Rosanne Haggerty is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Community Solutions. She is an internationally recognized leader in developing innovative strategies to end homelessness and strengthen communities. In 1990, Rosanne founded Common Ground Community, a pioneer in the development of supportive housing and research-based practices that end homelessness. To have greater impact, she and her senior team launched Community Solutions in 2011 to help communities solve the problems that create and sustain homelessness. Rosanne is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Ashoka Senior Fellow and Hunt Alternative Fund Prime Mover. In 2012, she was awarded the Jane Jacobs medal for New Ideas and Activism from the Rockefeller Foundation. She serves on the boards of the Alliance for Veterans, Citizens Housing and Planning Council and Iraq-Afghanistan Veterans of America. She is a Life Trustee of Amherst College.
Ana Paula Delja
Ana Paula is the Director of Development at Community Solutions. She is responsible for managing all fundraising and development operations to support the annual operating budget of Community Solutions. She leads institutional giving efforts and special initiatives, and provides overall strategy for the department. Prior to joining the team, Ana Paula was a Program Associate at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, where she helped write and launch Home for Good, the five-year plan to end chronic homelessness in Los Angeles County. Ana Paula received her BA in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University and her MS in Urban Policy from The New School for Public Engagement.
Director, Real Estate
Dave is the Director of Real Estate at Community Solutions. In this role, he oversees the development and management of the organization's commercial, mixed-use and residential projects in Hartford; Brownsville, Brooklyn and Washington, DC. From 2008-2014, he served as the president of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, a non-profit economic development corporation in Camden, NJ, where he oversaw more than $350M in new investment in the community. Prior to his work in Camden, Dave was an attorney in the real estate department at Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia and also worked for a large real estate development company in China. His military service includes duty as an infantry officer with the 101st Airborne Division, a posting in the Pentagon, and a combat tour in Afghanistan. Dave received his BA from Washington & Lee University and his JD from the University of Pennsylvania.
Jake serves as Director of Consulting and Public Affairs at Community Solutions, where he leads the organization's communications strategy as well as its work to help communities outside of the United States end homelessness. From 2010-2014, he led communications for the 100,000 Homes Campaign, the organization's flagship housing initiative, which helped 186 communities find permanent housing for more than 105,000 chronically homeless Americans in under four years. In that role, he spearheaded the Campaign's successful bid for the United Nations World Habitat Award‚ as well as its high profile feature on 60 Minutes. Prior to joining Community Solutions, Jake helped to develop and execute successful public affairs strategies for a diverse range of corporate, political and non-profit clients. He holds a BA from Amherst College and an MA from the University of Texas at Austin.
Senior Director, National Campaigns
Beth is the Director of National Campaigns, including Built for Zero, a rigorous follow-on to the 100,000 Homes Campaign designed to help a dedicated group of 70 communities do whatever it takes to end chronic and veteran homelessness. In this role, Beth leads a staff of 20 and oversees the implementation of a large scale change effort, as well as quality improvement initiatives designed to ensure the success of participating communities. Beth brings more than 15 years of experience working in the field of supportive housing and community development, in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She also led quality improvement for the 100,000 Homes Campaign, for which her work was highlighted in both The New York Times and The Harvard Business Review.
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer
Jamie is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Community Solutions – as such, he has responsibility for all company operations. Jamie is the founder and principal investor of Bayonet Capital LLC a private equity funder of entrepreneurial ventures. Prior to taking the position with Community Solutions, Jamie was involved in a number of ventures where he served as an investor and senior executive. He served for 17 years as President and CEO of JFC Technologies, LLC until the business was acquired by Cyalume Technologies in 2011. Jamie continues to serve as a board member of Cyalume. At JFC, Jamie and his team played an instrumental role in the development of specialty materials used in military aerospace applications. Jamie was the 2007 recipient of the Richard T. Whitcomb award from N.A.S.A. for his contributions to the development of specialty material for military aerospace products. Jamie is a former Army Officer and is a graduate of the U.S. Army's Airborne, Air Assault and Ranger Schools. He holds a BS degree from the United States Military Academy, an MBA from Columbia University and an M.Ed from Rutgers University.
