Steve Benz – Chair
Arnold and Porter, Washington, D.C.
Steve Benz is an Air Force veteran, having served from 1985 to 1991. He is currently Senior Counsel at the Law Firm of Arnold and Porter, in Chicago, IL. Prior to that, he was an attorney at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis for 18 years. Benz has served on the Board of the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation (HVAF) in Indianapolis for over 15 years, where he was the Board Chair for six years. HVAF houses over 200 formerly homeless veterans and administers grants and other programs to prevent hundreds of others from becoming homeless. He has been on the NCHV Board for five years. He is also a volunteer runner for Back on My Feet, an organization, that through running and mentorship, helps persons (many of whom are veterans) who have struggled with homelessness and other issues to get their lives back on track.
Pete Dougherty – Vice Chair
Jefferson County Government, Charles Town, WV
Pete Dougherty has been the Sheriff and Treasurer of Jefferson County, WV since 2013. In this role, he is responsible for law enforcement, tax collection, animal control, and courtroom and courthouse security for the county. He was previously the first National Director of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Homeless Programs, where he was an instrumental partner to NCHV, homeless veteran service providers across the country, and an advocate for the homeless veterans VA programs served. Prior to his career at VA, Dougherty served as a staff member to both the U.S. House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs. Dougherty is one of only three individuals to be a two-time recipient of the Jerald Washington Memorial Founders’ Award – the highest honor bestowed in the homeless veteran assistance community.
Cathrene “Cat” Nichols – Secretary
Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, Spokane, WA
Cathrene “Cat” Nichols, a U.S. Army veteran, currently serves as Strategic Operations Manager for Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, specializing in regional strategic and multijurisdictional partnerships. She serves as the Director of the Regional Veterans Service Center in Spokane, WA, and has been a member of the NCHV Board of Directors since 2018.
Mitchell Milner – Treasurer
Milner & Caringella, Inc., Highland Park, IL
Mitchell Milner, President, Milner & Caringella Inc., has developed over 3,500 housing units valued at over $450 million since 1985, serving the long term housing needs of low-income tenants including over 1,300 homeless veterans. Housing projects are located in Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Indianapolis, Washington, D.C., Perry Point, MD, Canandaigua, NY; Battle Creek, MI; Marion, IN and other locations. Milner works as both a housing consultant in partnership with not-for-profit sponsors and as an owner/developer.
John Altenburg, Jr.
Greenberg Taurig, Washington, D.C.
John Altenburg, Jr. served for 28 years as a lawyer in the Army. From 1997 to 2001, he was the Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Army. Altenburg retired at the rank of Major General. His service was marked by extensive experience in military justice, international law, and operations law. He was one of several key JAG Corps leaders who helped transform the practice of law in the Army by insisting that lawyers acquire soldier skills and immerse themselves in their clients’ business to become more effective advocates. Currently a principal with the Washington D.C. office of the international law firm Greenberg Traurig, Altenburg was a consultant on Ethics and Business Conduct to the President of the World Bank Group before joining Greenberg Traurig in November of 2002. His practice focuses on corporate governance, investigations, and contract litigation.
Retired, Deputy Secretary U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, St. Petersburg, FL
Cloudbreak Communities, Phoenix. AZ
Brad Bridwell has over 21 years of experience working with homeless individuals. He has dedicated the past 17 years to specifically assisting homeless veterans to successfully reintegrate back into their communities. Bridwell is currently the Director of National Operations for Cloudbreak Communities, a special needs housing developer for homeless veterans that has developed over 3,000 units of housing for veterans. Previously, he was employed as Arizona’s first Homeless Veterans Services Coordinator at the Arizona Department of Veterans Services and was responsible for coalescing stakeholders to create, implement and evaluate the State’s effort to end homelessness among veterans. Bridwell served as a key leader in Project H3: Home, Health, Hope; a local implementation of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, uncovering critical innovations in “Housing First” models for people experiencing long-term homelessness and who are medically vulnerable, and has played a key leadership role in Project H3 VETS, Maricopa County’s initiative to end chronic homelessness among veterans. Bridwell holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Arizona State University. In addition to the NCHV Board, he has also served as the Board Chair of the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness.
National Equity Fund, Los Angeles, CA
Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs, Richmond, VA
Matt Leslie is the Assistant Director of the Virginia Veteran and Family Support program for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS). In this role, Leslie provides leadership and policy support to improve access for veterans in need of behavioral health, rehabilitative, and supportive services throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is responsible for statewide coordination in addressing housing instability for veterans. He assists communities to collaboratively develop and enhance systems for increasing access for veterans through partnerships with local, state, and federal entities, including coordinating with six Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. Leslie chairs the Governor’s Coordinating Council on Homelessness Veterans Committee and was the lead when Virginia was the first state to effectively end veteran homelessness. Before joining VDVS, Leslie worked at the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) as both a Homeless and Special Needs Program Administrator and a Housing Policy Analyst. He has his Bachelor’s in Geography from James Madison University and a Masters of Social Work (Administration, Policy, and Planning) from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.
The Jericho Project, New York, NY
Tori Lyon, joined the Jericho Project in 1996 as the Director of Development. In 1999, she was promoted to Associate Executive Director, in 2005 became Executive Director, and in 2016 CEO. Lyon’s experience includes over 20 years in the supportive housing industry, primarily responsible for strategic planning, fundraising, housing and program development, and executive management. Prior to joining the Jericho Project, Lyon was the Grants Manager at Bailey House, a supportive housing program for people living with HIV/AIDS. At Jericho, Lyon has overseen the development of more than 350 units of supportive housing, launched a nationally-recognized Veterans Initiative, and led the strategic growth of the agency, more than quadrupling the number of people served since 2010. She holds a B.S. degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program, Inc.
