Joe Volk, Executive Director
Joe Volk has been a leader in the quest to prevent and end homelessness in Wisconsin for 35 years. As Executive Director of a large Milwaukee Non-Profit, he has operated numerous programs serving the homeless including; an emergency shelter for homeless families, a domestic violence shelter, homeless outreach program, supportive housing, and safe haven. For 25 years, Joe was the Chairperson of the Milwaukee Shelter Task Force and for 10 years, he was the administrator of the Milwaukee Continuum of Care for the Homeless.
Joe has a long history of advocacy and development of homeless services having been involved in the creation of many Milwaukee area shelters, been a founding Board member of the National Coalition for the Homeless, testified in front of numerous City, County, State, and Congressional Committees, and has been a frequent public speaker on the issue of homelessness.
Board of Directors
- President Kenneth Schmidt
- Jerry Stepaniak
- Lon Newman
- Bill Perkins
- Matricia Patterson
- Andy Engel
- Walter J. Orzechowski
- Patrick Peckham
- Christopher J. Laurent
President Kenneth Schmidt
Kenneth Schmidt has a long history in the non-profit sector, starting in 1976 when he bgan work at the Social Development Comission. He held a number of positions culminating in his role as SDC’s Director of Program Services. He left the Comission in 1998 to join Hope House of Milwaukee as its Executive Director where he worked for 17 years. In that role, he solidified funding, paid off the building’s mortgage, and extended partnerships to better serve the homeless, including a strong relationship with Mercy Housing that resulted in 91 units for homeless individuals at the Johnston Center. In addition, for over five years, he was the Chair of Milwaukee’s Shelter Task Force. By his own admission, one of his best partnership efforts was working with HACM, the VA, and the City of Milwaukee in the establishment of the SRO at the VA Center. That effort not only saved a historical building, it continues to provide needed shelter for veterans. Ken retired from Hope House in 2014 but continues to be a staunch advocate for homeless individuals and families. He is currently volunteering as the Board Chair of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Homelessness (WCAH) that is committed to the generation of policies, community support, and State/Local resources for housing and services to end homelessness in Wisconsin.
From 1988 to 2014, Lon Newman was the executive director of a private not-for-profit health agency with corporate headquarters in Wausau and with nine clinic locations, primarily in central Wisconsin. In 2004, he was one of 10 recipients named as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leader- a national program recognizing the innovation of 205 health leaders with over $20,000,000 in funding to support their work. Mr. Newman has presented at national conferences on rural community health utilization of electronic health technology and continues to advocate for accessible, affordable, confidential health care for all.
Bill perkins founded the Wisconsin Partnership in 1985 and was Executive director until his retirement in 2013.Under Bill’s direction, the Partnership developed almost 900 rental and sale homes; provided training, technical assistance, and consulting services to over 140 nonprofit and for-profit companies; and consulted on housing program design, evaluation, and management for more than 40 local and state governments and other public agencies. the Partnership created, managed, or consulted on 13 financing programs that provided over $300 million in debt and equity financing to develop, rehabilitate, and conserve enery in almost 8,000 homes. between 2001 and 2013, the Partnership managed more than $37 million in down payment assistance and counseling to over 7,300 homebuyers in Wisconsin and provided financial support tor counseling to anoter 5,000 homebuyers and 400 renters with funding from the Housing Partnership Network. The Partnership under Bill’s direction helped more than 19,000 households live in decent, affordable homes.
In December 1990, President George H. W. Bush appointed Bill to the Federal Housing Finance Board, the federal agency that oversaw the Federal Home Loan Bank System. He served as the first community interest director of the FHFB unlit the end of 1993. Bill served for five years as Chairman of the Housing Partnership Network, a national organization whose members include the largest and highest-performing nonprofit developers in the country. Bill was awarded a Master’s in City and Regional Planning with distinction from Harvard University in 1968 and a DA in Design from Southern Illinois University in 1963.
