Kris Freed has over 25 years of experience in homelessness and housing policy development, creative and innovative strategies, program design and implementation, system operation and evaluation. In addition to her work at Impact, Kris most recently served as the chief programs officer for one of the largest service providers in Los Angeles. In her free time, since 2015, Kris has been brought in by many of our industry’s leading experts to assist with projects which focus on providing training workshops, program/system reconstruction, and evaluations.
Kris is recognized as a specialist in designing homeless services and was integrally involved in the development, implementation and roll-out of the Family Coordinated Entry System (CES) in Los Angeles—the first coordinated system in LA. She is often called upon to by leadership to talk through ideas and asked to share her strategies to make improvement to the system. Since 2014, Kris has been a member of the Continuum of Care Board, which is responsible for oversight of $140 million dollars of federal funds. Additionally, Kris sat on the Los Angeles CES Policy Council which is responsible for setting policies and procedures for how the system operates within Los Angeles County. Some of the strategies that Kris has been able to move forward at these tables include the newly adopted “Transfer Policy” or what she likes to call, the Upstream/Downstream Policy. This policy ensures those that we have housed into the wrong intervention can easily move into the right intervention without having to return to homelessness. Kris also lifted the need to create specificity within staffing roles to ensure we are meeting the needs of participants at each stage of the housing process. She is also known, as the “Leverage Queen” ensuring that we more strategically utilize our resources while building in the supports that teams need to be successful.
In her agency role, Kris leveraged her analytical and managerial skills to effectively manage over $60 million dollars in budget, 425 staff and over 80 contractual requirements. Kris sees it as her responsibility to coach and mentor her team (and partners) to build the institutional knowledge that is needed at every level of the complex homeless services sector. She also understands the need to bring on and develop smaller agencies looking to move into homeless services. Several of those organizations now take on direct funding contracts and are seen as leaders in this work. During her tenure as chief program officer she created the Service Planning Area (SPA) Steering Committee for the region she oversees, as well as mentored her neighbor SPA to do the same. This committee is responsible for bringing leaders across all sectors of the region, to collectively set goals to end homelessness together. Kris serves as the Chair of her region and Co-Chair of her neighboring SPA. Kris understands the that trust, transparency, equity and inclusion create the pathway for people to work together. She used those skills most to bring the all of the politically charged elected offices in her region (6 council offices, 2 supervisorial office, and 7 cities) to the table with providers to work together to create a better and more inclusive system.
Kris is a person with lived experience that truly understands just how important housing is to helping people recover. She is committed to improving the quality of life for people in crisis. She holds a BA in Sociology (CSULA) and a Master’s in Public Administration from California State University, Northridge. She will often say that what’s more important than any degree is common sense paired with empathy—to which she brings to every part of her work.
Veronica L., MPA, is co-founder of Impact and also currently the Director of a large multi-service provider in South Los Angeles overseeing a $95M annual budget. Veronica has spent the greater part of her life working to educate, empower and provide resources to underserved youth and families. She began her work in 2000 as a leader in serving our vulnerable neighbors—demanding solutions for the disproportionate number of black and brown people experiencing homelessness. Veronica developed the one-of-a kind Family Crisis Housing Network to provide short to medium term crisis housing to all family compositions and sizes. Under her leadership since 2011 the agency she currently leads has permanently housed 6000 households. Her leadership and advocacy resulted in the first publicly funded bridge housing location for transgender women and non-binary individuals in Los Angeles.
Veronica is one of the original "architects" of the LA Coordinated Entry System and continues to lead that effort for the South LA and surrounding areas. She also served as a Chair and member of the LA Continuum of Care Board Coordinating Council for seven years helping shape and improve the region's administration of $100M+ of HUD funding.
Veronica served as the Chair of the Los Angeles Reimagine LA Measure J Advisory and Care First ails Last Committees where she led the process of developing transformative spending plans that resulted in LA County funding $287 Million for the inaugural first two years of investment into community-based programming for alternatives to incarceration.
In addition to her contribution to local systems, programs and policies, Veronica also lends her expertise to help shape policies, best practices and projects at the state and national level through her participation as a Councilmember on the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) ; member of the Collaborative Justice Courts Advisory Committee for California Courts Judicial Council; National Alliance to End Homelessness- Capacity Building Network; and National Research Council- Transportation Research Board for the Airport Cooperative Research Program Panel to help develop best practices nationwide to address homelessness at airports; and as a member of the California Department of Health Care Services Proposition 64 Advisory Group where she helps shape program design and implementation for over 60 million for the Youth Education Prevention, Early Intervention and Treatment Account.