Jen Elder, M.Sc.

Jen Elder is the Director of SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Center (HHRC) and has over 12 years of experience in policy development and implementation in the homelessness sector. At HHRC, she oversees the development of training curricula and resources to related to housing, treatment, and supportive services for adults, children, and youth who have serious mental illness (SMI), serious emotional disturbance (SED), substance use disorders (SUD), and/or co-occurring disorders (COD), including special populations who have health disparities such as Veterans and youth who are LGBTQ+.

Prior to this she was the National Policy and Partnerships Coordinator and Assistant Director for the SAMHSA SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Technical Assistance Center at Policy Research Associates (PRA) and supported SOAR initiatives for over eight years. In that role, she assisted with the development and administration of the SOAR Online Course: Adult and Child Curricula and developed policy guidance and training tools related to mainstream benefits, employment, income maximization strategies for rapid re-housing programs, and Veteran homelessness. Ms. Elder has authored toolkits related to these topics for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), created the VA Income and Benefits Calculator, and is a regular presenter at national conferences on these subjects.

Ms. Elder provides technical assistance to VHA Homeless Programs and the U.S. Department of Labor Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) and is a recognized expert for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) National Center on Homelessness among Veterans Speakers Bureau. In addition, Ms. Elder is the current Chair and past Policy Chair for the American Public Health Association’s Caucus on Homelessness. Her previous experience includes coordinating street outreach and shelter services for chronically homeless individuals in Nashville, TN and London, UK, as well as developing organizational policy and training guidelines for emergency shelter staff. Ms. Elder received her M.Sc. in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, UK in 2007 and has a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.