Director, Brownsville Partnership
Mary is the Director of The Brownsville Partnership, an initiative of Community Solutions. The Brownsville Partnership works with partners to help residents and community leaders address employment, safety, and neighborhood conditions. Mary has over 15 years of leader development, project management, community engagement and public speaking experience. An Information Technology professional by training, Mary began her career as a communications officer in the United States Army. She honed her IT and leadership expertise in a variety of military units throughout the world including: South Korea, Okinawa, Japan, Iraq, and Kuwait. Among her significant positions, Mary served as the Senior Communications leader for multiple combat units while deployed in Iraq and is a proud Combat Veteran. She most recently served as a Senior IT Project and Program Manager for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development where she led the vast Information Technology initiatives, changing the way the Federal Housing Administration addressed many predatory lending practices. Mary earned a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the New York Institute of Technology, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Villanova University.
Alyson (Aly) Ainscough is an Improvement Advisor on the Built for Zero team, working directly with communities to build and improve systems to end homelessness. Aly began her work with the homeless population in 2000 when she was hired as a bachelor’s level intern at a nonprofit emergency shelter and provider of permanent supportive housing in Salt Lake City. Throughout the past 15 years Aly has worked in a variety of areas in the nonprofit sector, including serving as the lead for Salt Lake County’s 100,000 Homes Registry Week, as the lead for developing the Salt Lake County CoC’s Coordinated Access plan, and most recently as a director of several supportive services programs for formerly chronically homeless individuals. Aly’s passion resides in program development, community partnership, and the development of public policy to end homelessness and improve the lives of disenfranchised populations. Aly obtained a Masters of Counseling from Westminster College in 2010 and is licensed by the state of Utah as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor. She earned her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Utah in the fall of 2015.
Lovie is the Operations Coordinator at Community Solutions, where she plays a critical role in overseeing key administrative, HR, and financial-related tasks. She is no stranger to being a part of a non-profit that assists on ending homelessness. Prior to joining the Community Solutions team, Lovie was a Business Manager for The Doe Fund's Community Improvement Project where she managed multi-million dollar budgets and contracts. She also oversaw their new sanitation department which created jobs for the graduates of the program. Lovie holds a bachelors degree from Hunter College and is a Junior Board Member at a community development non-profit in The Bronx.
Andi Broffman works as a Deputy Director helping communities in the US and Canada end homelessness. She assists communities in improving their use of data to design and implement new practices across their housing systems. She is also the lead Community Solutions team member supporting the 20,000 Homes Campaign, a national movement of Canadian communities working to find homes for 20,000 of the most vulnerable Canadians experiencing homelessness. Prior to joining Community Solutions, Andi worked as a consultant for companies that strive to be profitable in the most efficient and environmentally responsible way possible. She also led relief and recovery initiatives in the Rockaways following Superstorm Sandy and provided early data and research support to Community Solutions' 100,000 Homes Campaign. Andi holds an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University and a BA in Sociology from NYU.
Project Manager, Communications
As Project Manager for the Communications team, Ashlee interfaces with various Community Solutions teams to facilitate creative project requests. She is also a creative member of the team, helping in-house initiatives brainstorm and strategize around their communications needs. Prior to joining Community Solutions, Ashlee worked as Project Manager for startup marketing agencies to help manage their growing client bases and shape brand identity. She holds a BA in Political Science from Jackson State University in Mississippi.
K.O. Campbell serves as an Improvement Advisor for Built for Zero. She previously served as Special Assistant to the President. Prior to joining the Community Solutions team, K.O. worked as a Contracts Coordinator for the Chemistry Department at Columbia University. She received a BA in English Literature from Pomona College and an MA in Oral History from Columbia University.
