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Our people

Crisis is led by a group of Trustees and a Chief Executive, Matt Downie, supported by a Senior Leadership team.

Matt Downie MBE, Chief Executive

Matt Downie has been Chief Executive of Crisis since 1 January 2022. Previously, he was Crisis’ Director of Policy and External Affairs, a role he held since joining the organisation in 2014. Before that he worked at Action for Children, The National Autistic Society and Shelter.
Put simply, homelessness is an injustice and one that I am not only professionally, but personally committed to eradicating. I am incredibly proud to lead Crisis but along with all Crisis’ staff and volunteers, am looking forward to the day we are no longer needed. Matt Downie, Chief Executive

Senior leadership team

Liz has worked at Crisis since February 2020. Liz has recently moved into the role of Executive Director of Commerce and Enterprise and is responsible for its commercial activities including its retail, e-commerce and investment operations. In 2020, Liz founded the award-winning Venture Studio from Crisis with colleagues, to accelerate an end to homelessness through entrepreneurship. The Venture Studio invests, builds and grows startups that can support its mission and give grants to people experiencing homelessness to startup businesses.

Liz previously worked with deep tech and science startups at Imperial College London. Whilst there, she founded its women's entrepreneurship programme, WE Innovate, and has spoken internationally, including at events hosted by the World Economic Forum and Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers on increasing diversity and inclusion in tech.

In leading Crisis's commercial activities, I have the privilege of leading a vibrant committed team working with a range of cross-sector partners in developing new opportunities to either fund or accelerate our work to end homelessness. We are currently looking for partners to support the growth of our e-commerce business, the expansion of our physical retail presence across the UK and to support our Venture Studio Investment Fund.

Juliet Mountford joined Crisis as Executive Director of Client Services in September 2022. Previously a Senior Civil Servant with experience of working in six Government Departments (including no 10), Juliet left the civil service to focus on service delivery. She lead service transformation of UK services for the British Red Cross and within NCT (National Childbirth Trust), before returning to the civil service in March 2021 where she led the Operational Delivery Profession across Government.

Juliet is passionate about ending homelessness and maximising the impact Crisis’s work. A keen supporter of co-production and ensuring member involvement in all Crisis’s services and beyond.

Richard Eastmond joined Crisis as Interim Director of People and Organisational Development in April 2023. Previously a Senior people professional and COO in commercial and not for profits, he has lead people and culture teams and led transformations at The Royal Academy of Arts, Amnesty International and within the legal publishing, media and education sectors.  

I am really looking forward to diving into the organisation and pushing forward our people, culture and EDI strategies, and playing my part in maximising the impact of Crisis's work. I always look to work collaboratively with my team, peers and indeed all colleagues, and will work to deepen engagement with staff and volunteers and draw on the diversity of experience and perspectives of everyone.

Louise joined Crisis in September 2023 as Chief Operating Officer. A mum of two, she has been a senior leader in the non-profit sector for the past 15 years, having worked in organisations such as ACEVO, Tony Blair Institute and Centre for Ageing Better. Louise brings her expertise of strategic planning and operational delivery to lead our People and Resources Directorate. Louise is also a Trustee of Framework Housing Association, a charitable organisation working to end homelessness in the East Midlands. 

What a privilege to join an inspiring team working to end homelessness. My passion lies with enabling organisations to be more effective at achieving their mission, building kind and inclusive cultures to empower people to do their best work. I am excited to support Crisis in this way to deliver our new strategy.

Rob joined Crisis as Executive Director of Brand, Marking and Fundraising in September 2023 and previously was responsible for Teach First’s relationships with external audiences and stakeholders.  Prior to this he held senior marketing, fundraising and strategy roles at Friends of the Earth, Tate and The Scouts as well as acting in an advisory role for Members of Parliament. Rob is Chair of Governors of a local primary school in Hertfordshire and a Trustee of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. 

I am looking forward to working with supporters and partners in a collaborative approach to deliver funds, inspiration and action in our mission to end homelessness.

Francesca Albanese is Executive Director of Policy & Social Change at Crisis and previously held the role of Head of Research and Evaluation.  She has worked with Crisis since 2016.  Francesca is also an editorial panel member at Thinkhouse and co-ordinates the Housing First Europe research cluster. Prior to Crisis, Francesca worked at Homeless Link and Shelter and has a PhD in housing policy from Sheffield Hallam University. 

Board of trustees

Tristia been the CEO of TalkTalk Group Plc since March 2017, having previously served as Managing Director of TalkTalk’s consumer business. TalkTalk is the UK’s largest provider of affordable broadband, serving 10 million consumers, 4.2 million premises and businesses of all sizes across the country.

