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Where Housing First Is Working

The Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County and UMOM New Day Centers in Phoenix share their strategies for getting and keeping people housed.

May 3, 2023

When the Department of Housing and Urban Development released its 2022 Annual Homeless Assessment Report late last year, it noted that 582,462 people in the U.S. were experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2022. There are people across the country who are working to change this number by providing housing options and otherwise meeting peoples’ needs.

In this session, we’ll hear from practitioners who are getting and keeping people housed. They’ll share their strategies for moving people from homelessness to permanent housing — and the suite of support services that they offer. The format will be roughly 20 minutes of presentations followed by a 40-minute Q&A, moderated by editorial director Deonna Anderson.



Deonna Anderson is Next City’s editorial director. An award-winning journalist, she has served as a senior editor GreenBiz and worked with YES! Magazine, KLCC (an NPR affiliate station in Eugene, Oregon), The Lily, Atmos and other media outlets. Anderson is an alumna of the University of California, Davis and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. She lives in the Bay Area. She was also Next City’s 2017-2018 Equitable Cities Reporting Fellow.



Steven Stivers is a passionate, driven, and strategic leader who believes in thoughtfully leveraging people and systems to build results-driven impact in our community for the most vulnerable among us. In his role as Chief Operating Officer (COO) at UMOM New Day Centers in Phoenix, Steven provides high-level leadership, strategic insight, and impact-focused support in UMOM’s mission of ending family homelessness by restoring hope & rebuilding lives. He is responsible for managing all aspects of the internal operations of the organization that serves 15,000 people experiencing homelessness each year with a budget of $22M and a team of 175 talented & passionate changemakers. He is responsible for leading the talent/HR, change management, internal communications, finance, and property management departments of the organization. His specialty is designing system-level changes that improve efficiency, effectiveness, and consistency of operations. He has served UMOM’s mission for seven years in several roles including Chief Operating Officer, Chief Program Officer, and Chief Administrative Officer.


Toni Benson-Atkinson, Director of Outreach and Coordinated Access, joined the Coalition for the Homeless in 2019- however had been a part of the Collaborative’s Rapid Rehousing program since 2016. In addition to her experience with Rapid Rehousing she also brought with her 10+ years of experience in various fields of social service. Originally from Stafford Springs, CT, Toni graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in biology and currently resides in the suburbs of Houston with her sons and Great Dane.

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