Mayor appoints Houston's first Assistant for Homeless Initiatives

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HOUSTON - Mayor Annise Parker made a special announcement Wednesday. She appointed the city's first Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives.

Mandy Chapman Semple will lead the city's efforts to create and implement a comprehensive, collaborative plan to address chronic homelessness.

"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. Homelessness is a complex problem, and Ms. Semple brings to the city a wealth of leadership, real world experience, and technical expertise," said Mayor Parker.

Ms. 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:

1. Develop a plan to guide City policies and practices
2. Develop a strategy to align, leverage and responsibly allocate City resources
3. Lead inter-agency collaboration efforts related to development of rapid re-housing strategies, supportive housing and alignment of supportive service resources
4. Represent the City at external Continuum of Care, planning and implementation meetings
5.Manage relationships with outside experts and guide technical assistance activities
6.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.

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.

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