Staff

Carmela J. DeCandia, Psy.D. - Director, The National Center on Family Homelessness
Dr. Carmela DeCandia is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialties in trauma, child and adolescent development, program development, and assessment. Throughout her career, she has worked with underserved populations, including young parents and children and families experiencing homelessness and trauma as well as those involved in the child welfare system. She has spent more than 20 years in roles that include service delivery, program management, clinical director, and vice president. She spent over a decade at St. Mary's Center for Women and Children in Dorchester, MA, working with families experiencing homelessness and trauma to achieve residential and economic stability, educational advancement, and emotional well-being. Dr. DeCandia has worked as a school psychologist in an inner-city charter school in Boston, MA, conducting school-based assessments. She has also taught as adjunct faculty at Lesley University about understanding trauma in the lives of children and adolescents and using play to assess and treat young children. Dr. DeCandia received a Master of Psychology from Boston University, a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University New England, and a mastery certificate in Global Mental Health from the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma.  

Ellen Bassuk, MD - Senior Advisor, Founder and former President
As founder and president, Dr. Bassuk led The National Center for 25 years in its mission to end family homelessness in America and give every child a chance. Dr. Bassuk championed solutions to homelessness that take into account the needs and strengths of families and children experiencing homelessness. For three decades, she has been at the forefront of research on family homelessness, pioneering seminal work on the intersection of family homelessness with trauma, interpersonal violence, and mental illness. Dr. Bassuk now serves as Senior Advisor at The National Center, where she helps to guide strategic direction and develop current and future initiatives.


John Kellogg, MPA - Consultant
John Kellogg has served The National Center for more than 15 years, contributing strategic advice in areas of marketing, communications, policy, media relations, new business development, and organizational management. Throughout his career, he has provided strategic direction to non-profit organizations, government agencies, and businesses, particularly in addressing complex and sometimes controversial public issues in the fields of homelessness, housing, hunger, education reform, health care, energy, and environmental protection. He received a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science from the College of Communication at Boston University.

Christina Murphy, MM - Director of Communications
Christina Murphy currently oversees communications strategies and previously directed the Campaign to End Child Homelessness at The National Center. She has managed regional programs and community initiatives and developed policies to increase participation in the federal nutrition programs in Massachusetts. She has also served as Deputy Press Secretary in the Massachusetts Senate, on the communications team of a statewide gubernatorial campaign, and as Legislative Aide in the U.S. Senate. Ms. Murphy received a Master of Management with a concentration in child, youth, and family policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and a Bachelor of Arts in child development and sociology from Tufts University. 

Lillian Ballkishun - Operations & Human Resources Manager
Lillian Ballkishun is responsible for all aspects of Human Resources, provides financial assistance to the Controller, manages the facility, and addresses technical support needs. She was previously employed at the Center for Social Innovation, a for-profit agency serving the most vulnerable populations. Lillian received her Associates Degree in Business Management with her concentration in Accounting.

Corey Anne Beach - Project Associate
Corey Beach coordinates planning, development, implementation, and dissemination of project activities for The National Center. She supports development and execution of training and technical assistance initiatives. Corey also oversees the PEACH Initiative, a physical and emotional awareness program for young children, and manages The National Center's social media accounts. She was previously Program Coordinator of the Mobile Home Project at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity in Burlington, Vermont. Corey received her Bachelor of Science in Community and International Development from the University of Vermont.  

Fred Berman, MSE - Senior Associate
Fred provides technical assistance and training for a national effort by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support community efforts to address homelessness. Before joining The National Center, he coordinated planning for the Cambridge, MA, Continuum of Care (CoC), overseeing expansion of supportive housing and services and implementation of HMIS (Homeless Management Information System). Fred's background includes direct social services, human service policy and budget work, and management of housing and employment programs. He received a Masters in Quantitative Policy Analysis from Johns Hopkins University. 

Casilda Chevalier, Research Associate
Casilda Chevalier is the Research Interviewer for S.T.A.R.T. with Kids, a pilot program of the U.S. Department of Justice's national Safe Start Initiative. She conducts assessments with children and families in emergency shelters in Worcester, MA. Casilda supports the recruitment and retention of families participating in the program by working with team members and case managers. She has many years of experience providing counseling to children, adolescents, and adults. Casilda received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Worcester State College.

