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Eric Samuels

President & CEO

Eric has over seventeen years of experience working with local, state and national organizations on the development of services and housing for persons experiencing homelessness. After college, he moved from Arkansas to Austin to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA member for two years, his second as VISTA Leader at THN in 1998. After working for four years at the Enterprise Foundation, primarily on advocacy efforts for people with disabilities, Eric served as the AmeriCorps Coordinator for the program that became Keep Austin Housed at the then newly opened Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH).

In 2004, Eric moved back to his home state to be near family and took a job as Executive Director for Seven Hills Homeless Center in Fayetteville, AR. Before his departure back to Austin in 2006, the agency was near completion on constructing a new PSH and TH program, and Eric had provided the framework for moving the day center to its current location. From 2006 to 2015, Eric guided the development of the TX Balance of State CoC. In August 2015, Mr. Samuels was named President/CEO of Texas Homeless Network. Mr. Samuels holds a Master of Arts in Sociology from Texas State University and received his Bachelors from the University of Arkansas. Eric and his wife Leslie have two young children Maren and Asa.

Kraig Blaize-Fiero

CoC Programs Assistant

Kraig started his career with THN as a volunteer before being placed at THN as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in 2012. During his VISTA service, which ran from 2012-2014, he worked with various homeless coalitions around the Central Texas area helping to raise awareness within the communities and coordinate annual Point In Time surveys. Today he is the CoC programs assistant and helps coordinate daily activities for the TX BoS CoC. Kraig is a Texas native and graduated high school in Johnson City, TX and is currently working on attaining his associate degree in Social Work from Austin Community College.

Sophia Checa

CoC Director

Sophia is the Director of Continuum of Care Programs at THN. In this role, she is responsible for carrying out the strategic direction set by the Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care Board. Sophia believes that no one should experience homelessness therefore, she believes in the universal right to housing and death to capitalism. She has extensive knowledge of systems change, process improvement, data, housing best practices, system performance measurement, and the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program. Prior to graduate school, Sophia worked as the Intake Coordinator for the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP) at Catholic Charities of the East Bay in Oakland, California. This position spurred her passion for housing and ending homelessness. She has a Master’s degree in Public Affairs with a concentration in Nonprofit Studies from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas - Austin and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California - Berkeley.

Samantha Foss

Statewide Initiatives Manager

Samantha oversees the THN VISTA program along with supporting advocacy, data sharing implementation efforts, continuum of care coordination and fund development. With nearly a decade of social work experience and a Master of Social Work degree from Texas State, Samantha has served through direct service work, statewide policy, and programmatic technical assistance. Their passion lies in lgbtqia+ rights, homelessness advocacy, reproductive justice, immigration reform, prison reform, and youth development. They enjoy spending time with their dog, family, friends, and nature. You will see them thriving the most in life through volunteering and hiking, sometimes simultaneously.

Brian Goodner

Director of Finance and Human Resources

Brian is the Director of Finance and Human Resources and has been at THN since 2011. Prior to working at THN, Brian worked as Controller for multiple companies and has diverse experience in accounting, auditing, financial reporting and budgeting. During this time, Brian has worked with these companies establishing proper internal controls surrounding accounting and finance activities while working with management to improve any areas of deficiency. This has included doing field audits of service locations to ensure that company processes and procedures were being followed. Brian also worked with management on budgeting, forecasting, preparing financial statements and reviewing monthly and quarterly financial results. Brian has a BS in Accounting from The University of Arizona.

Kyra Henderson

Data Coordinator

Kyra Henderson is the Data Coordinator for the Texas Balance of State CoC. She is charged with organizing and executing the Annual Point-in-Time Count and Housing Inventory Count along with monitoring System Performance Measures. 

Kyra is originally from Littleton, Colorado and holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Colorado State University. After working as a case manager for several years she realized that she wanted to join the fight to end homelessness in a new capacity. She is eager for the opportunity to work in a position where her passion for advocacy and data-informed practice work seamlessly together. 

    Antonio Kufoy

    Database Coordinator

    Antonio works as an administrator of the HMIS database. His main duties involve conducting audits for data quality and generating ad-hoc reports. He is also involved in automating processes and creating custom data visualizations. Antonio received his Bachelor's degree in Biophysics from Duke University and received some post-graduate education from the University of Texas at Austin in Data Visualization.

    Lindsay LaGrange

    Training Coordinator

    Lindsay is the Training Coordinator at THN. She is charged with training and providing technical support to all HMIS users. She is passionate about serving the marginalized people in her community and grateful for her role in working to end homelessness. Lindsay is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana and holds a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from University of South Alabama.

    Deanne Lock

    Accounting and Human Resources Generalist

    Deanne is the Accounting and Human Resources Generalist and assists the President/CEO and the Director of Finance and HR with administrative, human resources, and financial operations. Deanne started as a volunteer with THN in 2012 before being hired as the Office Manager in 2013. Deanne holds an MS in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine which explains her calming effect on the office atmosphere. She was born in Corpus Christi, and spent 20 years of her life in the Middle East.

