STaff & Board



Melanie Redman

President & CEO
Melanie Redman is the co-founder and President & CEO of A Way Home Canada. Melanie also leads the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness, which is a national community of practice of youth homelessness service providers committed to reducing the amount of time any young person is in an emergency shelter or mired in homelessness. In her previous role as the Director of National Initiatives at Eva’s Initiatives, Melanie led a national pilot project to support a number of communities to develop targeted strategies to prevent and end youth homelessness. Learning from that project, other communities, and international best practices in planning led to the development of A Way Home’s Youth Homelessness Community Planning Toolkit (authored by Dr. Alina Turner), which is utilized in communities around the world. She most recently led an international consultation process to refine and build consensus on the Canadian-made Housing First for Youth program model, which responds to the needs of developing adolescents. Melanie is an internationally-recognized thought leader on utilizing Collective Impact to work across the systems that drive young people into homelessness to ensure they are also be part of the solutions.

David French profile imageDavid French

Director of Policy and Planning

With 20 years experience working with Alberta’s most vulnerable young people, David has a passion for developing programs & policy that meet their unique needs. David led the development of Supporting Healthy and Successful Transitions to Adulthood: A Plan to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness, Canada’s first targeted plan to address youth homelessness, and supported its implementation across ten communities. David has taken a leave from Government of Alberta, to support A Way Home’s national youth homelessness efforts as the Director of Policy and Planning. He is a firm believer in harnessing the strength and leadership of community and the voices and experiences of young people in helping shape effective and long-lasting policy change.

Lesley McMillan

Program Director

After caffeine, Lesley’s three favourite words are convene, curate and catalyze. Lesley is a community worker who focuses on knowledge mobilization to end youth homelessness and works with youth serving organizations to disseminate emerging and promising practices. Utilising a collaborative approach, they develop tools and resources for organizations working to end youth homelessness. Lesley is the Program Director with A Way Home: Working Together to End Youth Homelessness in Canada. Their current projects include: Making the Shift project and managing the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness.

mary-janeMary-Jane McKitterick

Community Planning Manager

Mary-Jane McKitterick brings over 20 years progressive experience in Canada and abroad to the role of A Way Home’s Community Planning Manager. This includes community engagement and planning, development, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, community-based peacebuilding, education and social justice. She hails from both the small town and the megacity and her experience is supported by graduate degrees in humanities and social science. She loves it when new information turns everything we think we know on its head, especially when it helps us think differently about youth homelessness.

Amanda Buchnea

Program and Policy Coordinator

Amanda is a social science lover and policy wonk with a passion for creating systems change to solve ‘wicked’ social policy problems. She holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance where she specialized in Community Development and worked as the Director of student-led pro-bono policy consulting group, the Public Good Initiative. As the Program and Policy Coordinator at A Way Home Canada, Amanda coordinates the Making the Shift project, the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness and the Government Relations constellation.

Orpah Cundangan

Operations Coordinator

Orpah immigrated with her family from the Philippines to St. James Town in Toronto, and ever since then has developed a deep love for this city she calls home. She has always been led by a passion for social justice and is a true believer in the power and resilience of youth. She was first introduced to A Way Home Canada while working at Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth, where she was a Development Coordinator. After minoring in Global Development Studies at Queen’s University, she began her career doing non-profit work for an international charity until she arrived at Eva’s, where she became exposed to many of the prevention and housing strategies being implemented to address youth homelessness in Toronto and in Canada. She is constantly inspired by the communities that come together to share knowledge, practices, and tools to end youth homelessness.

Alina Turner, PhD

Content Expert

Dr. Alina Turner is recognized as a leading homelessness researcher and is a Fellow at The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary. In her consulting work (Turner Research & Strategy), she supports with a variety of organizations to support human service system planning and integration, including plans to end homelessness and transitions to Housing First. She also engages in academic and applied research on issues including housing stress, poverty, domestic violence, migration and rural social issues. She has extensive experience in strategy and program development on a variety of social issues.

Prior to consulting, Alina was the Vice President of Strategy for the Calgary Homeless Foundation where she led program investments of more than $35M annually, system planning and integration, the Homeless Management Information System, research and policy. She also worked for the United Way of Calgary and Area leading the affordable housing policy and research portfolio. In 2012, she was appointed by the Mayor Nenshi to serve on the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative’s leadership committee.

Ilyana Keohane

Communications Officer

Ilyana Keohane is a Communications Officer for the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and for A Way Home, the national coalition to end youth homelessness. She organizes the social media and external communications of both organizations. Ilyana has previous experience as a student public relations officer and a Psychology research assistant in the University of Limerick, Ireland. Ilyana comes from a Psychology and Sociology background, and her interests include affordable housing solutions and LGBTQ2S issues.


