Homeless Policy Expert Catherine Trapani to Join Volunteers of America-Greater New York as Assistant Vice President of Public Policy

Ms. Trapani will help advance VOA-GNY’s innovative programs and mission

NEW YORK, January 8, 2024 — Volunteers of America-Greater New York (VOA-GNY) today announced that Catherine Trapani, a housing and homeless services expert with over two decades of experience advocating for and designing programs to serve vulnerable New Yorkers, will join the organization as Assistant Vice President of Public Policy effective January 8, 2024. Her extensive experience advocating on behalf of the homeless services sector and its clients, designing and overseeing programs, and building strong relationships across the public and nonprofit sectors will significantly advance VOA-GNY’s vision of ending homelessness in the New York area.

Ms. Trapani joins VOA-GNY at a critical moment for the homeless services sector, as the policy landscape continues to shift rapidly in response to a shortage of affordable housing and mental health services, the arrival of over 150,000 asylum seekers since spring 2022, and a challenging budget environment at all levels of government. In her new role, she will spearhead the development and implementation of an impactful public policy, community engagement, and thought leadership strategy for VOA-GNY. Leveraging the organization’s reputation for innovative and high-quality services, Ms. Trapani’s advocacy will center on improving the services and resources available to individuals and families experiencing homelessness, ensuring that the human services workforce is fairly compensated, and protecting the health and long-term financial sustainability of the sector as a whole.

“Catherine comes to us with a deep understanding of the homelessness crisis and the challenges facing nonprofit providers like Volunteers of America-Greater New York,” said Noelle Withers, VOA-GNY’s Chief Program Officer and Interim President & CEO. “She is trusted and respected by policymakers, nonprofit leaders, journalists, and community members for one simple reason – she is a seasoned and thoughtful leader who cares about improving the lives of our neighbors in need.”

Ms. Trapani brings a wealth of experience as a leader in homeless services in New York, having served most recently as Executive Director of Homeless Services United. In this role, she led a coalition of nearly fifty nonprofit homeless services organizations and played a leading role in advocating for critical initiatives, including the preservation and development of supportive housing, the expansion of access to CityFHEPS vouchers for those seeking permanent housing, fair compensation for frontline human services workers, and reforms to governmental procurement and contracting processes with nonprofit organizations. She previously served as HousingLink Director at New Destiny Housing, where she designed and managed programs, and led public policy initiatives, focused on linking survivors of domestic violence to housing.

“I am honored to be joining the exceptional team at VOA-GNY, and an organization that places leadership and innovation at the forefront of its work,” said Catherine Trapani, incoming AVP of Public Policy. “The depth and breadth of VOA-GNY’s programing and exceptional leadership and staff makes it well positioned to drive change and make progress towards our goal of ending homelessness in the region. I am grateful for this opportunity to contribute my skills and experience to such deeply important work.”

Ms. Trapani will also support existing VOA-GNY initiatives such as Street to Home, a first-of-its-kind program designed to rapidly transition unsheltered individuals directly into permanent supportive housing, as well as its groundbreaking domestic violence traumatic brain injury screening initiative, annual Operation Backpack® campaign, and various efforts to expand the housing, health, and wealth-building services offered to individuals and families in need across New York City, Westchester County, and Northern New Jersey.

About Volunteers of America-Greater New York

Volunteers of America-Greater New York (VOA-GNY) is an anti-poverty organization with a rich 125-year history of serving its neighbors in need. The organization’s vision is fueled by its experience as a leading provider of services to families and individuals experiencing homelessness in the greater New York area. Through more than 65 programs located in New York City, Northern New Jersey, and Westchester County—including emergency shelters, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing—VOA-GNY delivers services to more than 30,000 adults and children annually. It is also the largest provider of residential services for veterans within a coalition that has virtually ended chronic homelessness for veterans in New York City. Recently, the VOA-GNY board of directors adopted a strategic plan with the goal to end homelessness in Greater New York by 2050.

Media Contact:

Rochelle Heinrichs, AVP of Marketing & Communications

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