ECHO staff provide dynamic, proactive leadership that engages policy makers and the community to end homelessness.
Ann Howard is the first Executive Director of the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition in Austin, Travis County; she has held the position since October of 2011. After 1 year of Ann’s leadership, the Texas Homeless Network named ECHO as the Outstanding Coalition in 2012. Since then, ECHO has partnered with CSH to examine feasibility for Pay for Success and plans to advance to the deal structuring stage, acquired 3 HUD HMIS grants and 1 COC Planning Grant; been included in a $3.5 million state grant, and a $3M VA SSVF grant and has increased the ECHO budget from $100,000 to over $1,000,000. ECHO participates with the CAN Indicator Dashboard Steering Committee, the PSH Finance Leadership Committee, Travis County Criminal Justice Planning Council, the Mayor’s Task Force on the Innovation Zone, the Psychiatric Stakeholders Committee and the Housing Works Board of Directors as an advisory member. Ann was an active leader in the city-wide campaign to pass the recent $65M Affordable Housing Bonds and City resolutions to dedicate proceeds from a downtown Austin Density program to support housing first PSH and to set a new goal to build 400 units of PSH with at least 200 of them being housing first and to increase funding for health and human services.
Ann is an alumnus of the University of Texas, with a JD from the School of Law, and an MPA from the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Ann has been married to John Howard, her law school classmate for 26 years and together they have been active in Austin public schools, youth sports, scouts, The University of Texas and Baylor University and the Lutheran Church. These activities assist Ann in her work to build collaboration and partnerships.
Niki Paul joined the ECHO team in January 2014 bringing over 8 years of programmatic and administrative experience in homeless services. Prior to coming to ECHO, Niki worked as the Program Coordinator for the Philadelphia Alliance for Supportive Services for Veteran Families in Philadelphia, PA where she focused on coordinating strategic community resources and forging critical community partnerships with the effort to end homelessness for Veterans and their family members. Niki is thrilled to join the ECHO team and is dedicated to ending homelessness Austin, TX.
Laura joined the ECHO team in August 2017 from Houston. Her work has ranged from managing local political campaigns and permanent supportive housing programs to providing direct clinical services to clients as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. While working at SEARCH, Laura piloted housing navigation as Houston implemented a Coordinated Entry system to end Veteran and chronic homelessness, and later helped establish and lead the first PSH Integrated Care Model in the state. She is passionate about using Evidence Based Practices to improve program outcomes. She has led past agencies in creating Continuous Quality Improvement workgroups to help programs improve data quality and effectively use interventions to measure outcomes. She has a vast knowledge of housing first systems and managing team dynamics.
Laura earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Houston and completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Southwestern University.
Casey came to ECHO in August of 2014 as a Coordinated Assessment Implementation Specialist. Since then, she has joined the Operations Department as CoC Coordinator. Casey is an alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin and has enjoyed seven years in the non-profit sector. Past agencies include Sacred Heart Catholic Church, The Settlement Home for Children, and Front Steps (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless). Outside of work, Casey spearheads an advocacy project, Humanize Me, hoping to raise awareness for homeless issues and change the public’s perception of the homeless community. Additionally, Casey enjoys spending time outdoors, horror films, and baking.
Linda Wolfe came to ECHO in June 2017 as an Accounting Specialist to assist in financial management/reporting and administrative functions as it relates to finance and internal controls. Linda brings with her eighteen years of experience in the non-profit environment. She has thirteen years of experience with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society where she held positions of Accounts Payable Manager for the South Central Chapter and previously Finance/HR Manager at the Oklahoma Chapter in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Linda was also the Title VI Director for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma where she managed a federal grant for the Miami Tribe that also contracted with three additional Indian tribes to provide nutrition and supportive services.
Linda has been active as a volunteer with the MS150 in various locations, MS Walk Austin, MS Dinner of Champions as well as leadership positions in several church organizations working with youth and women’s groups. Outside of her work at ECHO, she is a personal assistant and bookkeeper for a busy Texas country music singer/songwriter.
Mariana Salazar joined ECHO in May 2015. She has over 13 years of experience working with non-profits, local governments and state and federal agencies in the areas of housing and community development.
Mariana is committed to designing and implementing policies and programs rooted on data, research, innovation and bold thinking. Ultimately, she is committed to tackling pressing social issues, expanding opportunities and reducing hardship among the most vulnerable on our communities.
Mariana holds a B.A. in Economics with Management from Ohio Wesleyan University and an M.A. in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Tim Long joined ECHO in June 2017. He has six years of experience using data and research to support policy decisions at the state and federal levels. Tim is committed to ensuring every person has stable housing and is proud to be a member of the ECHO team.
Tim is an alumnus of the University of California, Berkeley, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.