Career Development Associate
As a Career Development Associate, Dania provides advice and guidance to her neighbors, supports them in advocating for themselves, connects them to appropriate resources, and facilitates workshops, support groups and community meetings. In addition to her current role, Dania has had many work and volunteer experiences. While attending college in Buffalo, New York she interned at Erie County Medical Center at the Immunodeficiency Unit, served as a peer mentor in the YALT program at Daemen College, and volunteered at St. Vincent DePaul soup kitchen, Adopt a Highway and Hope Ministries after school program. Dania was also very involved on her college campus, serving as an Orientation Leader, a Peer Review Board Member and a member of the public relations team at Cynergy. Dania earned a BA in social work from Daemen College. There, she was a recipient of the Ionic Lodge 88 Scholarship Fund.
Emmily De Los Santos
As a Project Manager on Community Solutions' Real Estate team, Emmily manages and oversees a $4.1 million development budget for Brooklyn, NY real estate projects. In this role, Emmily aims to create a seamless collaboration of local and best practice knowledge to advance community development goals and import options and outcomes for the Brownsville neighborhood. Previously, she worked as the Assistant Project Manager for the Inspiring Places where she worked closely with the project management team and provided support on real estate conversion and development projects. In her first position as a Family Coach for the Homelessness Intervention Program at the Brownsville Partnership, she worked intensively with families and individuals in Brownsville who were at risk of becoming homeless. She is passionate about social justice and has actively advocated for racial, social and economic equality. Emmily holds a BA in sociology and a minor in law and society from Skidmore College. She is currently working towards her Master's in Urban Planning with a focus on Economic and Housing Development at NYU's Wagner School of Public Service.
Kathryn Del Beccaro
As a Development Coordinator for Community Solutions, Kathy works with teams to achieve their fundraising and development goals. She works most closely with the North Hartford Partnership. Prior to joining CS, Kathy graduated from Northwestern University with a BS in Economics and Radio/Television/Film. There, she focused on urban studies and performed economic research on housing in Chicago's impoverished neighborhoods.
Melanie Lewis Dickerson
As an Improvement Advisor for Community Solutions, Melanie works directly with communities to build and improve systems to end homelessness. She is part of the 25 Cities Effort and Built for Zero campaign teams, where she works intensively with local partners to push toward the goals of ending veteran and chronic homelessness using data-driven interventions. She is passionate about her work and believes that not only can we end homelessness, but that it is already happening. Melanie brings six years of experience working at the City and County of Denver as the Partnerships Manager for Denver’s Road Home where she focused on policy development, systems change and strategic partnerships. She also served as the 100,000 Homes Campaign lead for Denver. Melanie is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Mississippi State University with a degree in Political Science, and a graduate of the University of Colorado Denver with a Masters of Public Administration. She is an active member of the Junior League of Denver, Mile High Young Professionals and the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative. In 2013, she was recognized as one of Colorado’s Finest Young Professionals.
Senior Improvement Advisor
As an Improvement Advisor for Community Solutions, Nate works directly with communities to build and improve systems to end homelessness. He is a part of the 25 Cities Effort and Built for Zero campaign teams, where he works intensively with local partners to push towards the goal of ending veteran and chronic homelessness using data-driven interventions. Nate comes to Community Solutions from the grassroots work in Los Angeles to build a coordinated entry system. Through his first hand experience he believes that our greatest hope in solving our most pressing complex social problems is through empowering local communities to create unique solutions and take collective action.
Senior Improvement Advisor, Data & Performance Management
Lindsey is a member of the Data and Performance Management team and manages data, research and analytical support for Community Solutions’ Built for Zero initiative. She provides data and analytical support to communities participating in Built for Zero, quantitative support to all members of the Built for Zero team, and assists with analysis, research and reporting on Built for Zero metrics. Lindsey also assists in the scaling and customization of the Performance Management Communications Platform (PMCP), a software platform for implementing a coordinated assessment and housing placement system, used by Built for Zero communities and communities participating in the VA's 25 Cities effort. Lindsey has experience working at homeless service and affordable housing providers in Pennsylvania, Michigan and New York City. Lindsey holds a BA in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College and an MSW from the University of Michigan.