She has developed TalkTalk’s community engagement programme in the North West since moving the business’ HQ to Salford in 2019, including partnerships with local foodbanks and other community projects to help disadvantaged families and children in the area. Tristia is also an Independent Non-Executive Director at Next Plc and an Honorary Trustee at the national charity Ambitious about Autism.

From May 2011 to June 2020, she served as a Trustee at Comic Relief, whilst there she chaired their Commercial and Technology board as well as advising on marketing and communications campaign for Sport Relief and Red Nose Day as well as most recently The Big Night In, raising funds for charities in the wake of COVID-19.

Tristia has held a number of senior management and executive positions in The Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk Group, having first joined CPW in 2000.

Tristia is married with two teenage sons and splits her time between TalkTalk’s HQ in the North West, and London.

I’m thrilled to be joining the board at Crisis, and to have the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives. I share the firm belief that everyone should have a safe and settled place to call home. During the pandemic we’ve seen that ending homelessness is not only possible, but something we can make a reality by working together. I look forward to joining the fantastic team and getting started on this vital work at such an important time.

Terrie has been a trustee since July 2015.

She is Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, the membership body for housing professionals in the UK.

Prior to this she was Director of Housing in the Department for Communities and Local Government which included policy responsibility for homelessness policies and programmes. She had worked in the civil service covering various housing policies and programmes since 2003.

Terrie was given a CBE in 2013 for services to homeless people.

I am pleased to be able to contribute to the work of Crisis which is more important now than ever given increasing homelessness in this country. Homelessness is a problem which can be solved and for me Crisis has a unique contribution to make – both through its holistic support for people who are homeless and in its wider evidence based policy work.

Charlotte is qualified in both psychology and law and has been fortunate to use both interests throughout her career, particularly in her role of legal Mediator, for which she was featured in Forbes discussing productive communication. She is a passionate advocate for change and through personal experience has a keen interest and understanding of the factors that can lead to homelessness.

Charlotte is currently a Mentor Coordinator for Pure Insight, an organisation which connects care leavers to the community, as well as a board member for the Kerslake Commission. In addition, Charlotte also supports through her work as a School Governor, an Expert Citizen, a Trustee for The Advocacy People and as a counsellor.

'I am thrilled to have the opportunity to support Crisis as part of their Board of Trustees. Through personal experience, I understand first-hand how challenging the journey of homelessness can be and the multiple factors at play that can lead to someone being without a home. I’m looking forward to joining the team at such an important time to support those currently in similar situations and to ensure that the right support is there for everyone to be able to find a safe place to call home.'

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to support Crisis as part of their Board of Trustees. Through personal experience, I understand first-hand how challenging the journey of homelessness can be and the multiple factors at play that can lead to someone being without a home. I’m looking forward to joining the team at such an important time to support those currently in similar situations and to ensure that the right support is there for everyone to be able to find a safe place to call home.

Waqar Ahmed is Group Finance Director at L&Q and brings over 20 years’ experience in the commercial housing sector. He is passionate about developing impactful social objectives, having supported the L&Q Foundation through generating long-term sustainable partnerships with other like-minded charities. Waqar also sits on the boards of the National Housing Federation and Trafford Housing Trust.

Having worked in the housing sector for almost thirty years, I’m pleased to be joining Crisis as one of their new Trustees. Everyone should have a safe home, yet the ongoing housing crisis means that many are living in unstable and often dangerous conditions. Throughout my career and personal experience, I’ve learnt how important housing is and I’m excited to bring this expertise to Crisis to make a real difference to people’s lives.

Ezechi Britton is currently Chairman of Uome, as well as a strategic board advisor to the Crisis Venture Studio. He is a Principal, CTO and Founding Member of Impact X Capital, a VC fund dedicated to funding underrepresented entrepreneurs. He is also Co-Founder of Code Untapped working to support diverse technologists and tech startup founders. He was Co-Founder and former CTO of multi-award-winning financial wellbeing provider Neyber. In a former life, Ezechi spent over 10 years in Investment Banking Technology. In 2019 he was named VC of the Year by Inclusive Tech Alliance and ultimately named MBE for services to diversity and young people in the 2022 NY Honours List.


I’m delighted to be joining the Board at Crisis to support in their mission to end homelessness for good. Being passionate about supporting those from underrepresented communities, it’s important to recognise that these groups are often unfortunately more at risk of experiencing homelessness. I’m excited to be joining the team at Crisis to help raise awareness of their work at such an important time.