Rosenie "Rose" Clervil, MM, MSW - Senior Associate
Rose Clervil provides technical assistance, training, and consultation to organizations to support trauma-informed programming. She has over 18 years of experience as a mediator, advocate, and program administrator working directly with families and children experiencing trauma, domestic violence, and homelessness. Rose also oversees The National Center's Consumer Advisory Board. She received her Master of Clinical Social Work from Boston University and also holds a Master in Management, Business Administration, and Conflict Negotiation Resolution from Cambridge College. She has trained internationally with Life is Good Playmakers Ayiti and is fluent in French and Haitian Creole.                  

Natalie Coupe - Policy Director
Natalie Coupe directs federal policy and government relations initiatives for The National Center and is located in Washington, D.C. She previously worked as Policy Director of the National Human Services Assembly, an association of national nonprofit human services organizations. Natalie also led the National Collaboration for Youth, a coalition of more than 50 national child and youth serving nonprofit organizations. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Girls Gotta Run Foundation. Natalie received a Bachelor of Arts in International Politics from American University.

Kathleen Guarino, LMHC - Director of Training
Kathleen Guarino develops programs, resources, and training curricula to implement trauma-informed practices. She trains across the nation on traumatic stress, vicarious trauma, and trauma-informed care, and provides individualized consultation to organizations to support trauma-informed programming. Before coming to The National Center, Kathleen worked as a clinician, providing therapeutic services to children and families impacted by trauma. She is a licensed mental health clinician with a Masters in Counseling Psychology. Kathleen completed the Certificate Program in Traumatic Stress Studies at the Trauma Center in Brookline, MA, in 2007.

Maureen Hayes, PhD - Senior Research Associate
Maureen Hayes is the Project Director for the SHIFT Study, a multi-year project sponsored by the Marie C. and Joseph C. Wilson Foundation that examines the effectiveness of different housing models in helping families achieve self-sufficiency and stability. Maureen is also the lead evaluator for the Campaign to End Child Homelessness. Prior to her work with The National Center, she was a research associate at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Maureen received her PhD in Social Work with a specialization in children and families from Fordham University, and her Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Howard Lewis, JD - HUD Project Director
Howard Lewis oversees activities of an initiative by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide training and technical assistance to communities addressing homelessness. His experience includes technical assistance for the HOPE VI Community and Supportive Services effort, revitalization of public housing, and production of affordable rental properties. He has held positions as an attorney, executive director of a legal services nonprofit, city government regulator, real estate developer, trainer, and technical assistance provider. He received a Juris Doctorate form the National Law Center at George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Haverford College.

John McGah, MSPA - Senior Associate
John McGah develops and manages projects and activities to support community-based and jurisdiction-led efforts to prevent homelessness, with particular emphasis on HMIS implementation and building capacity to use HMIS for performance measurement and system change. Previously, he founded and directed Give US Your Poor, a national public education campaign to help end homelessness based at UMass Boston. John is a former Senior Research Associate at UMass Boston's Center for Social Policy where he conducted research and evaluation. John received his Bachelor of Arts and Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and his Master of Science from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Sharon Swanson, LICSW - Clinical Child Specialist
Sharon Swanson is the Clinical Child Specialist for START with Kids, a pilot program of the Department of Justice's Safe Start Initiative. Sharon supports the implementation of trauma-informed, clinically-driven care for children in emergency shelters in Worcester, MA. She conducts a multifamily group intervention in shelters and provides training and clinical consultation on trauma-informed care, mental health, and assessment. Sharon has many years of experience providing individual, group, and family therapy, developing clinical programs, and supervising and training clinicians and direct care staff. Sharon received her MSW from Boston University.

Donna Thrush - HUD Program Supervisor
Donna Thrush supports the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Technical Assistance (CDTA) program. Donna has over 20 years of experience in community action and affordable housing as a grant specialist, administrator, program developer, and trainer with particular expertise in rural issues. Previously, Donna was the Executive Director of an affordable housing agency serving low income families in Appalachia, and served as Program Director of a HUD funded CDTA Program. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences with majors in Psychology and Social Work from the University of South Florida.

Deirdre Tomlinson - Project Assistant
Deirdre Tomlinson provides on-site and web-based logistical support for the HUD training and technical assistance team. She also coordinates database management and project documentation and assists with proposal preparation. Deirdre has previously worked as an Americorps* VISTA, administering the USDA Maine Senior FarmShare program. As a Peace Corps member, Deirdre was an Assistant Parish Organizer with the Jamaica Agricultural Society and Coordinator of the St. Thomas Women's Agricultural Initiative under the Bureau of Women's Affairs. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Unity College.