Christine Kim, MSW - Founder & Executive Director
Christine is a macro social worker with a specialized interest in building programs and policies that recognize the power of the human-animal bond. During her time working in supportive housing, Christine became acutely aware of the barriers people experiencing homelessness with animal face when attempting to access shelter and housing services. Christine’s research and work with interspecies homeless families includes a publication in the pioneering book Animals in Social Work: Why and How They Matter (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), an exhibition for The Animal Museum called My Dog is My Home and the founding of the non-profit organization by the same name.
Richard Encarnacion, MPA - Human Resources & Volunteer Manager
Richard currently uses his data analysis skills to improve HR practices at the New York City Department of Education to benefit the 1.1 million New York City public school students. He graduated with his Masters of Public Affairs in December of 2017 from Baruch College in New York City. Richard met Ralph while working for animal welfare organization providing assistance to low income families. He was named Ralph after the movie Wreck It Ralph due to his love for destruction.
Stephanie has 10 years of experience working in the retail industry with a focus on e-commerce merchandising & marketing within the home industry; however, her true passion from a young age has been helping animals in need of family and home. Throughout her adult life, she has volunteered for several different animal rescue groups and shelters to help with everything from fostering to event planning. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a Bachelors in Merchandising Management. Currently she has two furry children - an 11 year old Silky Terrier named Hannah and a 13 year old Golden Retriever named Riley who are her whole world. They are an integral part of her family, so the mission of MDIMH is one that hits close to home and one she feels is important for both the community of people experiencing homelessness and their animal family members.
Matthew Lerch, ESQ - Legal Counsel
Matthew is a lawyer dedicated to the universal right to quality housing. His legal housing work includes constituent service housing cases for elected officials, former service as the president of a tenant association, and volunteer representation in housing court. Matthew’s professional affiliations include memberships to the New York City Bar, Queens Bar (committees - Animal Law, Labor Relations, Landlord and Tenant Law, LGBT law), and LeGal the greater LGBT Bar Association of New York. Matthew received his BA from NYU with a concentration in the Politics of Social Justice and his JD from CUNY School of Law. He currently cares for a semi-feral indoor/outdoor cat that came with his apartment. The cat enjoys eating mushrooms picked out of takeout, dancing in the rain, and sunbathing on the fire escape.
Emma Newton, MS - Policy and Campaign Manager
Emma is currently working on her second Masters in Food and Agriculture Law and Policy from Vermont Law School where she focuses on the intersection between human health, animal welfare, and environmental conservation. Emma first became interested in the human-animal bond as it relates to homelessness through her volunteer work for the Portland Animal Welfare Team. Through research for her thesis on housing barriers for homeless individuals and companion animals, Emma became connected with The Animal Museum and Christine's work on the My Dog is My Home exhibition. Emma brings a background in research, community relationship development, capacity building, and cross-cultural communication.
Board of Directors
Ann is a Program Manager at Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH). She is also spearheading CSH's Supporting Housing Community Advocates Program, which empowers peers to use their stories to promote supportive housing. Ann was the PATH Hollywood shelter director in 2008 and was responsible for opening the shelter's adjoining kennel space for homeless residents' companion animals.
Mireille Fauteux, LMSW
Mireille's social work practice focuses on project management in the areas of training, education, and the implementation of best practices. She worked at the National Center for Social Work Trauma Education and Workforce Development until 2015, and she is currently at the ACT Institute/CPI/Division of Mental Health Services and Policy Research. Mireille received her MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work and her BA in Art History from SUNY Purchase.
Christine Kim, MSW
Christine is a social worker at the intersection of homelessness, mental health, and substance use with a specialized interest in exploring the human-animal bond in her practice. During her time working in supportive housing, Christine became acutely aware of the barriers homeless people with animal face when attempting to access shelter and housing services. Christine’s research and work with interspecies homeless families includes a publication in the pioneering book Animals in Social Work: Why and How They Matter (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), an exhibition for The Animal Museum called My Dog is My Home and the founding of the non-profit organization by the same name.
Donovan has over eleven years of corporate finance experience working in various tax and audit roles. As a finance leader, he helps organizations achieve financial goals by optimizing tax planning, managing budgets, and establishing mitigating control procedures. Donovan graduated from Fordham University's College of Business Administration with a BS in Accounting. Following a difficult breakup in 2011 Donovan found the much needed love and support during that time from his African pygmy hedgehog Theo. Donovan's work with My Dog is My Home is dedicated in loving memory to Theo.
Tony Weaver, LCSW
Tony Weaver earned his Master's in Social Work from Hunter College in New York City and holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from University of North Alabama. He is currently the Director of Transitional Housing at St. Anne's--a Los Angeles based organization that serves at-risk pregnant young women, mothers, and children. He comes to My Dog is My Home with 10 years of experience working with Transition Aged Youth and individuals and families in Permanent Supportive Housing in Skid Row and in the South Bronx. Prior to his career in social services, Tony served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania engaging in Community Health Education.