San Antonia, TX
Since 1972, Carlos Martinez has guided the American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program organization into being one of the country’s most unique nonprofit groups – providing affordable housing, economic development, employment, support services, Veterans Residential Center, and disabled veterans Work Center. He has served on the VA’s Advisory Committees on Homeless Veterans, on Veterans Readjustment, on Women Veterans, on DOL’s Veterans Employment Committee, and on Texas’ Advisory Committee on state-owned Veterans’ Homes. He currently serves on President George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative Advisory Council. Martinez is a Vietnam Era veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and holds Management and MBA degrees.
Black Veterans for Social Justice, Brooklyn, NY
Wendy Charece McClinton is a native daughter of New York City, which is where she was reared and received her formal education. She is a decorated 10-year U.S. Army veteran who served during the Desert Storm Persian Gulf Era. As an administrator, her leadership and management skills gave way to her prolific role as President/CEO of Black Veterans for Social Justice, Inc., a community based organization that has served ALL veterans, their families, and the community in New York City for the past 39 years.
FORA, Inglewood, CA
Robert Norris joined the Marine Corps in 1966, going through boot camp at Camp Pendleton followed by training in electronics and communications at the Marine Corps Communications-Electronics Center in San Diego. He also underwent NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) warfare training at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station and later studied Indonesian language at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. In Vietnam he served as Communications Center Man, stationed respectively at Danang, Quang Tri and Dong Hoa. Norris’ awards for valor include the Navy Achievement-Combat V medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon (CAR), and the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Cross of Gallantry. After discharge, he attended UC Santa Barbara, graduating with a Political Science/ Black Studies degree in 1974 and later completed his MBA at the University of Phoenix in 2004. Norris continued his career of service with roles including Director of University of San Francisco’s Upward Bound Program, an appointee to the CA Department of Housing and Community Development, and Deputy Director for Housing at the San Diego Housing Commission. Norris served on the Board and as Executive Vice President for Century Housing Corporation from 2001 to 2010, and is most proud of serving on the board of NCHV. President Barack Obama presented him with the Community Drum Major Award In 2012.
Veterans Inc., Worcester, MA
More than two decades ago, Vincent Perrone became involved in a grassroots effort to build the largest supportive services agency for veterans and their families in New England and was subsequently named Chairman, President & CEO of Veterans Inc. A 501(c)3, CARF accredited nonprofit headquartered in Massachusetts, Veterans Inc. has helped more than 75,000 veterans and their families in need and today operates a national referral service and offices and programs in all six New England states. Born in Worcester, MA, Perrone is a graduate of Norwich University, the oldest private military college in the nation and the birthplace of ROTC, where he was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force. He served in the military for 20 years, retiring as a Lt Colonel. He has a Master of Science Degree in Business Administration from Central Michigan University and holds Level III certification from the Department of Defense in Program Management and Acquisition Logistics disciplines. Following his retirement from the Air Force and before taking his current position at Veterans Inc., Perrone was Director of Global Government Marketing for EMC Corporation, a Fortune 500 company. Perrone and his wife, Debra, have four children, Francesca, Vincent III, Samuel, and Ricky.
Patrick E. Ryan
Pat Ryan Consulting LLC., Silver Spring, MD
Patrick E. Ryan has a unique blend of experience in the Executive and Legislative branch and for the last 14 years as a trusted consultant on a wide array of issues affecting the delivery of services to veterans. Prior to becoming a consultant, he served for 21 years as the counsel to the Chair and Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Veterans Affairs, including serving as the Committee Staff Director and Chief Counsel from 2001 to 2004. Before going to work on Capitol Hill, Ryan worked at VA as a staff attorney in the Office of General Counsel, as a budget analyst in the Office of Management, and as a benefits counselor for the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Washington Regional Office. He has a broad knowledge of VA laws and the budget process, and has worked extensively with stakeholders to gain acceptance of a number of important changes to the laws and processes governing the delivery of benefits and services to our nation’s veterans. Ryan earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, and his undergraduate degree in government and politics was awarded by the University of Maryland.
Veterans Village of San Diego, San Diego, CA
Andre Simpson served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force where he deployed to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. Simpson currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Veterans Village of San Diego and has been associated with VVSD since 1996 when he was hired in the capacity of Counselor and Employment Case Manager. He has developed many new and exciting initiatives for VVSD, including the development of the monthly Homeless Court Program, a Medication Assisted Treatment protocol in partnership with the local VAMC, and a Non-Custodial Parent Program in collaboration with San Diego County Department of Child Support Services. He serves on the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans Board of Directors in addition to serving on the Regional Task Force on the Homeless Governance Board. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services, and Master of Science in Organizational Leadership.
Volunteers of America – Florida, St. Petersburg, FL
Janet M. Stringfellow received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Communication from the University of Puerto Rico in 1992 and a Master of Rehabilitation Counseling in 1996. She is one of the two authors of the thesis “Knowledge that the law students of the University of Puerto Rico demonstrate about the Americans with Disabilities Act and their attitudes toward individuals with disabilities.” Also, in 1997, she received her license as a rehabilitation counselor. In 2002, she was recognized as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) in the United States. In 2008, she completed the Volunteers of America of Florida executive development track, and the Volunteers of America’s Executive Development Program in 2011. In June of 2012, she became an ordained minister for Volunteers of America. Stringfellow is currently serving as a board member for Leading Age Florida as a Leading Age Education Comittee Board Chair, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, and Volunteers of America Inc. Church Governing and National Board. Stringfellow has served with Volunteers of America of Florida since 1998, and is extremely honored to build on VOA’s 122 years of service, and she proudly upholds the distinction of being the first Hispanic President/CEO of a Volunteers of America affiliate.