Tim experienced multiple periods of homelessness throughout his childhood before coming to the attention of the Washington child welfare system. After many years and much struggle, he became an advocate, organizing on behalf of youth and young adults. He worked to promote the voices of youth in the policy-making and implementation process before going back to school for a graduate degree from the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. Tim is the proud father of two adorable cats, loves hiking and climbing, and is passionate about philosophy, tea and, most importantly, engaging communities to solve their most pressing issues. He looks forward to partnering with communities around the state to end youth homelessness.
Liz Harding Chao
Liz is an award-winning international researcher, originally from Melbourne, Australia. Liz moved to Seattle in 2016 from Melbourne where she worked as a policy advisor for the Victorian State Government’s Department of Economic Development. She has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Mandarin and Japanese from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Washington, Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. During her time at Evans, she was an active student leader as co-chair of the Partnership for Community and Diversity (PCD) and co-founder of Evans Network of Womxn. She also won the 2018 Evans School International Development Research Prize for her data analysis work on Syrian religious minorities. Liz’s research and teaching focuses on the intersections between human rights, equity and public policy and centers the voices of those most impacted by injustice. Most recently, she has been working at the City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment to implement the Equity & Environment Agenda in partnership with the City’s Environmental Justice Committee. She is thrilled to be working with A Way Home Washington and the Anchor Community Initiative to end youth homelessness by building community capacity around data collection, analysis and evaluation. When not in the office you can find Liz at Green Lake taking a walk/dog spotting (she’s an expert dog spotter), cooking and eating all the things, traveling and drinking matcha at her favorite local cafe. She also loves to sew her own clothes.
Erin joined A Way Home Washington in early 2017. Her deep commitment to serving vulnerable youth and young adults in her home state began at The Mockingbird Society, where she advocated alongside young leaders for critical systems reforms at the county and state levels. Her prior work experience spanned a variety of issues, including HIV/AIDS prevention, as well as U.S. immigration and foreign policy. She received her Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Washington. A generalist at heart with an eye for details, and a passionate champion for the nonprofit sector, Erin has also worked for several small organizations as they start up and grow so she is thrilled to be in the thick of this work again at A Way Home Washington. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, skiing and sailing, and volunteering as a Board member for the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence. But lately, most evenings and weekends are dedicated to her awesome baby daughter, born in 2018.
Elysa’s career serving youth and young adults experiencing homelessness spans more than nine years. She started her career as frontline staff and eventually rose to senior level management with Cocoon House. She was a top 12 recipient of Snohomish County’s Emerging Leader award in 2017 and was nominated again in 2018. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and master’s degree in nonprofit leadership from Seattle University. She is a dog mom to Juno, the rat terrier, a huge dog nerd, avid sports fan and loves to get out on the water whenever possible. Elysa is excited to bring the service provider lens to A Way Home Washington’s work and looks forward to helping Anchor Communities build a, “yes to yes,” system.
Rae Martinez Niro
Rae spent 10 years with the City of Seattle in Human Services, working with elderly, disabled and vulnerable adults. She has 22 years of administrative experience. Rae was born and raised in Hawaii and is of Filipino descent. She is married and has a beautiful, sweet baby girl. She and her husband met while she was out salsa dancing! Rae is excited to be a part of A Way Home Washington’s mission and looks forward to all that we will accomplish together.
Jim has been serving the children, youth and families of Washington state for 40 years. He is currently the founding Executive Director of A Way Home Washington, a growing movement to prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness in Washington state. He is a state licensed mental health and chemical dependency counselor serving in a variety of roles ranging from direct service to senior management. In 1999 he authored and advocated for passage of the HOPE Act resulting in Hope beds and Responsible Living Skills beds for adolescents who are street-involved and homeless. In 2001 he founded The Mockingbird Society, which, under his 15-year tenure, developed nationally acclaimed programs including the Mockingbird Youth Network and the Mockingbird Family Model. Jim has been instrumental in leading and advocating for the passage of multiple pieces of legislation related to improving the policies, practices and resources focused on preventing and ending youth homelessness across Washington state. Jim is the proud recipient of several awards including the prestigious Congressional Angels in Adoption Award and the national Jefferson Award for public service. Jim is married with two adult children.