Apply Now to Join Leadership Council
The Austin/Travis County Homelessness Response System (HRS) is now accepting applications to serve on its Leadership Council, the primary decision-making body for the Austin/Travis County Continuum of Care, tasked with guiding local policy and directing the efforts of committees and workgroups in governance.
The Leadership Council is recruiting 3 new members. These are unpaid, volunteer positions, though people with lived experience of homelessness may be eligible for compensation.
- Person with Lived Expertise of Homelessness: Candidate must be an individual who is experiencing or has a history of experiencing homelessness. (1 seat)
- Homeless Response System Provider (Non-HUD Funding): The non-HUD funded provider is an agency that does not receive HUD funding. This seat on the Board will represent one or more homeless subpopulation. (1 seat)
- System Partner: This seat on the Board can include any community stakeholder interested in ending homelessness through the planning and coordination of the Homeless Response System. (1 seat)
All Leadership Council Members are expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct (PDF), which lays out specific expectations for decorum and attendance. In particular, Leadership Council Members are expected to attend public monthly meetings (from 12 – 2 p.m. on the first Monday of the month), as well as monthly closed executive sessions (11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. every third Monday of the month). They are also required to participate as a voting member of at least one Committee, most of which meet once a month for about an hour. Occasionally, there are items that require additional short-term attention, such as the Housing and Urban Development Department’s Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFO), which will require an additional time commitment. Including meeting preparation, members should anticipate devoting between 5 to 15 hours per month on Leadership Council responsibilities. Terms for elected seats are a minimum of two years, and a maximum of three years.
The CoC has adopted the Board Selection Policy (PDF) to ensure that the Homelessness Response System (HRS) is composed of representatives of diverse racial backgrounds, lived experiences of homelessness, and diverse professional backgrounds from across and beyond the HRS.
The window for applications is now open, and applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
The current Leadership Council members will evaluate and score candidates applying to fill vacant seats. Once the scored candidates have been selected, they will be added to a slate, and formally endorsed by the LC. The endorsed candidates will then be presented to the HRS stakeholders at an All Stakeholder Meeting, where they will be elected by majority vote.
Please submit your application at the link above.
Leadership Council is the governing body for Austin/Travis County’s Homelessness Response System. The Council is made up of people with firsthand experience of homelessness, service providers, local government leaders, and community equity advocates. The group is responsible for setting and upholding best practices, policies, and procedures for organizations that provide services to unhoused people in our community.
About Leadership Council
Communities across the U.S. receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Continuum of Care (CoC) program. These funds come with certain requirements, one of which is to create and facilitate a governing CoC Board to ensure the community works together toward solutions to end homelessness.
The CoC Board existed in Austin and Travis County as Membership Council until 2021. In 2020, our community initiated an extensive restructuring of the Board to center firsthand experience of homelessness and racial equity in both the composition and the guiding charge of the group. Stakeholders at our annual spring meeting approved the first slate of Leadership Council voting members in May 2021.
Summer Wright (she/her), Co-Chair
Youth with Lived Experience
Summer Wright works in Street Outreach with Lifeworks, serving youth and young adults experiencing all forms of homelessness in Austin, TX. In her ongoing work in advocacy and policy, she also serves as a co-chair of the Austin/Travis County Continuum of Care Governing Board. She has worked in direct service with refugees and queer people experiencing homelessness and continues to be a strong advocate for equity. Summer earned her GED in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Dylan Shubitz (he/him), Co-Chair
Public Housing Authority Representative
Dylan Shubitz began his career in the Austin Continuum of Care in 2004 as an Americorps volunteer with the housing team at Integral Care. A few years later, Dylan joined the Assisted Housing department at the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, and eventually began managing the department’s homelessness programs. He has been active in the Austin CoC at the system level for over 10 years, pushing to integrate and align HACA’s programs with the community’s strategy to end homelessness. Dylan holds a Bachelor’s degree from Boston University, and a Master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
Liz Baker (she/her)
Liz Baker is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and has 13 years experience working to deliver collaborative and effective homeless services in Austin. She currently sits as the Chief Programs Officer at The Other Ones Foundation, where she previously served as a founding board member. Liz leads her team to develop, implement and monitor a variety of homeless service programs, while amplifying the voices of those being served. Prior to joining TOOF, she worked at Integral Care for more than 10 years implementing various mental health, homeless service and permanent housing projects. Liz believes that everyone is deserving of shelter, opportunity and support.
