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Staff

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.

Caitlin Bayer

Balance of State Programs Coordinator

Caitlin is the Balance of State Programs Coordinator at THN. She facilitates communication within the CoC, assists the CoC Director and Manager, and aids communities in developing strategies to end Veteran homelessness. Her specialty areas include increasing data literacy, community master list development, the CoC program, SSVF (Supportive Services for Veteran Families program) and implementing Housing First. Caitlin’s drive to end homelessness was sparked when she served as a Housing Case Manager at AIDS Service of Austin, where she administered HOPWA programs. Caitlin received her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX.

Sophia Checa

Assistant CoC Director

Sophia is the Assistant CoC Director at THN. In this role, she is responsible for implementing Coordinated Entry in the Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care, which requires working with communities to develop data-driven housing crisis response systems. She has extensive knowledge of systems change, process improvement, data, housing best practices, system performance measurement, and the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG). 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.

Jesús DeLeón-Serratos

HMIS Project Manager

Jesús plays the role of HMIS Project Manager in the Texas Homeless Network. His eclectic background ranges from six years in communications to ten in the non-profit galaxy. He has solid experience as a journalist, radio DJ, TV writer, theater and film production, also in social work, case management and training. Jesús believes communications in non-profit have an undetermined potential yet to be fully unleashed. You may say he is a dreamer, but he is not the only one.

Kraig Fiero

Program 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 program assistant and helps coordinate daily activities within the THN office including referrals, volunteer management, social media, and helping plan the annual conference. 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.

Kameron Fowler, LMSW

Continuum of Care Director

Kameron is the Continuum of Care Director at THN. She earned her MSSW from the University of Texas at Austin’s Advanced Standing Program and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Texas Tech University. She has over 14 years of experience in housing and homelessness programs in Austin, Los Angeles and Australia. She has held varied administrative and direct care roles within the homeless services sector in the specialties of medical respite, shelter case management, housing stability case management, mental health case management, HIV services, DV, and street outreach.

With a strong focus on program implementation she has secured funding for multiple HUD Housing First Permanent Supportive Housing Programs, Rapid Re-Housing Programs and an AmeriCorps program focused on housing. Kameron served as the Director of Strategic Initiatives of the Austin CoC where she laid the groundwork and began coordinated assessment implementation for Austin/Travis County. Prior to that, she served as the Program Director at Front Steps, the non-profit that runs the ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless), Austin’s largest shelter. She is a passionate advocate for positive social change with a focus on program implementation, policy work, and fostering partnerships to serve the most vulnerable populations.

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.

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

HMIS Support Desk Specialist

Victoria is an HMIS Support Desk Specialist 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.

Benjamin Mahoney

HMIS Support Desk Specialist

Benjamin is an HMIS Support Desk Specialist at THN. Mr. Mahoney has worked with nonprofits in a number of different capacities; ranging from solicitor to educator. His focus is on database systems and reporting. He has a bachelor's degree in anthropology and has extensive experience working in and with East Asia.

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

Continuum of Care Manager

Mary serves as the Continuum of Care Manager. 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.

Ms. Rychlik has expertise in HUD’s Continuum of Care and Emergency Solutions Grant programs, facilitating Continuum of Care processes on a CoC-level and with local homeless coalitions and ESG recipients. She has 19 years’ experience in homeless services, including direct practice, program administration, performance evaluation, and grant applications in a school district, city and state governments, and non-profit organizations.

Ms. Rychlik is a Licensed Master Social Worker who earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social work from The University of Texas at Austin.

Kristin Zakoor

Data Coordinator

Kristin is the Data Coordinator at THN. She is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the Point-In-Time Count and Housing Inventory Count. She also works closely with the HMIS 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.