Chief Executive Officer
Phil Kramer has been dedicated to creating pathways to housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness for more than 10 years. As CEO, Phil leads the Housing Matters team to identify solutions to homelessness, develop creative housing plans, and lead system-change efforts that lead to stable, permanent housing for individuals and families. Since becoming the CEO of Housing Matters (formerly Homeless Services Center) in 2015, the organization has tripled its operating budget and successfully housed more than 1,800 individuals and families in Santa Cruz County.
Prior to joining Housing Matters, Phil held leadership positions with nonprofits including as director of strategic development at Goodwill Central Coast and director of 180 Together, a multi-agency homeless housing initiative where Phil was instrumental with the launch and implementation.
Early in his career, Phil held positions in advertising and marketing for Google, AOL and the Wall Street Journal before deciding to follow his passion for social justice and mission-driven work and join the Peace Corps.
Phil holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Arizona State University.
Chief Impact Officer
Pursuing her passion for communications and relationship building, Mer Stafford joined Housing Matters in April 2021. As Chief Impact Officer, Mer leverages more than 10 years’ expertise in non-profit development and management to cultivate new and existing donors, funding partners, foundations, and organizations to support the financial needs of Housing Matters programs and capital projects.
Prior to joining Housing Matters, Mer served as executive director of a prominent retreat center where she led and managed staff and volunteers, facilities and operations, program implementation and development, and visitor services. Mer has also provided consulting services to nonprofits on a range of topics.
Mer earned management certification from UC Irvine and attended Bay State College in Boston.
Chief Initiatives Officer
Tom Stagg brings more than 14 years of experience in non-profit management, including ten years specifically dedicated to implementing programs that support homeless services, including program design and management, sustainability and evaluation.
Joining Housing Matters in 2017, Tom serves as the Chief Initiatives Officer, a role in which he is responsible for managing shelter, support services, housing, employment, and day services programs.
Prior to Housing Matters, Tom served as program manager for Central City Concern, a Portland-based non-profit that provides a comprehensive continuum of affordable housing options integrated with direct social services, including health care, recovery and employment.
Tom holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Chief Financial Officer
Jane Stokes joined Housing Matters in November 2021 with more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management. Jane serves as Chief Financial Operator and is responsible for overseeing the operating budget, cash flow, and financial planning. Additionally, Jane’s background includes expertise in auditing, design and implementation of accounting systems, and fundraising for nonprofits.
Before joining Housing Matters, Jane was the Director of Finance and Administration at Firelight, a Santa Cruz-based nonprofit working with community-based organizations in Southern and Eastern Africa, and previously, the Director of Development at Kirby School.
Earlier, Jane had a consulting practice that provided audit, accounting, and management advisory services to nonprofits and small businesses.
Jane holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities from San Jose State University, as well as Certified Public Accountant experience with KPMG in San Jose.
board of directors
Retired, County Human Services
Manager, The Appleton Foundation
Former VP, CIO at Plantronics / Realtor
Mary Lou Goeke
Retired, United Way
Chief Operating Officer, Destination: Home
Mental Health Activist
S. Phoenix MacKinnon
Retired, County Mental Health
Retired, Professional Engineer
Organizational Wellness Consultant
Former Publisher, Good Times
As our long-term and much-loved former board president, Claudia’s impact on her community was truly unmatched. She had served on the Housing Matters board from 2011 until she passed in December 2020. We miss her dearly.
Claudia’s service touched so many lives. She advocated for policy with legislators at the state and federal level, and led the charge in sharing her message of equity, systems change, and action.
“On behalf of the board, we are eternally grateful to Claudia for her years of service to Housing Matters and to her entire community. She was a fierce advocate with the most compassionate soul. Her vision and determination will continue to drive our work forward for years to come. We all feel so fortunate to have worked alongside her.”
—Cecilia Espinola, Housing Matters board president
“We’re heartbroken. She was a dear friend, dedicated ally, and passionate leader on ending homelessness one person or family at a time. Our hearts go out to her family and friends.”
—Phil Kramer, Housing Matters Executive Director
We miss you so much, Claudia. Thank you for a lifetime of impact.