hands holding a paper house

Action Nexus on Housing and Homelessness

About the Nexus

Based in ASU’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, the Action Nexus on Homelessness is a team dedicated to connecting efforts across siloed systems and agencies in Maricopa County in order to improve service delivery and maximize effectiveness, bringing ASU resources to bear in the pursuit of lasting solutions.  
The good news is, agencies working toward ending homelessness in Maricopa County are already collaborating. The Human Services Campus and its partner agencies are a national model in collective impact. However, there is room for greater communication, alignment and shared action among the diverse agencies needed to solve housing and healthcare insecurity.
The Action Nexus’s task is to connect and boost existing efforts, identify opportunities for system alignment and identify opportunities for new solutions, engaging ASU in research and applied solutions. We are currently asking providers what training could help to elevate the quality of service provision. If you have a project you would like to work on with ASU, please contact us.

Contact: actionnexus@asu.edu

Who We Are

Shana Ellis, Executive Director

Shana Ellis, Executive Director

Shana Ellis has more than 25 years of experience in non-profit management in the areas of aging, disabilities, fundraising and incubation of new programs.  Most recently, she was a Vice President of Programs and Services at Area Agency on Aging in Phoenix, Arizona, overseeing programs that enable seniors to enrich their quality of life and remain as independent as possible.

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Prior to her work at Area Agency, she was the President/CEO of The Centers for Habilitation, helping individuals with disabilities through employment, housing, transportation and socialization programs.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems/Business and a master’s degree in Public Administration, both from Arizona State University. She has served on many non-profit boards that focus on youth, transportation, disabilities, leadership aging and homelessness.

Additionally, Shana served eight years on the Tempe City Council, with two years as Vice Mayor. She is a graduate of Valley Leadership, has received the Don Carlos Humanitarian Award for community service and was honored by the Phoenix Business Journal as an Outstanding Woman in Business.

Amber Maiberger, Program Coordinator, Sr. - Shared Housing

Amber Maiberger, Program Coordinator, Sr. - Shared Housing

Amber Maiberger has worked within social services and academia for over 6 years. As the Program Coordinator Sr for the Shared Housing Initiative of Maricopa County, she is working on increasing access to affordable housing by educating and supporting organizations in implementing shared housing. Prior to joining the Action Nexus, she worked for the School of Social Work’s Field Education Office as a Field Education Specialist, working directly with master of social work students searching for, entering, and completing their foundation and advanced internships. She is the Chair of the harm-reduction organization Shot in the Dark and works directly to foster safe and empowered communities.

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Prior to her work with Arizona State University, Amber lived in Chicago where she worked in the nonprofit sector for over 4 years. She worked as a clinician for adolescents with substance use, mental health, trauma, and problematic sexual behavior. She has a Certification in Alcohol and Drug Counseling and is trained in TF-CBT and PSB-CBT. She has provided community-based, school-based, and prison-based interventions for young people.

Amber holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Millikin University in Decatur, IL and a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Forensics from Aurora University in Aurora, IL. She is currently pursuing a Master of Art in Social Justice and Human Rights from Arizona State University with research regarding harm-reduction and destigmatization.

Chaelee Chavez-cropped

Chaelee Chavez, Project Manager

Chaelee Chavez joined the Action Nexus as the Project Manager after three years working in housing in Tucson, Arizona. Chaelee worked at Our Family Services which provides housing services to youth and families experiencing homelessness in Pima County. She was also on the Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness (TPCH) Continuum of Care board and the System Performance and Evaluation Committee.

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Prior to Tucson, Chaelee worked in Texas with Mothers Against Drunk Driving as a victim advocacy and later with a pilot program at the Brazos Valley Food Bank. During this time, Chaelee also volunteered with the Brazos Valley Sexual Assault Resource Center with their hotline, hospital advocacy and facilitated support groups for survivors.

Chaelee holds two bachelor’s degrees from Northern Arizona University in Psychology and Sociology. In 2016, Chaelee graduated from Arizona State University with her Masters in Social Work in the Policy, Advocacy and Community (PAC). During her master’s program she worked at the Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research (STIR) at ASU.

​ Jessie Helmes, Program Manager, Evaluator

Jessie Helmes Program Manager, Evaluator

Jessie Helmes joins the ASU Action Nexus as the Program Manager, Evaluator after more than nine years working with student interns in the College of Health Solutions. She brings with her experience collaborating with internal partners and community leaders to build successful programs for students and a passion for working with underserved populations. She is also a volunteer mentor for first-generation students in the One-at-a-Time scholarship program at St. Vincent de Paul.

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Since she began at the Action Nexus she has collaborated on program evaluation with a diverse group of organizations including the City of Glendale Community Action Program and the Respiro shelter housed on the Human Services Campus.

Jessie holds a Bachelor's degree in Art History from Northern Arizona University, a Master’s of Public Administration (Nonprofit Administration) and a Master’s of Education in Postsecondary and Higher Education from Arizona State University.