As Operations Manager for Community Solutions' Consulting division, Moeed manages operations and logistics for all consulting initiatives. Prior to working at Community Solutions, Moeed was a director for a successful SSVF (supportive services for veteran families) program in South Florida. In that role, he helped end homelessness for hundreds of veterans in Miami and Broward counties. Moeed also served in the United States Coast Guard as part of a Tactical Law Enforcement Team responsible for counternarcotics and antiterrorism deployments. Moeed holds a BS in Criminal Justice from Florida International University.
Improvement Advisor, Data & Performance Management
Aras is an Improvement Advisor for the Built for Zero team, specializing in data and performance. He designs, customizes and implements data tools and analytic frameworks to enable a select group of communities to end chronic and veteran homelessness by the end of 2016. Prior to joining Community Solutions, Aras worked on myriad international and domestic development projects in analyst positions with Chemonics International and Deloitte. Aras graduated from The University of Toronto with a BA in International Relations and is a proud board member of the Josh Anderson Foundation.
Manager, National Movements
Linda Kaufman is the National Movement Manager with the Built for Zero team. This nationwide initiative has a goal of helping participating communities end veteran and chronic homelessness by the end of 2016. She is continuing to coordinate recruitment efforts. Linda will also continue with Community Solutions doing legacy work with other communities. Linda has worked in homeless services in DC since the mid-1980s, most recently as Chief Operating Officer of Pathways to Housing DC. She was also the Director of Homeless Services at the Downtown Business Improvement District, and served at the Director of Adult Services for the DC Department of Mental Health. In addition to her work to end homelessness in DC, she is also involved in other issues of social justice in the City. Linda received a Masters of Divinity at Virginia Theological Seminary, is ordained as an Episcopal priest, and ministers at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington, DC.
Improvement Advisor, Data & Performance Management
Hannah Kim works as a Data and Performance Coordinator for the Consulting division of Community Solutions. She assists with maintaining, updating, and developing data and performance management tools for the New York State CORe Neighborhood Initiatives and the New York City Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. Hannah also provides data and analytical support for the Built for Zero initiative and Canada’s 20K Homes Campaign. Prior to joining Community Solutions, Hannah worked as a School Social Worker and Data Specialist at a public international high school under the NYC Department of Education where she developed and assessed social-emotional learning programs, and provided analyses of academic data. Hannah holds an MSW with a Policy concentration in International Social Welfare from Columbia University and a BS in Social Work from New York University. While completing her BSW and MSW, Hannah worked with UNICEF on evaluating poverty line calculations and worked at the International Rescue Committee where she helped to newly establish the Adult Continuing Education 19(+) program for adult refugee clients pursuing post-secondary education.
Layman Lee is the Placemaking Manager at Brownsville Partnership working to improve the built environment and neighborhood health through the lens of art and design with residents and creative experts. Previously she was the Creative Director at ORE Design working on projects such as transformations of vacant lots in Brooklyn into small business incubators and community space with shipping containers, an emergency jacket to aid the homeless and a modular lighting system using clear PVC. She gained hands on experience with large art installations at Fung Collaboratives where she helped construct the massive snow and ice sculptures designed by artist and artists teams including Tatsuo Miyajima and Tadao Ando, and Anish Kapoor and Future Systems. She has traveled to New Mexico to help realize the SITE Sante Fe Biennial: Lucky Number Seven, and most recently to Atlantic City as Project Director for ARTLANTIC, a project aimed at transforming the vacant lots through public art with the landscape design firm Balmori Associates and artists. In her free time, Layman is a multidisciplinary artist and designer working in the belief that every project should be equitable, innovative, and foster positive social and environmental change.
