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The Team

Get To Know Us

Megan Kurteff-Schatz Focus Strategies Team Headshot Smiling Wearing Blue Business Jacket

Megan Kurteff-Schatz

  • President
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Megan Kurteff-Schatz

President

Megan is the founder and president of Focus Strategies, a national consulting and technical assistance firm dedicated to assisting communities reduce and end homelessness. Since 2006, Focus Strategies has assisted several States and more than 50 communities on projects which typically include assessing the impact of homeless system investments; delivering recommendations on optimizing system and program design elements; analyzing data to identify disparities and providing technical assistance to address them; and supporting affordable housing developments from pre-development through operation. Megan frequently speaks with community and elected leadership about systems change efforts to reduce homelessness and regularly presents at national forums on solutions to homelessness. She holds an Executive Leadership credential from University of California at Davis and two Master’s Degrees in Social Work and Public Policy from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

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Tracy Bennett, Ph.D.

  • Director of Analytics and Evaluation
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Tracy Bennett, Ph.D.

Director of Analytics and Evaluation

Tracy oversees and facilitates all data-informed planning and evaluation at Focus Strategies. She is responsible for the development of analytic tools and has been instrumental in guiding the evolution of the SWAP suite of tools. Since joining Focus Strategies in 2014, Tracy has also participated in and overseen system analyses, strategic plans, and performance reports in many communities including
Seattle/King County, WA; San Mateo County, CA; and Palm Beach County and Jacksonville, FL.

Tracy has designed and led evaluations of specific components of homeless systems including Coordinated Entry for Pierce County, WA; Youth Coordinated Entry in Hollywood, CA (working with Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles), and a Rapid Rehousing Pilot Program for Single Adults in Phoenix, AZ (working with Valley of the Sun United Way). Other projects she oversees include Point-in-Time Count methodologies and the statistical analysis associated with extrapolating PIT data to estimate the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness in various communities. Tracy has mo re than 25 years of experience in performance measurement and outcomes, as well as using data to inform policy development. Her work has touched multiple areas of social study and policy, which include domestic violence and abuse, and mental illness and substance abuse amongst housed and homeless individuals. Tracy received a Ph.D. at UCLA in Social Psychology, with two minors, one in Health Psychology and the other in Measurement and Statistics.

Katherine Gale Focus Strategies Team Smiling Wearing Blue Suit Jacket Wearing Gold Green Necklace

Katharine Gale

  • Principal Associate
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Katharine Gale

Principal Associate

As Principal Associate and co-founder of Focus Strategies, Katharine has 25 years experience in the fields of homelessness, special needs housing, and community development. With Focus, she co-leads program and system evaluations, helps develop community-wide plans for reducing homelessness, and assists in the creation and implementation of performance measures and system standards. She also provides technical assistance and training on coordinated entry, prevention, rapid re-housing, and related topics. During 2013, Katharine served as a Policy Director for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness where her portfolio included family homelessness, performance measurement, and research. Prior to consulting, she worked for the Alameda County Housing and Community Development Department overseeing Federal and State housing and homeless programs, including serving as Deputy Director. Katharine holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from UC Berkeley.

Matt Mitchell

  • Senior Analytics Consultant
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Matt Mitchell

Senior Analytics Consultant

As a Senior Analytics Consultant, Matt leads analytics projects for communities using data driven strategies in their work to reduce homelessness. He conducts system evaluations and supports communities translate findings into actionable system improvement and policy change and development. Matt foregrounds equity in his work through rigorous measurement and analysis and by incorporating the voices of stakeholders and service recipients.

Before joining Focus, Matt worked in affordable housing and homeless healthcare for twelve years. He served in a variety of roles including street and hospital outreach, case management, quality improvement, data strategy, and analytics. His interests include population segmentation, strategic planning, system design, and data-driven decision making. Matt holds a master’s degree in religion, ethics, and politics from Harvard University.

David Forte

  • Senior Consultant
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David Forte

Senior Consultant

David is a Senior Consultant at Focus Strategies where he manages and contributes to consulting and technical assistance projects working to improve communities’ efforts to end homelessness. His expertise includes program design and evaluation, data analysis and visualization, and affordable housing and homelessness policy. Prior to joining Focus Strategies, David was Lead Impact and Evaluation Manager at the King County Housing Authority where he led research, evaluation, and analytic projects supporting homeless housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and other social impact programs. Before his time at the Housing Authority, he served as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School, as well as in program evaluation and fund development roles with nonprofit organizations in Seattle, WA and Boston, MA. David holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance and a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Texas A&M University.

