Tanya Tull

President & CEO – Partnering for Change

A nationally recognized expert on family homelessness, Tull began working in the nonprofit sector in 1980, when she founded Para Los Ninos (For the Children), in response to an article in the L.A. Times about children living in Skid Row hotels. She served as the agency’s Executive Director through 1985 and President through 1996. In 1983, Tull co-founded L.A. Family Housing – a nonprofit agency that develops and operates emergency shelters and permanent housing. Tull founded two additional nonprofit agencies in 1988 – A Community of Friends and Beyond Shelter – as an evolution of her earlier work in the field. A Community of Friends develops permanent, supportive housing for special needs populations and has been operated by others since 1990. With Beyond Shelter, Tanya introduced an innovation in the field at the time, the “housing first” approach to ending family homelessness–which she then promoted nationally and internationally for the next 25 years. At Beyond Shelter, Tanya introduced an innovation in the field at the time, the “housing first” approach to ending family homelessness–which she then promoted nationally and internationally for the next 25 years. At the same time, she was testing and developing the framework for “service-enriched” housing and helped to codify models and methodologies that are still is use to this day. For ten years under the sponsorship of the National Housing Conference and then directly through Beyond Shelter, she conducted workshops and training on the integration of Services Coordinators into affordable housing operations and management, including for state housing finance agencies. 

Tanya served for many years on special advisory committees for the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the National Low Income Housing Coalition and worked closely with both the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and the National Center on Housing and Child Welfare. In the early 1990’s she helped to finalize then President Bill Clinton’s Federal Proclamation to End Homelessness, expanding the phrase “the homeless” to read “homeless individuals and families” instead. She was appointed to the US National Preparatory for the 1996 UN Conference, Habitat II, held in Istanbul, Turkey, where Beyond Shelter’s Housing First Program had also been chosen to represent the United States as on of “25 US Best Practices.” In Istanbul, the program was chosen as on of “100 International Best Practices”  for dissemination worldwide by the United Nations Centre on Human Settlements (UNCHS).

A graduate of Scripps College, Claremont, CA, Tull received a Life Teaching Credential from UCLA School of Education and Communication and an Honorary Doctorate in Social Sciences from Whittier College in 1992. She has served as a Senior Fellow at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs since 2005 and has been a Senior Fellow at Ashoka since 2009. Recognition includes the prestigious Gleitsman National Citizen Activist Award, Kennedy School of Government – Center for Public Leadership, Harvard (1996), and the MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) Community Service Award (2002).

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