HOUSTON (CBS Houston) In an announcement made on Wednesday, the office of Houston Mayor Annise Parker revealed the appointment of Mandy Chapman Semple as the Houston’s first Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives. According to officials with Mayor Parker, “Ms. Semple will lead the City’s efforts to create and implement a comprehensive, collaborative plan to address chronic homelessness.”

Additional information released from Mayor Parker indicates that over the past three years the construction of over 1,200 housing units serving the homeless has taken shape and thousands of homeless individuals have matriculated into homes and off of the streets of Houston due to programs, and initiatives that Mayor Parker has implemented.

Mayor Parker feels that she as well as Houston city officials have made great strides in addressing and combating the layered problem of homelessness in Houston: “We have made great strides fighting homelessness, and the appointment of a dedicated expert solely focused on the issue will enable us to achieve even more,” Mayor Parker said in a statement. “Homelessness is a complex problem, and Ms. Semple brings to the City a wealth of leadership, real world experience, and technical expertise.”

As Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives, Semple will have the primary task of working on behalf of Houston to execute the development and implementation of strategies that work to eliminate homelessness as well as serve Houston’s current homeless population. “Ms. Semple will work with the Mayor, City Council and City Departments, as well as private, public and non-profit stakeholders to carry out a variety of duties…” added officials from Mayor Parker’s office.

As outlined by Parker’s office, Semple’s duties will include the following:

1. Develop a plan to guide City policies and practices.
2. Develop a strategy to align, leverage and responsibly allocate City resources.
3. Lead inter-agency collaboration efforts related to development of rapid re-housing strategies, supportive housing and alignment of supportive service resources.
4. Represent the City at external Continuum of Care, planning and implementation meetings.
5. Manage relationships with outside experts and guide technical assistance activities.
6. Coordinate initiatives with the business and philanthropic communities.

“This newly created position is funded through a public/private partnership between the City of Houston (utilizing Homeless and Housing Bond funds) and the Houston Downtown Management District,” added Mayor Parker’s office.

An accomplished grant writer and member of the HUD Technical Assistance Team, Semple brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding in working with the homeless and homeless-related issues, according to the office of Mayor Parker. “…Semple earned a Master of Science in Public Health from Tulane University and a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Kansas State University,” adds officials with Mayor Parker’s office.


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