Sapna is an international General Counsel with over 15 years’ experience working with global FTSE companies and leading law firms. She is currently Group General Counsel for Kingfisher plc, an international home improvement company, with responsibility for all legal, compliance and governance matters and for leading the Legal team. Before joining Kingfisher, Sapna held various legal roles at Reckitt and AstraZeneca. She now lives in London, having spent over 10 years in New York where she specialised in global M&A and corporate law at the law firm Davis Polk. She is dual qualified in New York and English law and, before her legal career, worked as a radio presenter for the BBC. Sapna has a keen interest in supporting purpose-driven organisations and particularly in the areas of social equality, health and wellbeing.

I’m delighted to be joining the board at Crisis, especially at such a crucial time. With more people unfortunately at risk of homelessness and facing affordability issues due to the rising cost of living, it’s more important than ever to ensure everyone can access safe and affordable housing. Crisis provides vital help and support to those experiencing homelessness and is playing a key role in partnership with others to bring an end to homelessness for good. I’m proud to be joining their fantastic team this year and much looking forward to working together.

Viki works for the Cyrenians in Edinburgh as Service Manager for the Scottish Government funded PRS Pilot (private rented sector) which aims at providing pathways away from homelessness into the private rented sector. This is a partnership between Cyrenians and Crisis. She is also Service Manager for LEAP (Lothian and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme) out of hours care – providing support in the accommodation for those on the NHS clinical rehabilitation programme. Previously she was Project Manager for a cohorting centre during the pandemic providing accommodation for those in temporary accommodation showing symptoms of, or having tested positive for COVID19.

Viki has been a Trustee for St Martin-in-the fields charity since November 2020. Viki is currently studying for a Masters in Social Justice and Community Action at the University of Edinburgh and is a change lead for the All in for Change Team which is a sub-group of the Scottish Governments Homelessness Prevention Strategy Group.

Prior to becoming a Trustee in April 2019, Viki was a Crisis Member Ambassador for a one year term and has been a Christmas Ambassador for the past two years. Before this, Victoria was a Crisis Member and received support from Crisis during a period of homelessness.

I feel so privileged to be a member of the Board, knowing first-hand the impact that Crisis has had in my own life, and in the lives of so many others. I think having someone with lived experience on the Board sends out an important message about how dedicated everyone within Crisis is to ending homelessness.

Julia has been a trustee since July 2017. 

In September 2017, she was appointed Director of Strategy for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA)Prior to this, she spent three years at PwC as a Senior Adviser. 

A former MP and Treasury Special Adviser in the coalition government, Julia has more than a decade of experience in developing and implementing policy across a wide range of departments and subject areas, operating at senior levels in Government and the UK Parliament. 

In addition to her role at the WMCA, Julia also chairs the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s Brexit Advisory Commission for Public Services - a group established to convene a sector-wide response to Brexit. She is also an associate of the Institute for Government. 

Crisis combines evidence based policy making, with formidable campaigning clout, at the same time as providing critical front line support to those most in need. It’s a rare combination of skills to deploy to end homelessness for good, and I feel honoured to be able to contribute my own sector experience to such an important cause.

Kath Palmer is Chief Executive of Cynon Taf Community Housing Group and has extensive knowledge of housing and homelessness from her work in the Welsh housing sector. Kath has worked in the private, public and third sector in Wales and is passionate about ending homelessness. She has over 20 years of experience in public policy with particular interest and expertise in housing, social justice, health and social care, climate change, and joining up of public services for the benefit of those they serve. She has been a board member of Ty Hafan (a Welsh leading children’s hospice) and Community Housing Cymru (the umbrella organisation for housing associations in Wales), was previously a senior civil servant for Welsh Government in Housing and Regeneration and Executive Director and then CEO of two Welsh Housing Associations. She believes in everyone being able to have a decent home as well as the need to strengthen integrated services for vulnerable people and to promote equality, diversity and inclusion to ensure a fairer and more equal society.

I am passionate about ending homelessness and have been working to increase the supply and standards of social homes as well as crucial services for residents in Wales for over 20 years.  I am delighted at the opportunity to be working with Crisis, who operate such vital services and policy work across England, Scotland, and Wales to eradicate homelessness and I am looking forward to the challenge of making a positive difference to people’s lives in all three nations.

Alison is CEO of SOS Children's Villages UK, the UK branch of the world's largest independent childcare and family support organisation. Prior to joining SOS, she was CEO of the European Council on Foreign Relations and global relief organisation ShelterBox. She has held senior positions at Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth, and the Refugee Council, and has overseen relief operations for emergencies including Typhoon Haiyan and the Nepal earthquakes.

I'm inspired by Everybody In, Crisis' plan to end homelessness in Great Britain. It demonstrates that with the political will and the resources we can realise everyone's right to a safe and decent home. Having worked in roles with an international focus, I am thrilled to be contributing to change here at home as part of Crisis' Board of Trustees.