Mary Frances Kenion
Mary has almost 15 years of experience helping nonprofits and local governments reimagine their homelessness response systems. Mary’s Continuum of Care (CoC) experience includes developing performance-based contracting, program design and implementation (including coordinated entry, housing problem-solving, and unified shelter), program and system-related policy development, compliance/monitoring, and advancing racial equity.
Mary took on her current role at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to that, she led local government efforts to decompress congregate shelters, stand up non-congregate shelters, and ensure the safety of sheltered/unsheltered individuals by developing permanent housing pathways. Since then, she has been helping communities and CoCs transition from crisis response to longer-range rehousing strategies and operations in response to coronavirus with CARES Act stimulus funding.
Mary has worked closely with communities intent on reducing racial disparities within their CoC networks as part of HUD’s Racial Equity Demonstration Project. She led the development and delivery of a racial equity foundational workshop series and spearheaded the development of a racial equity learning collaborative for HUD training and technical assistance providers. Through her racial equity work, Mary helps individuals and communities develop a deeper understanding of how structural and systemic racism perpetuates homelessness, get at the root causes and intersecting issues that compound disparities in homelessness, and identify actionable ways to reduce such disparities.