Working to provide housing in Madison for over 20 years.
Brad Hinkfuss, Executive Director, is new to Housing Initiatives but by no means new to the issues of homelessness and affordable housing. His background in affordable housing started in the obscure niche of self-help housing construction while serving in the US Peace Corps in Tunisia in the ’90s, followed by downtown redevelopment work in Illinois, and then by almost 20 years of work with the non-profit housing and shelter providers in Madison. Brad has managed projects and programs as diverse as the Homeless Men’s Drop-In Shelter, major new affordable housing developments, and volunteer-led neighborhood organizations. He is thrilled to take on a new leadership role with Housing Initiatives. He sees an opportunity for the organization to set a new standard for effective affordable housing that serves a population that is critically underserved and unsupported. Even when not on the job, Brad is endlessly and optimistically busy. He has been president of the SASY Neighborhood Association for several years, he relentlessly builds things, he travels far and he is passionate about biking. His teenage son asks him if he’s ever not had too much to do, to which he answers, “No.” And smiles.
Dean Loumos, retiring Executive Director, came to Housing Initiatives with years of experience as a Community Organizer and homeless outreach worker. He has now been the Executive Director of Housing Initiatives for nearly 24 years. He is responsible for overseeing the housing of all our clients and leading Housing Initiatives’ growth. Dean has been in the forefront of expanding housing for homeless mentally ill individuals and families and brings a passionate, street savvy, tireless management style to Housing Initiatives. He is very proud of the eclectic staff he has been able to attract with their many skills that has allowed Housing Initiatives to be a leader in providing a model on how to develop and manage permanent housing to some of the most difficult to house people in our community. In 2013, Dean was elected to serve on the Board of Education for the Madison Metropolitan School District.
Michael Basford, Associate Executive Director, is responsible for maintaining compliance for our various housing programs. Among his duties, he writes the grant applications and annual progress reports for the Shelter-Plus-Care program and meets frequently with funders and representatives from the different governmental agencies that partner with Housing Initiatives. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in music composition. Along with his duties at Housing Initiatives, he serves as chair of Dane County’s Homeless Issues Committee, chairs the City of Madison Zoning Board of Appeals and serves on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Alliance to End Homelessness. He has previously served on Dane County’s Housing Committee, W-2 Citizens Steering Committee and Poverty Task Force and the City of Madison’s Plan Commission and has served as chair of the Dane County Homeless Services Consortium.
Tony Castañeda, Property Manager/Client Services. Besides performing general property manager duties for Housing Initiatives’ “first responder” for our clients in crisis and facilitates resident/case manager problem solving to address issues such as: residents failing to follow treatment and case management plans, residents misuse of prescribed medication, resident conflicts on our properties and he also supervises resident work crews. He has over 20 years of experience in the human services field with an emphasis on employment and training and youth counseling. Tony also is the leader of the renowned Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Sextet and hosts a weekly radio program on local, listener-sponsored community radio station WORT.
Christine Verdico, Assistant Associate Director, co-ordinates office functions at Housing Initiatives, taking care of the paperwork and keeping files organized. She also attends meetings, works with clients and does some of the light-maintenance needed at the properties. She has a two-year degree and has been working in Electronics most of her career, with managing, documentation, and product development of high-tech electronic systems. She has been working with Housing Initiatives for 2 years. Christine brings her organizational and methodical work experiences to Housing Initiatives.
Jenny Hanson, Housing Services Coordinator, has been serving homeless individuals and families with mental health diagnoses for the past 11 years. She has her master’s degree in social work with an emphasis in mental health, and is a certified advance practice social worker. Before returning to school for her social work degree, Jenny had a 6-year career as a middle school teacher. She brings a passion for trauma-informed care, racial and restorative justice, and the latest research in brain biology as it relates to recovery. As a parent of a young daughter, Jenny also brings research-based intervention and creative problem solving skills to the Housing Initiatives team.
Sarah brings years of experience working with households living with homelessness, mental illness and co-occurring life issues. She worked with the pioneer Housing First program in NYC, continued in the Twin Cities, MN, and since 2008, here in Madison. Committed to Harm Reduction, she has taught on its practical uses at local, state, and national levels. She has a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Psychology, focusing on psycho-social rehabilitation accomplished by people living with disabilities, emphasis on mental illness and trauma history. Sarah served on our City Low Income Bus Pass Committee and is previous chair of Dane County Homeless Services Consortium. Sarah brings a sense humor and enthusiasm to the Housing Initiatives team.
Azucena Gonzalez, also known as Lilly, has worked with a diverse population of homeless and runaway youth in the city of Milwaukee for the past two years, providing crisis intervention and trauma inform care. She brings her passion of restorative justice, racial and ethnic diversity and an open mind to the team. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater with her bachelors in Social Work and minor in Criminal Justice.