McCormack+Kristel Recruits Executive Director for Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority

March 17, 2023 – Executive search firm McCormack+Kristel has assisted in the recruitment of Va Lecia Adams Kellum as the new executive director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). Managing partner Michelle Kristel led the assignment. Heidi Marston resigned from the role in April due to disagreements with the agency’s board of commissioners over pay for lower-level staff. In September, Kristina Dixon and Molly Rysman, who served as acting co-executive directors since April, returned to their former roles with LAHSA, and Stephen David Simon, who heads the Los Angeles Department on Disability, was appointed interim executive director. 

“Together we will transform LAHSA into an instrument of systemic change and a model for addressing homelessness on our streets. Each of us knows the time is now for action,” Dr. Adams Kellum said at a news conference, which was attended by mayor Karen Bass, supervisor Lindsey Horvath, county board of supervisors chair Janice Hahn, and other officials. “As we all see the extraordinary amount of human suffering in our communities, we must not delay in doing the work.”

“LAHSA coordinates homelessness and the resources and all that, but we want to have it be a much more decisive role,” Ms. Bass said. “One of the problems has been [articulating] who is the actual leader? Who is the actual decision maker? So given this new spirit of cooperation that we have, I think you will see LAHSA ‘s role be much more clearly defined in the next few months. In Dr. Adams Kellum, we are bringing new leadership to LAHSA that is completely aligned with the new spirit of unity and urgency that the city and the county are bringing to our crisis of homelessness.”

“I am proud of the work LAHSA has been able to accomplish over the last few years, including making more than 64,000 housing placements over the last three years” said commission chair Wendy Greuel. “I’m excited that Dr. Kellum Adams will join us to lead a new era of unity and cooperation. Many of us have been working for years to create more regional alignment, and I know the selection of Dr. Adams Kellum is a huge step in the right direction.”

Dr. Adams Kellum will formally start her role as CEO on March 26. Prior to that, she will work as a consultant advising the mayor’s chief of housing and homelessness solutions, helping to build out the encampment resolution component of the Inside Safe Strategy. Dr. Adams Kellum is currently the president and CEO of St. Joseph Center, a social service organization offering outreach & engagement, housing, mental health, and education & vocational programs across Los Angeles County. Under her leadership, St. Joseph Center has nearly quadrupled its staff, expanded its services, and broadened its geographic reach, becoming a recognized leader in homeless services throughout LA County.

Related: The LGBTQ Center Long Beach Taps McCormack+Kristel to Find New Leader

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is an independent, joint powers authority established by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles Mayor, and City Council. LAHSA’s mission is to support, create, and sustain solutions to homelessness in Los Angeles County by providing leadership, advocacy, planning, and management of program funding. LAHSA is the lead agency in the Los Angeles Continuum of Care, which is the regional planning body that coordinates housing and services for homeless families and individuals in Los Angeles County.

Veteran Search Consultants

McCormack+Kristel was started in 1993 as McCormack & Associates with the mission of recruiting senior leadership for the many research, advocacy and human services organizations growing exponentially in response to AIDS pandemic. Diversity recruiting has long been on the firm’s agenda.

McCormack+Kristel Seeking CEO for Bronx Parent Housing Network
McCormack+Kristel has been enlisted to find the next chief executive officer for the Bronx Parent Housing Network (BPHN), one of the largest shelter provider in New York City. Last February, Victor Rivera was fired from the role after accusations of sexual misconduct. The assignment is being led by Michelle Kristel, managing partner, and Zaria Davis, consultant. Reporting to a growing board of directors, the new CEO will be directly responsible for engaging community and institutional stakeholders and for securing funds to expand programs and ensure the organization’s fiscal health, said McCormack+Kristel. In partnership with the board and executive leadership team, the individual will be charged with finalizing and realizing a new strategic plan.

With the advent of effective treatments for HIV/AIDS, and the diminishing needs of many of these organizations, the firm broadened its client base into areas like social justice; healthcare; women’s issues; higher education; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender; civil rights; and more.

Four years ago, founding partner Joseph A. McCormack formed a new business partnership with Ms. Kristel, who joined the firm in 2013 as an associate. The firm has offices in New York City and Palm Springs, CA. McCormack+Kristel clients have included the ACLU, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, TransForm, Planned Parenthood, SAGE, and the Tides Foundation, among others.

Last year, Mr. McCormack retired. Ms. Kristen continues to run the firm’s national practice. Ms. Kristel is the former executive director of In The Life Media (ITLM), a non-profit organization producing social change media to raise awareness of issues related to gender, HIV/AIDS and LGBT rights.

Related: McCormack+Kristel Recruits Executive Director for Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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