João Paulo Connolly (he/him), Co-Chair
João Paulo Connolly (@ConnollyJoao) is currently the Organizing Director for Austin Justice Coalition. In recent years, his advocacy and mobilizing efforts have focused on housing and mobility justice, land use, and equitable urban design. With the Austin Justice Coalition, he has helped to raise funding for supportive housing and services, advocate for permanent supportive housing projects, and convene experiential experts, service providers, and policy-makers, in the effort to design new systems fitted to the needs of a diverse unhoused community. He has previously served on the Citizens Police Review Commission and on the Planning Commission for the City of Austin. Currently serves on Leadership Council of the Austin/Travis County’s Continuum of Care and continues to serve on the Community Advisory Committee for Project Connect.
Tiffany Hart (she/they)
Person with Lived Expertise of Homelessness
Tiffany comes to the Leadership Council with a background of over 10+ years of working to end homelessness. They believe that their lived expertise of homelessness and housing instability is what brought them to this work. What keeps them here is the desire and drive to dismantle systems of oppression and white supremacy alongside young people and partners in this work so that we can all truly experience liberation. Their background is rooted in social work and social justice. Approaching this work with a healing-centered mindset, empathy, open-mindedness, and compassionate curiosity is what keeps them grounded. Tiffany has worked as a HUD Technical Assistance Provider, CoC Leader, and direct service provider in communities across the country working to end homelessness. They believe that to end homelessness communities MUST be led by the experts-meaning people with lived expertise of homelessness.
Amanda Jasso (she/her)
City of Austin Equity Office
Amanda Jasso joined the City of Austin Equity Office in 2018. As an Equity & Inclusion Program Manager she provides racial equity consultation City-wide, but primarily to those departments reporting under the City’s “Economic Opportunity & Affordability” and “Mobility” strategic outcome areas. Her background in community archives is helpful in connecting the past to our present and our future, reminding us that past harms continue to be perpetuated in our City’s policies, practices, and procedures. She applies historical context to racial equity work as one way of honoring the labor of those before us in the quest for systemic change. She holds a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania.
Richard Glen Johnson Jr. (he/him)
Person with Lived Expertise of Homelessness
Richard Glen Johnson Jr. is a Community Health Worker who currently works assisting those experiencing homelessness through The University of Texas at Austin Dell School of Medicine. His goal is to make sure those living unhoused and with medical concerns will someday rest well at their home. Richard received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Huston-Tillotson University.
Jason Phillips (he/him)
HUD Funded Provider
Jason Phillips, LMSW, represents the HUD Funded Agency seat on Leadership Council. He currently serves as the Deputy Director of Permanent Supportive Housing and Integrated Services at Caritas of Austin. Jason is a social worker who started working in homeless services in 2009 as a Keep Austin Housed AmeriCorps Member. Since then, Jason has worked in direct services at a shelter, managing VISTA projects for the Texas Homeless Network, overseeing supportive housing programs and services, and has volunteered with various advocacy organizations throughout the years.
Paola Silvestre Porras (she/her)
Education or Workforce Development
Paola Silvestre Porras leads Social Impact work at Indeed. Prior to joining Indeed she worked at United Way for Greater Austin, heading up implementation of the first community-wide two generation strategic plan in the US. She works to ensure programs and systems in the Austin/Travis County area create pathways for families to achieve financial stability and advance racial justice. Prior to joining the United Way team in 2019, Paola worked at Goodwill Central Texas for three years, and before entering the nonprofit world, she worked over 12 years in Investment Banking. She holds a degree in Business Administration from La Universidad de los Andes.
Emily Seales, LCSW-S (she/her)
Non-HUD Funded Provider
Emily Seales is a licensed clinical social worker with over 15 years of direct experience working with people experiencing homelessness. Emily, who currently works as the Supervisor Lead and Case Manager for the iCAN research study with Sunrise Homelessness Navigation Center, represents the non-HUD funded providers in the Austin/Travis County Homelessness Response System. She also serves on the Performance Monitoring Committee and as coordinator of the Free Transportation for People Experiencing Homelessness Initiative workgroup. Emily is a fierce advocate for social justice with a commitment to racial equity, housing as a human right, centering the voices of people with lived experience, and the intersectionality of homelessness and other vulnerabilities.