    Victoria Lopez

    Data and Policy Analyst

    Victoria is the HMIS Program Coordinator at THN. Victoria handles HMIS trainings and also helps with HMIS reporting and technical assistance. She has a Master’s degree in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication (which is just fancy talk for Technical and Business Communication) from Iowa State University and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

    Mollie Lund

    ESG & SSVF Coordinator

    Mollie Lund joined THN as the ESG & SSVF Performance Coordinator in November of 2018. Mollie supports Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program recipients and sub recipients and Supportive Service for Veterans Families (SSVF) recipients in the Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care. Mollie evaluates outcomes of ESG-funded and SSVF-funded projects and provides technical assistance, education and training to recipients, sub recipients and grantees to improve ESG and SSVF performance.

    Mollie, who is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Mollie’s previous case management experience at a homeless shelter helped Mollie recognize her compassion for ending homelessness. Mollie is eager to support ESG and SSVF recipients and sub-recipients  to end homelessness within their communities

    Marissa Ortega

    Coordinated Entry Data Specialist

    Marissa joined Texas Homeless Network as the Data VISTA in 2018. Throughout her year of service at THN as a VISTA, she worked closely with the Data Coordinator, whom she helped plan and coordinate the 2019 Point-in-Time Count (PIT) as well as the 2019 Housing Inventory Count (HIC). Now as the Coordinated Entry Data Specialist, Marissa works closely with the Systems Change Team to provide seamless support, guidance, and training on data directly to Coordinated Entry Planning Entities to support data-based decision making in public policies. Marissa is originally from San Antonio, Texas and received her B.S. in Environmental Science from Texas A&M University.

    Jennifer Paulsen

    Director of Development & Communications

    Jennifer is the Director of Development & Communications. Along with working on grant proposals, campaigns, and communications, she plans THN’s annual statewide conferences.

    Jennifer came on board with THN in 2008 when she moved back to Texas. Prior to that, she worked as part of the development team as the volunteer coordinator at The Road Home homeless shelter in Salt Lake City, UT. Prior to that, she was the Campaign Director for the Team in Training program with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

    Jennifer holds a BA in English from The University of Texas at San Antonio. She spends her free time running on the lake trail, cycling with her husband, and being walked by her two dogs.

    Mary Rychlik Stahlke, LMSW

    Continuum of Care Manager

    Mary serves as the Continuum of Care (CoC) Manager for the Texas Balance of State CoC. She conducts CoC planning and operations activities to strategically prevent and end homelessness. Mary ensures the CoC is operating according to its governance structure, policies, and procedures; facilitates the CoC’s process for applying for HUD CoC Program funds; and coordinates the CoC efforts with other programs, funding streams, and community planning efforts.

    Mary has expertise in HUD’s CoC Program, Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program, and the education of homeless children and youth. She has facilitated processes on a CoC level and with local homeless coalitions and ESG recipients. She has 21 years of experience in homeless services, including direct practice, program administration, and performance evaluation in a school district, city and state governments, and faith-based and statewide non-profit organizations.

    Mary is a Licensed Master Social Worker who earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social work from The University of Texas at Austin. Her passion is working to end homelessness because every person deserves an affordable place to live, feel safe, and thrive.

    Jim Ward

    Assistant Director of Planning

    As the Assistant Director of Planning, Jim works closely with the Corporation for Supportive Housing, CoC Leads around the State, Balance of State Stakeholders, Continuum of Care -funded Projects, ESG Recipients, SSVF Grantees and HUD Field Offices to further the CoC’s strategic vision of making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in the Balance of State.

    Coming from a decade long career in direct service, Jim understands the pressures on the ground when working to end homelessness.   Please consider him your ally in the fight to end homelessness.

    Andrew Willard

    CoC Performance Coordinator

    Andrew joined THN in October of 2018 as the Continuum of Care Performance Coordinator. He supports  Balance of State Stakeholders, and CoC funded projects in their work to end homelessness for all Texans.  Andrew brings a focus on efficiency and performance that will improve outcomes for those served.

    Having worked as a direct service provider for both Rapid Re-Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing projects, Andrew recognizes the difficult work that's taking place on the ground, and wants to support projects and staff in the work they are doing.

    Linda Xiong

    Systems Change Specialist

    As the Systems Change Specialist, Linda serves as the liaison between THN and the Coordinated Entry Planning Entities. She also supports systems change in the planning and implementation of Coordinated Entry in the TX Balance of State COC. She holds a Masters of Sustainable Peacebuilding from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she studied systems thinking and conflict transformation. She is passionate about building relationships and resilience in communities. Her interest in addressing social and environmental issues stems from her background in the fashion industry where a multitude of issues emerge.

    Kristin Zakoor

    Assistant Director of Data

    Kristin is the Assistant Director of Data at THN. She oversees the coordination and implementation of the Point-In-Time Count and Housing Inventory Count, LSA and HMIS. Her team works closely with the CoC Planning team to enhance data-related projects for the TX BoS CoC. Kristin has worked with several homeless service providers in Austin and is very passionate about using data to create actionable information that helps to improve the lives of those in need. Kristin received her Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of Michigan.