Katy joined ECHO in July 2015. After her introduction to homeless services in a 400-bed men’s emergency shelter in Brooklyn, NY, Katy went on to develop and manage permanent supportive housing (PSH) programs in New York City and Guilford County, NC. Most recently, Katy developed and launched a successful Coordinated Assessment system in Guilford County, as well as evaluated the community impact of a Housing First PSH program.
Katy holds a M.A. in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is passionate about the pragmatic use of data to drive homeless services, find solutions, and guide system development. Katy is committed to ending homelessness and is very excited to join the ECHO team and the Austin community!
Richard Dodson has been the HMIS Trainer since 2010 and was promoted to HMIS Administrator in May of 2012. He holds several industry certifications as an IT Technician and Trainer, but he considers himself an actor and a singer first and a technician second. Richard has a BA in Spanish and History from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD.
Michael joined the ECHO team in March 2016. He came to us with over 8 years of IT experience and is now serving as our HMIS Support Specialist. In his free time Michael enjoys making new art, specifically mixed media magazine collages, and screen-printing. Although he hasn’t had much experience dealing directly with Austin’s homeless population, his big heart and passion for helping others makes him a great addition to the ECHO team.
Melissa joined ECHO in March of 2017. She has a variety of experiences working with Austin’s homeless community and is excited to continue to serve in a system-wide capacity. In her previous work, she has had the privilege to work with dynamic programs that have helped her grow as a Social Worker.
Melissa has an MSW in Social and Economic Development from The Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. She is passionate about program evaluation and excellent training and support for all service providers. Melissa is excited to join the ECHO team and continue to work to end homelessness in Austin/Travis County.
Bree Williams began her work with ECHO in August of 2014. Bree has been dedicated to serving her Austin neighbors experiencing homelessness through wonderful opportunities to work with Austin Travis County Integral Care, the Downtown Austin Community Court, as well as Front Steps and Foundation Communities. Bree is an alumna of Texas State University where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Social Work, and is currently a Licensed Master Social Worker.
Bree strongly believes in Austin’s ability to end homelessness through unique collaboration and innovation, and enthusiastically looks forward to the day homelessness comes to an end in Austin/Travis County.
During her time away from ECHO, Bree loves to spend time with her family walking and running on trails all over Austin.
Joining the ECHO team in 2016, Abby comes to us with a background in community organizing and engagement. Since her youth, Abby has prioritized her passion for equality, which has led to her unapologetic approach to social justice today. Most recently, the Landlord Outreach Specialist with the Veterans program at Caritas of Austin, she is proud to have served a central role in the Mayor’s challenge to reach Functional Zero among Veterans. Ready to take on HUD’s next mandate, Abby is highly motivated to employ all that she has learned towards the community’s effort to end chronic homelessness.
Outside of her dedication to social justice, Abby can be found camping, practicing yoga, and planning her next travel adventure.
Nadia joined the team in December 2017 as a Community Housing Liaison. Before starting at ECHO, she worked with Front Steps Supportive Services for Veteran Families as a Landlord Outreach Specialist. Nadia is originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies. Nadia is excited to be a part of ECHO and the goal to end homelessness in Austin.
Carolyn Smith began working with ECHO in February 2018. Carolyn joined the Austin community after departure from the U.S. Army. She has work experience in areas of healthcare, civil service, numerous community volunteer programs, and now with the homelessness Veteran community with ECHO through AmeriCorps. Carolyn is an alumna of Texas State University where she earned her Bachelor’s in General Studies with an emphasis in Sociology, Women Studies, and International Studies.
Carolyn believes that the right community can be a great community when all are served equally.
Carolyn enjoys traveling with her two daughters across America, Canada, and Latin America when possible.
Originally from Forney, Texas, Preston Petty has been working in the non-profit sector since joining the East Texas Crisis Center in 2005. Other prior non-profit employers have included the Japan Exchange Teaching Program, AmeriCorps Keep Austin Housed, Front Steps at the ARCH, and the Best Single Source Plus Program at Caritas of Austin. His hobbies include rock climbing, SCUBA diving, and sky diving, making it anyone’s guess as to whether he will die above, below, or at precisely sea level.
Originally coming from the wild west of Alpine, Texas. Alesandra Dominguez has been working in the non-profit world since 2012. Before joining the ECHO team in August 2014 as a coordinated assessment implementation specialist, she worked as the single women’s and passages case manager for the Salvation Army.
Alesandra is an alumni of Texas State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Social work. Some of her hobbies include camping, and enjoying all the live music Austin has to offer.
Alesandra is thrilled to be part of ECHO where the goal is ending homelessness in Austin/Travis County.