Tara Carruth

  • Senior Consultant
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Tara Carruth

Senior Consultant

As a Senior Consultant, Tara oversees complex consulting engagements and manages teams of
consultants and other support staff. Prior to joining Focus Strategies, Tara was the Director of the
Ventura County Continuum of Care (CoC). In this role, she facilitated regional cooperation in allocating
federal and state funding and focused on improving system performance. She also served as the lead in
COVID-19 homelessness response, providing non-congregate shelter and coordinating other critical
services. Under her leadership, the CoC improved regional partnerships and collaborations with the
shared goal to make homelessness rare, brief and a one-time occurrence. If Focus Strategies is selected
for this project, Tara will be the Project Manager for this work and will be responsible for: overseeing
information gathering and development of the needs assessment, design and implementation of the
stakeholder engagement process, working closely with City staff and other key stakeholders to interpret
the input and findings from the information gathering and data analysis processes, and leading the
development of the goals and strategies to be incorporated in the Plan.

Vanessa Fenley

  • Senior Consultant
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Vanessa Fenley

Senior Consultant

As a Senior Consultant at Focus Strategies, Vanessa oversees and manages a variety of projects for our client communities. She works with our clients to analyze their homeless systems and develop solutions, conducts research on best practices in the field, analyzes information sources, authors reports, and facilitates stakeholder input processes. As a project manager, Vanessa is responsible for producing meeting deliverables, as well as delivering quality products on-time and on budget.

Vanessa has over a decade of experience working in both local government and non-profit organizations to transform homelessness and behavioral health systems in communities. Prior to joining Focus Strategies, she served as an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration; as the Director of Homeward 2020, a local initiative to make homelessness rare, short-lived, and non-recurring in Fort Collins, Colorado; and as the Director of the Denver Office of Drug Strategy. She also has experience consulting on a variety of homelessness and housing plans and programs, including developing a governance structure for a new Continuum of Care and overseeing the process to submit their first application for HUD funding. Vanessa has a PhD in Public Affairs from the University of Colorado – Denver and a Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of Kansas

Hana Gossett

  • Consultant
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Hana Gossett

Consultant

 Hana is responsible for leading and supporting homelessness response system improvement initiatives in communities throughout the United States. She manages technical assistance engagements, designs and implements stakeholder engagement processes, and develops analytical and policy content for reports and other publications. She has a strong background in coordination of homelessness response system efforts. Prior to joining Focus, she was CoC Director at the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, where she worked to improve homelessness response systems in metropolitan Albuquerque and in the New Mexico Balance of State. Her accomplishments included improving CoC processes for decision-making and applying for HUD funding, supporting the 2020 Census to improve inclusion of neighbors experiencing homelessness in the count, and facilitating capacity building for organizations across the state through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Hana holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of New Mexico.

Diego De La Peza

  • Analytics Consultant
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Diego De La Peza

Analytics Consultant

Diego recently joined Focus Strategies with over 5 years of health and social services program evaluation, research, and data management experience. As an Analytics Consultant at Focus, Diego leads program evaluation projects, assists in the analysis and interpretation of data, and develops data-driven recommendations for reducing homelessness. In his previous role, Diego led a Research and Evaluation department in creating structures for reporting data to government agencies, evaluating programs to improve the delivery of social services, and using data to better understand the intersectionality of homelessness, substance use, and mental health.  He is passionate about ensuring equity is at the forefront of data analysis and data-driven policy recommendations.

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Nina Prudhomme

  • Administrative Manager
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Nina Prudhomme

Administrative Manager

Nina is responsible for administrative support to the company’s president, office management, and project-specific support to the Focus Strategies team. She prepares reports and documents for publication, handles information requests and coordinates staff calendars, makes all business-related travel arrangements, and manages client insurance requirements.

In addition to administrative responsibilities and day to day office operations, Nina is involved in analysis and negotiation of contract terms and ensures Focus Strategies project management is informed of terms and expectations. Nina’s background and experience lies in office management and business operations. Prior to joining Focus, she worked as an Operations Manager for an Import and Mail Order Retail Business as well as an Office Manager for a multi-lawyer Law Firm. Nina received her Masters in Economics from the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Shae Rowe

  • Administrative Analyst
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Shae Rowe

Administrative Analyst

As an Administrative Analyst, Shae provides high-level administrative support to the organization and project-specific support to the Focus Strategies housing team. Shae is responsible for scheduling, managing staff calendars, preparing reports and documents for publication, and working on accounts receivable and payable. Shae has three years of compliance experience in both the legal industry and in Human Resources, as well as experience in management and non-profit fundraising. As a Compliance Specialist, Shae aided in tracking, hosting, and planning large-scale Continued Learning Education Events for both law and healthcare professionals throughout CA and NY. As a fundraiser, Shae has raised thousands of dollars for organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund, the Human Rights Campaign, the Los Angeles Youth Network (now known as Youth Emerging Stronger), and others. Shae holds a bachelors degree in Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles and is a Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society alumni member.

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Tim Kurteff-Schatz

  • IT Manager
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Tim Kurteff-Schatz

IT Manager

Tim has more than 20 years of experience providing information technology services. At Focus Strategies, Tim is responsible for technical support, equipment and supplies, and related vendor relations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Radio and Television from San Francisco State University, as well as a Bachelor of Music degree from California State University, Sacramento.