Career Development Associate
Taurean, a lifelong Brownsville resident and a Career Development Associate for the Brownsville Partnership, is primarily responsible for identifying and engaging residents who can benefit from the Partnership's employment initiatives, while providing advice and guidance, supporting them in advocating for themselves, and connecting them to the appropriate employment resources. Taurean is a former participant of the Brownsville Partnership who worked with staff members to prevent her eviction and overcome her housing crisis, as well as other obstacles that many Brownsville residents face today. She has also worked as a Peer Educator for Safe Horizon, bringing 15 plus years of experience working in outreach services in a variety of capacities including educating disenfranchised youth in Times Square.
Coordinator, Community Health
As Community Health Coordinator, Nadia provides community-based care coordination to individuals who frequently visit the local emergency rooms, boosting their health outcomes by connecting them to the care or additional resources they need. She has developed and maintains a catalogue of local resources and a Community Asset Map to identify and liaise with partner organizations. Nadia has more than a decade of case management experience with vulnerable populations. She brings a strengths-based approach to her work and is adept at leveraging community resources to enhance individuals’ natural support networks. Nadia holds a BS in social work.
Nadine advises the Inspiring Places team on the design and development of community-led supportive housing and community hubs nationally. Prior to her work with Community Solutions, she worked for nine years at Common Ground, a leading developer of affordable and permanent supportive housing for homeless New Yorkers, where she played a key role in the design and development of more than 1,000 units of housing across the City. She has been a visiting critic and lecturer at Yale, Pratt, and Columbia University and is a part-time lecturer at the Parsons School of Design at The New School. She is a well known expert on sustainable development, community-engaged design and alternative housing models for vulnerable populations, and her work has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Nadine also serves as Executive Director of the Institute for Public Architecture.
Jessica works as Deputy Director for Data and Performance Management on the Built for Zero team. She leads all performance and quality assurance efforts designed to support a select group of communities toward being on track to end veteran and chronic homelessness by the end of 2016. Previously, Jessica served on the Data and Performance Management team for the 100,000 Homes Campaign, where she participated in both the Campaign’s field organizing and process improvement work. Jessica graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Political Science.
As a project manager, Patrick is responsible for the day to day management of the real estate development activities from concept to construction completion for the Hartford, CT projects as part of the Inspiring Places team. Prior to Community Solutions, Patrick worked as an architect for more than 10 years in his native Ireland and the US on a wide range of projects including residential, commercial, mixed use, cultural and education. Patrick is passionate about sustainable design, urban farming and the role that good design and building rehabilitation can have on the social, environmental and economic issues facing our most vulnerable communities. He is the Co-founder of Architecture for Humanity in New Haven, CT and the Co-chair of the building committee of the local Habitat for Humanity. Patrick received a BS in Architecture from Queens University in Ireland and a Diploma in Architecture from the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow, Scotland.
As Director of Operations, Kait oversees all financial and administrative processes across the organization. She also leads and supports teams that work to continuously improve Community Solutions' internal infrastructure, learning systems, and people operations. Previously at Community Solutions, she served as an improvement advisor for the the 100,000 Homes Campaign and as operations manager for the Consulting and Built for Zero teams. Kait brings over 10 years of management experience in the non-profit and public sectors, including 5 years overseeing homeless and affordable housing programs for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and 4 years working for international organizations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Bolivia. She holds an MPA in International Development from Cornell University and a BA in Spanish and History from Hamilton College.
Director of Hartford Strategic Partnerships
Gina manages Community Solutions' Hartford properties, and leads partner development for Community Solutions' work in North Hartford, Connecticut. Prior to joining Community Solutions, Gina served as the Development Director for John Dempsey Hospital and the UConn School of Medicine at the University of Connecticut Foundation. Gina has more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit field and has held leadership posts at The Children’s Museum in West Hartford, the Wadsworth Atheneum, Boston Children’s Museum and Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a Director at Large at for the Aurora Foundation for Women and Girls and on the Board of Corporators for Connecticut Community Care Inc. Gina has a BA from Smith College and has completed graduate study in non-profit management at Harvard University.
