Media inquiries please email: anne.martens (at) kcrha (dot) org
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Marc Dones, Chief Executive Officer, appointed April 2021. Marc (they/them pronouns) is a social entrepreneur, policy strategist, and social justice activist with over 10 years of experience in equitable systems transformation. Prior to taking on the role of inaugural CEO for the King County Regional Homelessness Authority, Marc was the founder and Executive Director of the National Innovation Service (NIS), a consulting firm that helps governments redesign their approaches to supporting marginalized populations. Marc has also held leadership roles in social impact, policy and program design, and continuous improvement at the Center for Social Innovation (C4 Innovations), and is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). Marc holds a degree from NYU in Psychiatric Anthropology and is an experienced equity trainer.
Helen Howell, Deputy CEO. Helen (she/her) was most recently the City of Seattle’s Interim Director of Human Services, and previously served as a Senior Director at the King County Housing Authority, where she led Policy, Research & Evaluation, Homeless Housing Initiatives, and the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Her experience with human services and the homeless crisis response system was developed when serving as Director of the Pierce County Human Services Department, and as Executive Director of Building Changes, a Seattle-based nonprofit working to reduce youth and family homelessness. She has also held several positions in federal and state government, including with U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Governor Gary Locke. Helen earned her B.A. from Vassar College, a Diploma in Legal Studies (Jurisprudence and Moral & Political Philosophy) from Oxford University, and her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.
Meg Barclay, Chief Administrative Officer. Meg (she/her) came to the Authority in Augist 2021, after serving as the Homeless Coordinator for the City of Los Angeles, where she was the primary point of contact responsible for coordinating with City Departments in their work to implement the City’s Comprehensive Homeless Strategy. She also oversaw more than $200 million in State funding for homelessness. Meg worked at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2010‐2015, where she oversaw the design and implementation of a nationwide GIS‐based system for City and State grant recipients to meet planning requirements for $4 billion in federal entitlement grant funds. Meg grew up in the Pacific Northwest and when she’s not at work, she dotes over her fluffy cat Seamus and makes pottery.
Owen Kajfasz, Deputy Chief Community Impact Officer. Owen (he/him) joins us directly from King County where he served as the Lead Evaluator on homelessness and housing stability. Previously he was a Senior Data Analyst at the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department, where he lead data, performance measurement, and evaluation efforts across the City’s homelessness investments. Complementing Owen’s expertise in data analytics and evaluation is a background in teaching — from middle to graduate school. Owen earned his B.S. in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Washington, where he later received his M.S. of Information Management.
Anne Martens, Director of External Affairs & Communications. Anne (she/her) has worked for many years in advocacy and communications across government, political campaigns, non-profits and philanthropy. She was most recently at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led communications for the Washington State team, focusing on the foundation’s local COVID-19 response, educational efforts from pre-K through college, and addressing homelessness among families with children. She previously served as Communications Director for the Washington State Office of Financial Management under Governor Gregoire, and for the Oregon Secretary of State under Bill Bradbury. Born and raised in Seattle, she holds a law degree from Georgetown and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. She also has one lovely daughter and one rather demanding cat.
Erin Bryant-Thomas, Director of Equity & Justice. Erin (she/her) is a proud wife of 12 years, mother of 3 Brilliant Black Boys, native of San Francisco and a 13-year resident of the Seattle/ King County area. She is an anti-racist community organizer, grounded in the People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond’s principles, and focuses much of her time on addressing racism in systems and institutions as well as the manifestations of internalized racial oppression within herself. She is committed to the liberation of Black people and does that work through Black Star Line, The Village of Hope and Holgate Street Church of Christ where she has served as an Events Coordinator, Program Coordinator and Para Educator as well as many other roles. Erin is committed to building a community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Her work is informed by 15 years of strategic and relational leadership experience in the community, grassroots, nonprofit and government sectors. She helped to start the very first Black Student Union (BSU) at Auburn High School, and is currently studying Education and Business/Entrepreneurship at Evergreen State College-Tacoma. Her focus is on community healing & building, principled anti-racist organizing, and helping to develop multi-cultural & multi-generational relationships so all communities thrive.
Alexis Mercedes Rinck, Sub-Regional Planning Manager. Alexis (she/her) is a coalition-builder and advocate. At the Authority, she leads ongoing and equitable engagement across the region with community members with lived experience of homelessness, jurisdictions, providers, and community-based organizations staffed by and serving Black, Indigenous, and people of color to support the creation of tailored sub-regional plans. Previously, she worked at the Sound Cities Association (SCA) as a policy analyst, supporting over 40 city elected officials on 12 different regional boards and committees primarily focused on human services, affordable housing, public health, and public safety. She also supported the organization’s advancing equity work. Before working at SCA, she was a community organizer who helped organize a 1,000 person march, multiple protests and demonstrations, and various teach-ins. Alexis has bachelor’s degrees in political science and sociology, certificates in Spanish, and Women and Gender Studies, and she earned her Masters of Public Administration in 2019. She believes in the power of authentic partnership and community care; In her free time she organizes around food justice and experiments with vegan recipes. You can catch her on a morning run through Capitol Hill.
Nneka Payne, Program Specialist. Nneka (she/her) comes to the Authority with a strong background in relationship building, collaborative problem solving, intentional system implementation and social justice.Through her lived experience as a homeless youth, Nneka provides an added level of insight to the work of the Authority. She is passionate about cultivating individual and community relationships and strongly believes in the power of co-creating systems and processes for more equitable and sustainable outcomes and impact! Nneka holds a B.A. in Social Services and a Masters of Education (MEd) in Curriculum and Instruction. In her free time she loves having dance parties and movie nights with her family.
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