meet our team

Housing Matters is a non-profit organization consisting of approximately 60 employees, with oversight by a 15-member board of directors.

Our team of staff directors leads our organization, with the majority of our positions falling in program and case management. Our facilities, community safety, and kitchen teams ensure that the services we provide on campus run smoothly and efficiently. We have lean development and communications teams, who support the work of the organization as a whole with fundraising, outreach, event planning, and communications. We are always looking for people with a passion for human services to join our team; check out our Careers page for open positions.

We also have the generous support of volunteers, who collectively contribute thousands of hours each year. Volunteers fill a variety of roles; if you’re interested in volunteering with us, please have a look at our Volunteer page.


directors

Phil Kramer

Phil Kramer

Executive Director

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Phil Kramer has been dedicated to creating pathways to housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness for more than 10 years. As executive director, 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 executive director 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.

Tom Stagg

Tom Stagg

Director of Programs

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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 Director of Programs, 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.

Rebecca Steckler

Rebecca Steckler

Deputy Executive Director

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Rebecca joined Housing Matters in June 2016 and leverages 25 years of expertise in non-profit executive management at social services organizations. At Housing Matters, Rebecca manages a multi-million dollar operating budget and oversees a wide range of operations, including finance, human resources, and project management for capital projects. Additionally, Rebecca’s background includes specialized expertise in legal, contract and regulatory compliance for nonprofits.

Prior to joining Housing Matters, Rebecca served in numerous leadership roles including Chief Financial Officer at Smultea Environmental Sciences and St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Arizona, as well Interim President & CEO, and Chief Administrative Officer at Hispanic Council for Health.

Rebecca received certification in mediation from the Conflict Resolution Center of Santa Cruz County.

Rebecca holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Seattle University and a J.D. degree from Purdue.

Mer Stafford

Mer Stafford

Director of Fundraising & Development

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Pursuing her passion for communications and relationship building, Mer Stafford joined Housing Matters in April 2021. As director of fundraising and development, 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 lead 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.

board of directors

Cecilia Espinola

Cecilia Espinola

President

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Retired, County Human Services

Don Lane

Don Lane

Vice President

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Manager, The Appleton Foundation

Tom Gill

Tom Gill

Treasurer

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Former VP, CIO at Plantronics / Realtor

Mary Lou Goeke

Mary Lou Goeke

Secretary

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Retired, United Way

Katherine Beiers

Katherine Beiers

Director

Former Two-time Mayor of Santa Cruz

Ray Bramson

Ray Bramson

Director

Chief Impact Officer, Destination: Home

China Clark

China Clark

Director

Lived Experience Advocate

John Dietz

John Dietz

Director

President, PrimeMuse

Yana Jacobs

Yana Jacobs

Director

Mental Health Activist

S. Phoenix MacKinnon

S. Phoenix MacKinnon

Director

Peer Counselor

Maggie McKay

Maggie McKay

Director

Retired, County Mental Health

Ron Slack

Ron Slack

Director

Former Publisher, Good Times

Robin Stevens

Robin Stevens

Director

50 States Marathon Club

in memoriam

Claudia Brown

Claudia Brown

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.