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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.

  • Special Projects Director
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Tracy Bennett, Ph.D.

Special Projects Director

Tracy recently transitioned to the role of Special Projects Director from the role of Director of Analytics and Evaluation. As Special Projects Director Tracy is responsible for overseeing organizational initiatives including managing organizational growth, mentoring staff, and day-to-day operations. As Director of Analytics and Evaluation she facilitated all data-informed planning and evaluation at Focus Strategies. She was responsible for the development of analytic tools and instrumental in guiding the evolution of the SWAP suite of tools. Since 2014, Tracy participated in and 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 also 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). Tracy has more 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

  • Manager of Analytics and Evaluation
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Matt Mitchell

Manager of Analytics and Evaluation

As Manager of Analytics and Evaluation, Matt oversees analytics projects for communities using data driven strategies in their work to reduce homelessness. He leads system evaluations and supports communities to translate findings into actionable system improvement and policy change and development. Matt centers equity in his work through rigorous measurement and analysis and by incorporating the voices of people with lived expertise and other community stakeholders.

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.

Vanessa Fenley

  • Manager of System Design and Development
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Vanessa Fenley

Manager of System Design and Development

As Manager of System Design and Development at Focus Strategies, Vanessa oversees and leads a variety of complex 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.

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.

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Marc Jolin

  • Lead Senior Consultant
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Marc Jolin

Lead Senior Consultant

As Lead Senior Consultant at Focus Strategies, Marc works with client communities to analyze and develop strategies to improve their homeless response systems. His areas of expertise include governance; community engagement; models of outreach, shelter, and housing; and the application of an equity lens to system and program design. Marc is an attorney experienced in civil rights litigation on behalf of people experiencing homelessness, land use, and real estate law. As a project manager, Marc oversees leads project design and implementation activities and is responsible for delivering expert analysis and results on time and on budget.

Marc has three decades of experience working to address homelessness at the local level. He has worked as a case manager, program manager, policy advocate, legal services attorney, and as the executive director of a large non-profit street outreach and housing program. Most recently, Marc served as the first director of a newly created office in Multnomah County, Oregon that serves as the lead agency for the Continuum of Care, the contracting entity for County and City of Portland homeless response system funding, and the entity responsible for implementing one of the country’s largest per-capita funding measures dedicated to supportive housing and homeless services. In that role, Marc led the expansion and transformation of the community’s emergency shelter system and a rapid expansion of permanent supportive housing, as well as the response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Marc has a BA in Political Science from Swarthmore College, an MA in Sociology from the University of Chicago, and a JD from the University of Chicago.

Diego De La Peza

  • Senior Analytics Consultant
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Diego De La Peza

Senior Analytics Consultant

As a Senior Analytics Consultant, Diego leads analytics projects for communities in their work to reduce homelessness using data driven strategies. He conducts program evaluations, and equity analyses and uses this information to make recommendations for system improvements and policy changes. In his projects, Diego incorporates the voices of people with lived expertise into strategies and decision-making.

Prior to joining Focus Strategies, 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. Diego received a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Matt Lemon

  • Senior Analytics Consultant
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Matt Lemon

Senior Analytics Consultant

Matt brings over 12 years of experience conducting measurement, research, and evaluation activities in the public and nonprofit sectors, with a focus on homelessness and K12 education. As a Senior Analytics Consultant at Focus Strategies, Matt leads the development and implementation data analysis and program evaluation projects for communities working to reduce homelessness; conducts research, analysis, and interpretation of data from multiple disciplines; and synthesizes data analysis and research findings with contextual and best practice information into to offer recommendations for practice.

Prior to joining Focus, Matt led the Research and Evaluation department at an organization working to address homelessness in Washington State with a focus on children and families. Matt has also worked at a research institute that uses research and evidence-based policy to support systems improvement and has served as non-partisan staff for the Washington State Senate. He is passionate about using data and research to drive system improvements and centering equity in his work. Matt holds a BA in Political Science from Western Washington University and a MPA from Evergreen State College.

Chela Schuster

  • Senior Consultant
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Chela Schuster

Senior Consultant

As a Senior Consultant at Focus Strategies, Chela oversees and contributes to a variety of consulting and technical assistance projects focused on improving community’s efforts to end homelessness. She works with clients to evaluate their homeless systems, identify improvements, and support best practices.