Allison Mabbs joined the ECHO team as a Coordinated Assessment Implementation Specialist in January of 2016 and in 2017 became the agency’s first Coordinated Assessment Program Assistant. Before starting at ECHO, she worked for both Caritas of Austin and Foundation Communities. Allison is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota and graduated from Macalester College with a B.A. in Sociology and Hispanic Studies. After tolerating Minnesota winters for over two decades, she decided it was time for a change and moved to Austin following graduation. While Allison adamantly denies having a typical mid-western accent, HEB cashiers tend to giggle when she asks for a “bag”.
Jenelle joined ECHO as a Coordinated Assessment Implementation Specialist in October 2016. Prior to working at ECHO, Jenelle worked as a CPS Investigator at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Before beginning her work in social services, Jenelle graduated from Howard University in 2013 with a B.A. degree in Sociology. Jenelle enjoys painting/drawing, Octavia Butler novels, and making people laugh.
Bhumika joined ECHO as a Coordinated Assessment Implementation Specialist in July 2017. Prior to joining our team, Bhumika worked at Housing and Urban Development Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing program (HUD-VASH) as a Social Work Intern. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Master of Science in Social Work in May 2017 and is currently a Licensed Master Social Worker. Bhumika enjoys travelling, hiking and camping at national parks across United States.
Kaleigh joined ECHO as a Coordinated Assessment Implementation Specialist in January 2016. She has worked at both Front Steps and The Salvation Army completing coordinated assessments. Prior to her work in non-profits, Kaleigh graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelors in Social Work in 2014. You can generally find her watching scary movies, biking to her favorite coffee shops, and eating breakfast tacos.
Axton joined ECHO in 2018, bringing with him 3 years of experience in non-profits and a deep passion for ending homelessness. He grew up in Oklahoma and attended the University of Oklahoma where he earned a B.A. in psychology. Prior to ECHO, Axton worked with community mental health providers in Oklahoma City and Austin where he endeavored to increase access to mental health care and housing. Axton enjoys good tacos, strange music, and watching nature documentaries with his cats.
James joined the ECHO Team in October 2017 as a Bilingual Coordinated Assessment Implementation Specialist. Born in California and raised in Kentucky, James went to college in North Carolina. He has traveled extensively throughout the US and has lived in Ireland, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. James graduated from Elon University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s in Philosophy and has since worked in restaurants, on farms, and in schools. He began doing social services work in 2015 and has worked primarily with the homeless population, including a year at the ARCH working as a Career Case Manager for Goodwill. James has been in Austin for over four years and loves being surrounded by swimming holes, warm weather, and delicious food.
In July 2015, Katie came to ECHO from AIDS Services of Austin, where she provided direct services to HIV+ clients in a housing crisis. At ASA she facilitated the Best Single Source Plus program for the agency, worked with literally and chronically homeless clients, and created relationships with landlords and other housing providers.
Katie has a Master’s degree in Medical Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Texas A&M University. Katie has traveled to Zambia, India, England, and much of Europe. In addition to traveling, Katie spends her free time enjoying live music, eating chips and salsa at every opportunity, and doing hot yoga.
Jordan Schmid first joined ECHO as a Coordinated Assessment Implementation Specialist at the beginning of 2016 and became an Outreach & Navigation Specialist in March of 2018. Prior to working at ECHO Jordan worked as a CA staff at Front Steps, and as a Youth Care Coordinator at the Settlement Home for Children. Before beginning his work in the non-profit sector, Jordan graduated from St. Edward’s University in December of 2013 with a BA in History. Jordan enjoys travelling (Including visits to his family in the Fatherland), service work and he is also a little too into sports and hip-hop.
Razan joined ECHO as an Outreach and Navigation Specialist in March 2018. Originally from Dallas, she brings four years of non-profit experience, previously working in refugee resettlement at the International Rescue Committee. Razan graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2013 with a B.A. in International Political Economy. She is committed to the belief that everyone deserves access to resources to lift themselves out of hardship. Outside of work, Razan enjoys riding her bike, scoping out the Austin food scene, and dancing salsa and bachata when she can.
Nicolina joined the ECHO team in September 2017. Originally from Northern Illinois, she moved to Austin following college graduation to start her career fighting social injustices. She has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from St. Ambrose University in Iowa and is currently working on her Masters Degree in Social Work through the University of Southern California Virtual Academic Center. Most recently she has worked providing direct services at Front Steps connecting clients to benefits using the SOAR model as well as having a lead role with Front Steps SSVF team during the Mayors Challenge to reach functional zero among Veterans.
Outside of work and school, Nicolina loves to travel and visits her favorite cities frequently to spend time with her family in Chicago and Boston. When she isn’t jet-setting, you can find her enjoying all of the tacos Austin has to offer.