NEWS Mayor appoints first assistant for Homeless Initiatives

Joined by fellow community leaders, Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced the appointment of Mandy Chapman Semple as the City's first Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives. Semple will lead the City's efforts to create and implement a  comprehensive, collaborative plan to address chronic homelessness.

Over the past three years, the Parker Administration helped facilitate the construction of over 1,200 housing units serving the homeless and helped thousands of homeless individuals transition off the streets.

"We have made great strides fighting homelessness, and the appointment of a dedicated expert solely focused on the issue will enable us to achieve even more," said Parker.  "Homelessness is a complex problem, and Ms. Semple brings to the City a wealth of leadership, real world experience, and technical expertise."

As Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives, Semple will work on behalf of the City to expedite the development and implementation of strategies to eliminate chronic homelessness and more effectively serve Houston's homeless population. Semple will work with the mayor, city council and city departments, as well as private, public and non-profit stakeholders to carry out a variety of duties, including:

  • Develop a plan to guide City policies and practices;
  • Develop a strategy to align, leverage and responsibly allocate City resources;
  • Lead interagency collaboration efforts related to development of rapid re-housing strategies, supportive housing and alignment of supportive service resources;
  • Represent the City at external Continuum of Care, planning and implementation meetings;
  • Manage relationships with outside experts and guide technical assistance activities; and
  • Coordinate initiatives with the business and philanthropic communities.

This newly created position is funded through a public/private partnership between the City of Houston (utilizing Homeless and Housing Bond funds) and the Houston Downtown Management District.

Semple has nearly a decade of experience working on a broad range of homeless issues.   Having served on a HUD Technical Assistance Team, Semple is an accomplished grant writer with in-depth knowledge of federal programs and regulations. Additionally, she served as executive director of a homeless transitional shelter, has assisted cities throughout the nation to create permanent supportive housing and is an expert in creating comprehensive, homeless response systems. Semple earned a master of science degree in Public Health from Tulane University and a bachelor of science degree in Microbiology from Kansas State University.

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