City of Austin names new Homeless Strategy Officer

The city of Austin has selected a new strategy officer for the homeless. Dianna Gray will begin her new duties on January 4th.

Gray will take the position after first homeless strategy officer, Lori Pampilo Harris, took on a consultancy role in lieu of a full-time city worker in October 2019 due to “family responsibilities”.

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Dianna Gray (City of Austin)

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Led by Austin Public Health Director Stephanie Hayden, the Homeless Strategy Officer coordinates the city’s homeless control activities across departments to ensure a seamless approach and response.

“I am so happy that Dianna has joined the Austin Public Health team. Her vast experience in the homeless and housing sector in Austin and other major cities in Texas makes her a valuable asset to the Homeless citywide team.” said Hayden in a release. “Dianna developed the first City of Austin and Travis County (PSH) strategy that results in a financial goal to secure 350 PSH units. Her experience will help us make Austin homelessness rare, short and one-time. “

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The homeless dilemma essentially remained unchecked for several months and was pushed into the background due to the presidential election and the coronavirus pandemic.

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The city says tackling homelessness will be a top priority as per its strategic direction in 2023. In early 2020, the city established the Homeless Services Division (HSD) within Austin Public Health to coordinate homelessness efforts between the city’s departments and with partners in the community.

“I am honored and excited to join the city of Austin in efforts to end homelessness in our community,” said Gray. “There is still a lot of work to be done, but I am confident Austin is ready for this challenge. I look forward to working with talented city workers, dedicated service providers and community stakeholders to achieve our common goal and ensure that all Austinites have access to a safe and worthy place to call home. “

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The city says Gray has been an independent private practice consultant since 2014, working with nonprofits, homeless coalitions, and government agencies to promote affordable and supportive housing. From 2008 to 2014, she was the director of the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s Texas office, where she led public order efforts, provided technical assistance, and advised on capacity building and project funding across the state, with a particular focus on Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin and Houston.

She is a 2001 graduate of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

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