Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at 3:42 p.m.
A former federal housing appointee who operates a business that works with youth on behavioral and developmental supports and has lived foster system experience has agreed to join the City as a special advisor, Mayor Nadine Woodward announced today.
Chris Patterson will advise Woodward on human services considerations and focus immediately on housing and homelessness. Patterson grew up in the foster care system in and around Spokane, founded BreakThrough in 2006 as a resource for youths needing a safe and consistent environment, and served two years under U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson as one of 10 regional administrators for the agency.
“Chris has extensive leadership and lived experience that shaped and molded a direct, compassionate, and collaborative approach that has earned him the respect and support of leaders nationwide with diverse backgrounds,” Woodward said.
Patterson will work closely with the Neighborhoods, Housing, and Human Services division on its plans around housing and homelessness, two of Woodward’s major initiative areas. Kirstin Davis will assume a temporary acting role as a deputy director for NHHS, which is responsible for neighborhood engagement, customer service, housing, and homelessness, to provide daily operational support and continuity while a permanent division director is identified.
Woodward discussed adding leadership and staffing during an NHHS division meeting this morning. Finalists have been identified for the open senior program manager position and recruitment is beginning for a Community, Housing, and Human Services department director.
Conversations with the NHHS team over the past several days surfaced a desire that any next steps include considerations for clear leadership and vision, strong understanding of the compliance environment, and experience with federal housing and development requirements.
“We heard very clearly that they need immediate leadership support as the division focuses on improving the livability for everyone in our community,” Woodward said.
Patterson is a graduate of Eastern Washington University, Spokane Community College, Leadership Spokane, and the Jennifer Dunn Leadership Institute. He is also the national lead for the Foster Youth to Independence Initiative.