Senior Project Manager
John Napolitano serves as the Senior Project Manager for Community Solutions’ Real Estate team. John is an urban planning professional with 20 years of experience in community development and project management and a deep personal commitment to affordable housing for those who need it most, including low-income families, the elderly, and those at risk of homelessness. Prior to joining Community Solutions in 2017, John served as a Director for two large non-profits in NYC, overseeing the design, construction, and financing of over 800 units of affordable housing, including residences with commercial/mixed-use components and passive house design standards. Given Community Solutions’ mission of strengthening communities and ending homelessness, John and the rest of the Inspiring Places team have been tasked with developing new, equitable housing models in Brownsville, Brooklyn that are affordable to a range of incomes. John holds a Master’s Degree in Planning from Pratt Institute and is a graduate of New York University’s Leadership Enhancement Program, as well as a former member of housing policy organizations such as LiveOn New York and the Municipal Arts Society. In his free time, John is actively involved in the mentorship of several young men who have aged out of the foster care system, helping them in their transition to adulthood.
Jen is the Operations Director for the Built for Zero Team. Before coming to Community Solutions, Jen was the CEO of Community Technology Alliance – a non-profit in Silicon Valley that worked toward ending homelessness through the lens of data and technology systems. Jen is a nationally recognized expert in Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS), and technology and has personally provided technical assistance to dozens of communities across the United States. Although her focus has been on technology, she has on-the-ground experience working on coordinated entry systems, Continuum of Care organization & operations, and developing community plans to end homelessness. Jen’s personal motto is: "If You Can Dream it, You Can Do it!" This phrase embodies all that Jen does in her business and personal endeavors.
As a Deputy Director with Community Solutions' Real Estate team, Sweta brings her design background to guide our real estate and community development initiatives in Hartford, CT. She has more than 10 years of work experience in the fields of architecture, urban planning and economic development, which she uses to foster Community Solutions’ integrated approach of building healthy and sustainable communities. Prior to joining Community Solutions, Sweta worked as an architectural designer in Philadelphia, PA and with Common Ground to manage the development of supportive housing projects in New York City. Sweta received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pennsylvania State University and an MS in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics.
Mat serves as the Art Director at Community Solutions, where he works as a vital member of the Communication team. In that role, he is tasked with creating and managing the visual experience of Community Solutions, as well as supporting the tactical design needs of all Community Solutions initiatives and providing art direction across all platforms. Before joining Community Solutions, he worked as a freelance Art Director and Graphic Designer in various fields and with a wide range of clients and agencies, developing a passion for creative and user-centered design.
Data & Performance Coordinator
Jana Pohorelsky works as a Data and Performance Coordinator on Community Solutions' Built for Zero team. In her role, she designs and implements technology for ending homelessness, and she serves as a coach for communities participating in SCALE, a health equity initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Prior to joining Community Solutions, Jana led the expansion of a social enterprise catering company serving formerly homeless and at-risk men and women in New York City. She also has a rich background in research, including analysis of data from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) for Fair Housing program, a study of the impact of moving from a high-poverty neighborhood to a lower-poverty community on the social and economic prospects of low-income families. Jana holds a BA in Anthropology with a Minor in French from the University of Michigan.
Kevin Rivero is a Development Coordinator at Community Solutions. He is responsible for coordinating key activity areas of the development team in grant writing, prospect research, event planning, and database administration as well as supporting the key areas of reporting, compliance and database management for Community Solutions annual revenue goal. Prior to joining the team, Kevin was Disaster Case Manager at the American Red Cross of Greater New York, where he assisted victims of Superstorm Sandy. Kevin received his BA in Communications from Boston College.
