Safe in Philadelphia, Pennsylvian. She also established a syringe access program in the rural mountain area of Clear Creek County, Colorado. Sue spent time as an operations manager in North Carolina helping to develop and implement harm reductions programs before returning to her home state of Minnesota. She is currently building Harm Reduction Sisters, a nonprofit dedicated to serving the needs of people using drugs in rural Northeastern Minnesota. Harm Reduction Sisters currently offers mobile syringe access and Narcan distribution throughout St. Louis and Carlton Counties, the counties with the highest racial disparity of overdose and HIV/Hep C infection in the state.

Breakout Session: Outbreaks, Outreach and Better Outcomes – The State of HIV in Minnesota

Tammy Moreland, MN Tribal Collaborative

Chairperson of the Minnesota Tribal Collaborative to Prevent and End Homelessness.

Breakout Session: Emerging and Evolving through Homelessness in Indian Country

Taylor McClung, MSW, LGSW Lutheran Social Services

Taylor is a program manager at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota in Duluth. She helps oversee the Oh No! 18 program, Teen Closet, Duluth Youth Leadership Council, and the CFCL Permanent Supportive Housing program. Taylor is a graduate from the University of Minnesota Duluth Master of Social Work program, where she is now an adjunct instructor. During her time at the University of Minnesota Duluth, she was awarded the Child Welfare Scholarship and the Graduate Council Teaching Fellowship. Taylor is very passionate about working with young adults and strives to work alongside them to reach their goals and make important changes in policies and systems.

Breakout Session: Voices from the Street

Timothy Thompson, Housing Justice Center

Tim is a Senior Attorney and former President of the Housing Justice Center, a Minnesota public interest law firm focused on affordable housing. For over 40 years Tim has been working to preserve and expand access to affordable housing for low income families, through litigation, policy advocacy, research and analysis.

Breakout Session: Opening the Door: The Role of Screening Practices used by Landlords and Where they Need to Change

Trent Fluegel, Olmsted County Housing Department

Trent Fluegel is a Housing Resource Coordinator with the Housing Stability Team of Olmsted County. He has 20+ years of experience working in housing/homelessness, primarily in the nonprofit sector.

Breakout Session: Olmsted County’s Collaborative Response to Covid-19

Warlance Miner, The Bridge

Warlance Miner joined The Bridge in 2017 as a Youth & Family Advocate, in 2019 his role was expanded and today he is a Youth & Family Advocate/Diversity Specialist. Prior to The Bridge, he was the Assistance Youth Activities Coordinator at Ginewa/Golden Eagles where he worked to strengthen “sense of identify” and self-esteem of American Indian youth through mentoring. Before that he was a Community Outreach Coordinator at American Indian Student Cultural Center. He holds BA in Communication Studies from the University of Minnesota.

Breakout Session: A Safe Place for ALL Youth