Kelly Kinnison, Ph.D. Named New Permanent CEO of KCRHA 

We’re pleased to announce Kelly Kinnison, Ph.D., will lead the King County Regional Homelessness Authority. Dr. Kinnison’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer by the Governing Committee and Implementation Board comes after a thorough and thoughtful search process conducted by the firm Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group (NPAG). They collaborated closely with the CEO Search Committee, which included members from our Boards, community, and KCRHA staff.

Dr. Kinnison, expressing her deep commitment to the cause, shared she’s honored to receive the confirmation and added, “There are challenges ahead, but I am confident that given the resources and goodwill in the King County region we can make significant progress together.” 


The KCRHA, the Governing Committee, the Implementation Board, and local leaders are not just pleased but genuinely excited to welcome Dr. Kinnison and her wealth of skills and expertise to the effort to address the homelessness crisis in King County. Her appointment brings optimism and much-needed stability to the Authority.  

Dr. Kinnison is a senior leader with 15 years of federal social services policy experience. She’s wrapping up her position as the Director of Family and Community Policy at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She’s successfully led and coordinated major projects on lived experience and HHS’ Equity Technical Assistance Center, which aims to improve the coordination and integration of social services. Partnership, collaboration, and consultation is standard practice in her work.   

Dr. Kinnison joined HHS from the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, where she served as a Branch Chief of a team conducting research and analysis on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Before working for the federal government, she was an evaluation consultant for community organizations working on violence prevention and mentoring. Dr. Kinnison holds a Ph.D. in community psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.   

Dr. Kinnison will serve as a key regional community-centered leader and make a meaningful impact on the response to homelessness in King County for years to come. 

Joint statement from Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and King County Executive Dow Constantine: 

“We appreciate the work of the Implementation Board and the Search Committee throughout this rigorous, nationwide search process to recommend an extremely strong candidate for the permanent CEO position at the King County Regional Homelessness Authority. We are confident that Dr. Kinnison is the most qualified and capable candidate to lead the KCRHA and bring stability, continuity, and vision to the organization. 

“Dr. Kinnison’s experience designing and implementing data- and evidence-informed systems and demonstrated commitment to centering equity and engaging people with lived experience to improve policy solutions will position her well as a leader who can strengthen KCRHA’s capacity to deliver real results and accelerate efforts to bring more people indoors. Her proven ability to lead in complex environments and build successful cross-sector partnerships will be integral to move KCRHA forward as it continues to drive a coordinated regional response to the homelessness crisis. 

“We are grateful for Interim CEO Darrell Powell for his leadership and guidance during this period of transition and remain committed to working with the KCRHA to address the crisis of homelessness with the urgency, compassion, and collaboration that this critical issue deserves.” 

L. Darrell Powell served as the Interim CEO at KCRHA for five months. He took over the role in February after Helen Howell stepped down. Ms. Howell served as interim CEO for nine months. During that time, she focused on returning to basics — reviewing and improving core agency operations. She was previously the Deputy CEO.