Learning and Facilitation Advisor
Kashay is Learning and Facilitation Advisor at Community Solutions, where she works to strengthen and optimize internal teams as well as to facilitate complex neighborhood change projects in collaboration with partners and community residents. Kashay
Career Development Associate
As a Career Development Associate for the Brownsville Partnership's jobs initiatives, and as a resident of Brownsville, Madeline Sanders advocates for and supports her neighbors. She assists them in achieving their goals, supports them in self advocacy, and connects them to the appropriate employment resources. She received her GED at Samuel J. Tilden and then worked as a Career Advisor at Apex Technical School for seven years, serving as a direct link to employers for her students. Madeline is excited to work with the Brownsville Partnership. She sees this as a step to fulfilling her dreams while supporting her community.
Coordinator, Operations and Information Technology
Donna joins the Community Solutions team with more than eight years of experience in the not for profit sector and many years in the for profit sector. She worked for the Greater New York Hospital Association and United Way of New York City, where she worked with a team that was instrumental in the development of the Women United in Philanthropy. Donna was part of the start-up of the Young Leader initiative, which aimed to encourage the next generation of philanthropists. She has a BA in Pre-Law and Political Science from Saint Augustine’s University and certifications in multiple computer programs. She was also awarded the Junior Fellowship in 2008.
Richard began his professional career as a youth working with the Brownsville Community Council and continued his service to the needs of others in various capacities. His past roles included being Director of a youth center, Operations Director for consortium of day care centers and a Residence Manager for housing facilities serving HIV/AIDS patients and the developmentally challenged. Richard was a childhood friend and confidant of the late Gregory Jackson, the founding director of the Brownsville Partnership. He originally joined the team as a dedicated member of the BP Volunteer Corp, in which he remains an active memeber.
John J. Thomas
Program Assistant, Community Engagement
As Program Assistant for Community Engagement, John engages residents, community organizations and leadership of Hartford's North Neighborhood through Community Solutions' North Hartford Partnership. Through community meeting attendance and networking, John establishes strong community relationships and organizes efforts to implement a Sustainability Plan for Hartford's North neighborhood via the Health Impact Assessment process. John engages North Hartford personally and through writing and disseminating information about the Swift Factory Development while gathering input about community expectations for the factory's use. Prior to joining the Community Solutions team, John served as an organizer for various political campaigns in Hartford's north end. He also served for eight years as a staff writer and photographer for Hartford's African-American newspaper, The Hartford Inquirer.
Director, Strategic Partnerships
Jessica Venegas is Director of Strategic Partnerships for Community Solutions, where she supports Built for Zero. Prior to joining Community Solutions, Jessica staffed a long-term partnership between Common Ground and UNITY of Greater New Orleans to help create 3,000 new units of affordable and supportive housing in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She has also held executive positions at the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations and the Community Preservation and Development Corporation in Washington DC. Jessica holds a BA in Urban Community Development from Azusa Pacific University and a graduate certificate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence (CUREx). In 2008, she was named an inaugural fellow of the Louisiana Effective Leaders Program, and in 2009, she was recognized as a Louisiana Heroine by the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations. Jessica currently sits on the boards of Puentes New Orleans, the Louisiana Housing Alliance and Academy of Hope.
As a Deputy Director for Content and Strategy with Community Solutions' Built for Zero team, Leslie leads content identification and strategy development efforts to support communities in ending homelessness. Her focus is supporting communities in ways that are tangible and sustainable. Leslie previously worked as a community organizer and systems strategist with the 100,000 Homes Campaign. Before joining the Community Solutions team, Leslie was the Director of Policy and Planning with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), where she helped oversee one of the nation’s largest homeless point-in-time enumerations along with the city's annual application for HUD Homeless Assistance Program funding. Leslie also served as Homelessness Policy Advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, where she worked with the County of Los Angeles on the first ever joint City /County homelessness policy platform. Leslie holds a BA in Social Work from Ohio University. She also completed the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate at the University of Southern California, and the Community Development and Empowerment Series presented by the Chicago Rehab Network in Chicago, IL.