Meet Keri Thomas, our New Vice President of Programs & Services

What is your role at SFH and how long have you been working there?

I am the Vice President of Programs & Services and have been working at SFH for almost 4 months.

What inspired you to pursue your current career?

I became passionate about housing as a human right and supporting efforts to end homelessness when I volunteered with numerous organizations assisting people experiencing homelessness during college in Baltimore. After college, I moved to Los Angeles to complete a year of volunteer service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I was placed as a Case Manager at a drop-in center in Venice Beach and fell in love with the work. I decided to stay on as an employee at the non-profit after my volunteer year ended. I eventually obtained my Master of Social Work from UCLA and worked as a clinician doing street outreach to the most vulnerable, chronically homeless individuals to support them in finding housing. Over time, I progressed through my career in similar organizations, working in the housing and homeless services field in Washington, DC and Arlington, VA. I took on program management and director roles and eventually transitioned into administrative roles. While pursuing my MSW, I didn’t envision myself being in an administrative role initially. However, I quickly realized my passion for supporting teams and organizations working to end homelessness, and that meaningful impact could still be achieved in less direct service roles. Being a social worker and leader in this field is always fulfilling, with opportunities to connect with others, engage in meaningful conversations, and create positive change.

What are your goals at SFH for the next few months/years?

My first few months at SFH have been exciting and informative, and I’m thrilled to be part of the team! In the coming months, my primary goal is to continue getting to know all of the incredible staff we have at SFH. I want to listen and learn about each of their unique experiences, perspectives, and needs. I will also continue to familiarize myself with our programs and services, supporting the agency in ongoing efforts to develop a positive culture for our staff and guests. I hope to initiate quarterly meetings with program staff to foster integration and mutual understanding, both professionally and personally, leading to greater collaboration and partnership in our work. Our staff are truly amazing and the reason SFH can provide essential services every day. Additionally, as a recent transplant from Washington, DC, I aim to engage more with our external partners, gaining a better understanding of Boston’s Continuum of Care and ensuring that SFH remains at the forefront of advocacy and policy decisions that impact our guests and services.

What do you want people to know about your job?

This job is critical to SFH and serves as a vital connection to all our departments. Expertise in programs and services is essential, but it’s equally important to maintain a close partnership and understanding of other areas within our organization, such as Development, Finance, HR, and Facilities. Ongoing open communication and collaboration among all these pieces are essential for success in my role. Lastly, I want people to know that this job is actually a lot of fun! I have the opportunity to interact with a variety of people every day, including our guests and staff. Each day brings new excitement and meaningful experiences.