Matricia Patterson assisted those who are homeless for 10 years. During that time she worked at IMPACT 211 and coordinated a homeless resource and referral telephone line, and then coordinated the IMPACT 211information and referral line. In these roles she chaired homeless Continue of Care Committees and implemented funded agency partnerships to coordinate shelter prevention and entry efforts for families in Milwaukee. She served as President of the Information and Providers of Wisconsin. After this, Matricia was a Shelter Manager at the Family Support Center in Milwaukee, where families were provided temporary shelter and assistance withh housing. Matricia believes that, “The cycle of overcrowded homes, and situational and generational homelessness is devastating, has many causes, and need solutions.”
Currently, Matricia is the Executive Director of Family Connections, Inc., a child care resource and referral nonprofit agency in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The agency promotesQuality early learning and child development education and experiences, leading to children who better prepared for challenges of childhood, teen years, and into adulthood. In addition, the agency assists working families with subsidies to offset the cost of child care registration fees.
Andy Engel has worked in Wisconsin politics for nearly 20 years with experience both inside the Capitol, on numerous campaigns, and currently as a lobbyist and partner at Hamilton Consulting. Andy started his legislative career working for Racine State Senator Kim Plache in the late 90’s and from there moved to positions in the Senate Democratic Caucus, the State Office of Budget and Policy and closed his time in the Capitol as Chief of Staff to then Majority Leader Judy Robson. Starting in the mid 90’s Andy worked on a number of campaigns across Wisconsin in both the state and federal arena. Andy was the Executive Director of the State Senate Democratic Committee (SSDC) in 2002 and 2006, he also spent time as the Political Director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and the Deputy Director for John Kerry’s Wisconsin field effort in 2004. Andy currently is a partner at Hamilton Consulting where he has been a lobbyist since 2008 representing a number of clients covering a wide spectrum of issues, some of his current clients include 3M, Walmart, Anheuser Busch, Delta Dental and the American Red Cross. Andy graduated from UW-Eau Claire. He currently lives in Oregon, WI and has three children Grace, Lily, and Max.
Walter J. Orzechowski
Wally has master’s degrees in health care planning and business administration. His background includes public health, hospice, affordable housing, housing market research and development and community development. For the past thirteen years Wally has been the Executive Director of SWCAP a rural Wisconsin anti poverty agency and has focused on reducing health disparities, developing affordable housing, encouraging local food production, job creation, small business development and many other projects to eliminate or reduce the problems faced by the rural poor.
Patrick is a Wisconsin native who graduated from UW-Platteville and spent 43 years in the newspaper business as a news editor and photographer most recently in the Wausau area. Patrick and his wife volunteer at a community meal program in Wausau and have made seven two week trips to low income areas of in the West Indies with a group that builds simple houses for those in need. Patrick is serving his first term as a member of the City of Wausau city council.
Christopher J. Laurent
Chris Laurent is responsible for creating new and maintaining existing developer client relationships in Wisconsin and Minnesota for Cinnaire. In this capacity
Chris originates LIHTC and NMTC equity, multifamily debt products, and technical assistance. He leads Cinnaire’s nonprofit development division Building Blocks’ work throughout Cinnaire’s footprint in the Upper Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Cinnaire is a full service CDFI with its corporate headquarters in Lansing, Michigan.
Chris earned his degree from the University of Wisconsin. He has served as president of the Board of Directors of Porchlight, Inc., the leading nonprofit provider of services and housing for otherwise homeless people in Dane County, and was appointed by the mayor to serve on the long-range planning committee for the Madison Community Development Authority, its sustainable design and energy committee, and its ad hoc TIF policy committee. Chris served on the boards of Milwaukee’s Avenues West Business Improvement District, Madison’s Tenant Resource Center, the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago’s Affordable Housing Program Committee. Chris continues as course leader for Marquette University’s Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) program. He serves on the boards of the Madison Reading Project and PeppNation.