Before joining Focus Strategies, Chela worked as a Systems Improvement Advisor at Community Solutions supporting their Zero for All communities focused on ending homelessness for all populations. Prior to that, Chela spent more than a decade working in Phoenix/ Maricopa County designing and implementing housing programs. Chela also designed and implemented the coordinated entry system for families in Maricopa County. Chela has a Master of Nonprofit Studies from Arizona State University.

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Habiba Rotter

  • Systems Team Project Manager
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Habiba Rotter

Systems Team Project Manager

As Systems Team Project Manager at Focus Strategies, Habiba oversees the planning and implementation of a variety of community projects. She leads efforts to provide tangible structure and goals to multiple work streams across the firm. In addition to being a certified project manager, Habiba has a strong background in the field of homeless services including coordinated entry, data analysis, policy work, and quality improvement.

Prior to working at Focus Strategies, Habiba performed as the Lead Project Manager at Encompass Community Services where she oversaw key projects such as CalAIM implementation. She has served as an Interventions Manager at Community Solutions’ Built For Zero initiative, and worked in Santa Cruz County to roll out the local coordinated entry system. Habiba has also served as an independent consultant to a variety of government and nonprofit clients, providing services in the fields of strategic planning, process improvement, and data analysis. Habiba holds a master’s degree in psychology from California Southern University and a bachelor’s degree in legal studies from Cairo University.

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.

Rebecca Camargo

  • Consultant
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Rebecca Camargo

Consultant

Rebecca 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. Prior to joining Focus, Rebecca managed programs that directly serve individuals experiencing homelessness. She oversaw the operations of shelter programs, served on Continuums of Care committees, and developed permanent supportive housing programming in the Greater Boston Area. She was the first Director of Resident Services at Newton Housing Authority where she strategically developed supportive services and eviction prevention programming for formerly unsheltered individuals living with complex mental health service needs. Rebecca has expertise in applying for HUD funding, strategic planning and goal setting, housing-first and permanent supportive housing models, trauma-informed care, DEI-centered programming, and engaging with direct-service organizations. Rebecca holds a BA in psychology and anthropology from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester and an MSW from Boston College with a concentration in Older Adults and Latine/Latinx populations.

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Alex Watford

  • Analytics Consultant
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Alex Watford

Analytics Consultant

Alex is an experienced mixed-methods researcher, evaluator, and consultant that is committed to solving practical, real-world problems and creating a more equitable society for disadvantaged groups. As an Analytics Consultant at Focus, Alex leads and supports data analysis, equity assessment, and program evaluation projects for agencies seeking to reduce homelessness in their communities. Through detail-oriented data analysis, close collaboration with coworkers as well as clients, and an appetite for learning new things, Alex strives to use his analytic, written, and interpersonal skills to tackle complex projects on time and on budget.
 
Prior to joining Focus Strategies, Alex partnered with academic researchers and non-profit organizations in the education sector in their efforts to advance racial equity practices internally as well as externally. Alex holds a B.A. in Psychology from Morehouse College and a MPhil in Psychology and Social Intervention from New York University. He expects to receive his PhD in Psychology and Social Intervention with a concentration in Quantitative Research Methods from New York University in 2024.

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Allison Mabbs

  • Consultant
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Allison Mabbs

Consultant

Allison 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. Prior to joining Focus, Allison was the Director of Permanent Housing at the lead agency for Austin, Texas’ Continuum of Care where she built out community coordination and standardization for permanent housing interventions within Coordinated Entry. She has years of expertise in Coordinated Entry system design, implementation, and evaluation, Housing First, Rapid Rehousing and Permanent Supportive Housing program models, and CoC governance and community engagement. Allison holds a B.A. in Sociology & Hispanic Studies from Macalester College.

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Claire Burrus

  • Analytics Consultant
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Claire Burrus

Analytics Consultant

Claire is an experienced researcher and evaluator committed to making data accessible to diverse audiences and centering the voices of people with lived experience in her work. As an Analytics Consultant, Claire leads and supports data collection and analysis using an equity lens; conducts research across multiple disciplines; and integrates research findings into recommendations for process, practice, and system improvements for communities working to reduce homelessness.

Prior to joining Focus Strategies, Claire led the research and evaluation department at a Continuum of Care lead agency in Texas. She spearheaded their efforts to put data into the hands of decision makers and to leverage data to drive continuous improvement in the local homelessness response system. Claire holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Environmental Studies from Trinity University and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas.

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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.