Ebonie Trice (she/her)
Ebonie Trice is a native of Gary, IN who relocated to Austin, TX in 2011. In July 2014, Ebonie founded Mission Accomplished, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to helping those in need. Mission Accomplished serves the Greater Austin area. Mission Accomplished primary program is Operation Clean Clothes where we provide a FREE mobile laundry service to individuals experiencing homelessness. While running Mission Accomplished, Ebonie attends college to further her education and skills. She’s a recent graduate of Austin Community College and a current student at Texas State University. Ebonie’s goal is to become a social worker with intentions to help dismantle systems that hinder individuals from living healthy, prosperous, and stable lives. Ebonie advocates in and around her community for social justice, providing support to underestimated populations, and working towards systemic change. She is also a supporter for adult students continuing higher education through interpersonal communication, social media outreach, and Free Minds Program. When not running a company and going to class, Ebonie enjoys reading, binge-watching action movies, spending time with loved ones, meeting like-minded people, and riding her motorcycle.
Dr. Larry Wallace, Jr. (he/him)
Healthcare and/or Disability
Dr. Wallace is a former mayor and Army Combat Retiree with experience as the Black Men’s Health Clinic Co-Founder & Board President; Texas Veterans Commission’s Veterans Services Advisory Committee Vice Chair; Boy Scouts of America Capitol Area Council – Executive Board Member & Strategic Committee Vice Chair; Austin-Travis County Sobering Center Board Director; American Youth Works Board Member; Austin- Travis County Food Plan Advisory Board Member; Austin-Travis County Public Health Commission Inaugural Chair; Unparalleled Preparatory Academy Founding Board Member; Central Texas African American Family Support Conference Planning Committee member; Austin District 1 Chief of Staff; Austin Area Urban League’s Special Advisor for Environmental Justice & Advocacy; City of Austin Resiliency HUB Advisory Committee; Austin ECHO’s Aging & Unhoused Affinity Group; Senior Access Advisory Member; Eastern Crescent Healthy Now Committee Advisory Member; Texas Municipal League’s Region 10 President; and Capital Area Regional Transportation Planning Organization Board Member.
According to the CoC Board Selection Policy, Leadership Council voting seats are reserved as follows:
HRS Leadership Council Seat Category Number/ Seat Types Seat Terms Government
1. Local Government Representative - Travis County
2. City of Austin Homeless Strategy Officer
3. City of Austin Equity Office and/or Civil Rights Office
3 Appointed Seats No term Limit Public Housing Authority Representative: Housing
Authority City of Austin (HACA)
1 Appointed Seat No Term Limit Homeless Response System Providers
1. HUD funded Provider
2. Provider NOT a recipient of HUD funds
2 Elected Seats 2-year min to 3-
Healthcare and/or Disability 1 Elected Seat 2-year min to 3-
Mental Health/Substance Abuse 1 Elected Seat 2-year min to 3-
Education or Workforce Development 1 Elected Seat 2-year min to 3-
Other Funders (Elected) 1 Elected Seat 2-year min to 3-
Persons with Lived Expertise of Homelessness
1. Youth or Young Adult Community Advocate w/ Lived
Experience of Homelessness
2. Community Advocate w/ Lived Experience of
3. Community Advocate w/ Lived Experience of
3 Elected Seats 2-year min to 3-
To ensure maximum representation, the “Other” seats prioritize
candidates that increase diverse stakeholder representation.
0 or 2 Seats Elected
Membership must equal
an odd number
2-year min to 3-
Committees & Workgroups
One of Leadership Council’s duties is to oversee the activities of Committees and Workgroups. Currently there are five standing committees that create workgroups as needed for specific Committee tasks. Visit each Committee page for more information and meeting materials.
Unless otherwise noted, all Committee and Workgroup meetings are open to the public. Find links to join virtually at the meeting calendar below.
Leadership Council is responsible for developing, approving, and enforcing policies, procedures, and written standards for projects that are funded through our local Continuum of Care (CoC). Some additional funders in our community, including the City of Austin, often require projects they fund to follow these same standards.
Leadership Council meets publicly monthly on the first Monday of each month from 12-2 p.m. Committees and Workgroups meet publicly according to the schedules of voting members and/or group leads.