Sean Kidd

Representing the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, Dr. Sean Kidd is the Division Chief – Psychology and a Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). He is also Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. The focus of Dr. Kidd’s career has been upon marginality and service enhancement. The populations of focus, often overlapping, are homeless youth and individuals with severe mental illness. Specific domains of contribution include publishing landmark papers in qualitative methods in psychology; international recognition for his research into youth homelessness, including being one of the most published scholars in that area; and extensive work in developing and testing psychiatric rehabilitation interventions and examining social inclusion among marginalized populations.

Mary Birdsell

Prior to being the Executive Director, Mary was a community development lawyer and staff lawyer at JFCY. Mary has been responsible for the clinic’s public legal education for young people in schools, institutions and custodial settings. She also provides training for staff and professionals in youth-serving agencies. In 1999, Mary increased the clinic’s direct contact with street-involved youth through the creation of our Street Youth Legal Services program and represented several young people in a constitutional challenge to Ontario’s Safe Streets Act. She represented JFCY on an intervention about the manner in which child victims and witnesses can testify before the Supreme Court of Canada, an intervention related to media access to youth records before an Ontario Youth Criminal Court, and represented the Empowerment Council at the Ashley Smith Inquest. Mary is the co-author of “Prosecuting and Defending Youth Criminal Justice Cases: A Practitioner’s Handbook”, published in 2016. Mary has been involved in many social justice groups such as the Youth Justice Education Partnership, the Committee for Better Policing, and the Conflict Resolution Educators Network. Mary is currently the Chair of the Child and Youth Law section of the Ontario Bar Association, a board member and Treasurer of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, and a member of the Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education (CAPSLE). Mary graduated from Dalhousie University Law School having been active in the law school’s legal clinic, and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1996.

Cécile Arbaud

Cécile Arbaud has been Executive Director of Dans la rue since mid-2013.

Cécile has a degree in engineering, an MBA from the Collège des Ingénieurs in Paris and a certificate in psychology from the Université de Montréal. Throughout her career, she has successfully resolved a number of challenges as a manager and consultant for private, public and non-profit organizations in Paris, Vancouver and Montreal. Her responsibilities have extended to auditing, strategic planning, management systems implementation, process and structural overhauls, organizational development and change management.

The three pillars of her management approach are sharing experience, collective intelligence and individual development.

timTim Richter

Tim Richter is the President & CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH). The mission of the CAEH is to create a national movement to prevent and end homelessness in Canada. Prior to joining the CAEH, Tim was President & CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation charged with leading the implementation of Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness – the first plan of its kind in Canada. In Calgary Tim also lead the development of Canada’s first plan to end youth homelessness, supported pioneering youth Housing First programs and advised the Province of Alberta on reforms to the child intervention system.

Tim is excited to join A Way Home because the coalition will not only prevent and end youth homelessness it will accelerate progress toward the day homelessness in Canada is a distant, awful memory.

jodyJody Ciufo

Jody Ciufo is the Executive Director of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, an organization dedicated to excellence in the built environment in Canada, while addressing important issues of society through responsible architecture. Previously, she worked with theCanadian Housing and Renewal Association, one of the founding members of A Way Home, and led CHRA’s #Housing4All national campaign which helped put affordable housing on the new federal government’s agenda. Jody has  dedicated her lengthy career to national advocacy associations with a clear purpose to improve social justice and build an inclusive caring society. Jody believes that no young person should experience youth homelessness and that the innovative and collaborative work of A Way Home will keep future generations housed.

SheldonSheldon Pollett

As Executive Director of Choices for Youth, Sheldon is responsible for overseeing program development to meet the needs of youth in the St. John’s (NL) metro area and to improve the overall systems of support in place for at-risk and homeless youth in NL. Sheldon has led the organization to become a national leader and partner in identifying best practices in the design and delivery of services to youth. This has included forming significant partnerships across the country. This has led to a series of adaptations of proven program models to better serve youth in NL. Sheldon is Co-chair of the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness and a Board member of A Way Home – A National Coalition to End Youth Homelessness. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee for the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, and a Board member of Raising the Roof.

Michael Braithwaite

Michael Braithwaite is the Executive Director for Raising the Roof.  What that means is together with his amazing team, he works to create innovative solutions to preventing and ending homelessness across Canada.  Although he doesn’t look it, Michael had been working in the area of social services for over 23 years, the first 17 of those with the YMCA and most recently with 360°kids in York Region.  Along the way he has managed to get a degree, diploma and a certificate.  He is someone who believes in action, as it’s only through taking action that any true progress really gets made.

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The views expressed on this website are those of the A Way Home coalition and do not necessarily reflect those of the individual organizations.
Contact us: info@awayhome.ca