Christopher White, MFA
Chris White has worked on a wide variety of film and television productions and has overseen post production on the award-winning documentary For the Love of Liberty: The Story of America's Black Patriots and popular television series including Californication, Heroes Reborn, and The Florence Henderson Show. In 2014, Chris launched his own production company, Anabatic Entertainment, which is devoted to developing and producing enlightening, inspiring, and engaging entertainment. His work has earned him membership into the Producers Guild of America as well as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Kate Cahill is an architect and researcher in the Master of Design Studies program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design where she studies Urbanism, Landscape and Ecology and serves as the lead research assistant for the Mumbai Portal of the Harvard-Mellon Urban Initiative. Recent work includes research on the paradox of affordable housing shortage and neighborhood abandonment in Cancún, Mexico; and the interrelationships of housing, livelihoods and urban form in Mumbai, India. She is currently interested in the development of inclusive forms of collaborative practice; coastal resilience and adaptation planning; and the intersection of social justice and urban design. Kate is co-founder of the GSD Design Research Forum and co-edits the student journal Process. She is a 2015 AAUW Selected Professions Fellow, a recipient of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Research Fellowship, and a board director of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance (iLAND) in New York City.
Leslie Irvine, PhD
Leslie Irvine is Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Primarily a social psychologist, her research focuses on the roles of animals in society. Her latest book, My Dog Always Eats First: Homeless People and Their Animals (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2013), examines homeless people's relationships with their companion animals. In addition, Dr. Irvine has studied animal sheltering, human-animal play, selfhood among animals, and the feminizations of veterinary medicine. Dr. Irvine's book, If You Tame Me: Understanding our Connection with Animals (Temple University Press, 2004), received the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the Animals & Society Section of the American Sociological Association.
Chance Krempasky, WHNP-BC
Chance Krempasky is a vegan cyclist, house plant enthusiast, and mediator. He works as a family nurse practitioner specializing in queer and transgender medicine, harm reduction, and care for people living with HIV. He is a practice leader at New York Insight Meditation Center, and is a co-author of Developing Trans*Competence: A Short Guide to Improving Transgender Experiences at Meditation and Retreat Centers.
Melody Martinez, CVT
Melody is a Certified Veterinary Technician with a decade of experience in small and large animal medicine. She grew up in low-income housing where companion animals were not allowed. She knows firsthand the love and security a companion animal gives and is familiar with the fear and frustration of having to find creative ways to keep her four-legged family members "secret" from housing authorities. Melody is a community organizer, facilitator, and racial equity consultant. In Portland, OR, she has primarily worked with statewide non-profits to oversee programmatic work and organizational development focused on creating meaningful, just outcomes for historically underserved communities. In her current role as Oregon Program Manager at Social Justice Fund NW, she organizes and trains community members to understand power and privilege and fundraise for social change.
Carolyn Merino Mullin, MNM
Carolyn is the founder and director of The Animal Museum in Los Angeles, CA. She has over 16 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and a long history of successful animal protection legislative campaigns. On the museum front, she has been involved in all aspects of museology including work with The Miami Science Museum, Casa Dolores, and the Miami Children's Museum. In 2016, she was awarded the Belton Mouras Grassroots Leadership Award from the National Council for Animal Protection.
Michael J. Smith, PhD, MSW
Dr. Smith has provided research and statistical consultation to Human Genetics students on their thesis projects for 15 years. He also has taught a program evaluation course in the Health Advocacy Program at Sarah Lawrence College. He is Professor Emeritus at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and in the PhD Program in Social Welfare at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Dr. Smith has authored two texts on program evaluation and numerous single and co-authored articles, the most recent published last year in the American Journal of Public Health. He received his PhD from Columbia University School of Social Work, his MSW from University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work, and his BA from Seton Hall University.
Erica Tumbaga, LCSW
Erica is a licensed clinical social worker committed to community mental health. She specializes in providing therapeutic individual and group services that recognize and treat trauma in the homeless population. Previously, Erica worked as a clinician for Project 50--a multi-disciplinary treatment team which provides holistic services to Los Angeles' 50 most vulnerable, chronically homeless individuals. Erica is currently a clinician at the John Wesley Community Health Institute in addition to having a private practice. She received her MSW from Columbia University.
Steve Wayland is the Program Director for PAWS/LA, a non-profit organization that assists people living with disabilities and low-income seniors to keep and care for their support animals. Founded in 1989, PAWS/LA assist over 1,200 individuals throughout Los Angeles County with pet food, vet care, and in-home assistance. Steve also oversees PAWS/LA's Housing Information Program, providing education, advocacy and referrals to individuals facing housing challenges because of their support animal. Steve celebrates his 24th year with PAWS/LA this year. A graduate of Occidental College, he shares his home with his rescue cat Bruno.