Catherine Trapani, Executive Director

Catherine has been working in the nonprofit sector for nearly 20 years.  She started her career providing direct services in a domestic violence shelter and has since played leadership roles developing and directing programs, public policy and system change work all designed to promote enhance the safety net and promote housing stability. 

As Executive Director of Homeless Services United she leads a coalition of nearly 50 nonprofit homeless services providers advocating for a stronger safety net with fair contracts and, provider informed, client centered practice to end the crisis of homelessness. Catherine successfully advocated for $146 million to improve shelter conditions and services, the largest investment since the 1990s and successfully advocated for additional funding for frontline staff pay increases and other initiatives. She has also won several legislative victories including raising the value of rental assistance vouchers at the City and State level. 

Catherine regularly provides expert testimony before the City Council and regulatory and oversight bodies as well as presents to community organizations. She has been a leader in various coalitions advocating on behalf of
homeless New Yorkers and has played a key role in monitoring policy developments and their effects on constituents while advocating for improved policies for and greater access to housing assistance for survivors of domestic violence and people experiencing homelessness. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the NYC Continuum of Care, the Coordinated Assessment Placement System Committee, the Family Homeless Coalition, the Eviction Prevention Roundtable, United for Housing, The Mayor and Comptrollers’ Taskforce on Nonprofit Contracting. Catherine was also a member of the Nonprofit Resiliency Committee, was a founding member of United to End Homelessness and a co-author of the Roadmap to Ending Homelessness, a member of the Housing for Vulnerable Families Coalition, a member of the Steering Committee and Co-Chair of the Housing Committee for the Coalition of Domestic Violence Residential Providers and Co-Founder of the Domestic Violence and Economic Justice Taskforce.

Prior to joining HSU she worked at New Destiny Housing Corporation where she directed citywide service
programs and helped design and implement the first rapid rehousing program for survivors of domestic violence in New York City.  Prior to that, Catherine was a Senior Client Advocate at a Safe Horizon emergency shelter, providing
case management and crisis intervention services.

Catherine Trapani received her BA from McGill University in sociology specializing in deviance, culture
and institutions and graduated with distinction.

Eric Lee, Director of Policy and Planning

Eric Lee joined Homeless Services United in November, 2009.  Since graduating from SUNY Albany in 2008, Eric has focused on helping various underserved and marginalized populations.  In August, 2008, he received an official Citation from NYS Assembly Member Ellen Young for his volunteer work on healthcare issues of immigrants at The American Cancer Society- Asian Initiatives. He completed AmeriCorps’ Public Allies program in June 2009, serving as a Community Organizer for a parent-led advocacy group working towards increasing inclusion for children with special needs in NYC public schools.

Jessica Alvarez, Administrative Coordinator

Jessica Alvarez joined Homeless Services United in January 2018, after working in a NYC DOE Charter School. Jessica has worked in the non-profit sector for 16 years.

Jessica supports HSU’s administrative functions and manages member services and communications. Throughout the pandemic Jessica ensured the delivery of supplies from donors who donated supplies to our members during the pandemic. Jessica focuses on the homeless in the community and volunteers in providing meals to them. Jessica graduated with a Bachelors in Criminal Justice from St. Johns University.