Jim Ward, Interim Executive Director
I am an Austin-born and raised Texan, and working to end homelessness has become my life’s work. I began my journey at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless in 2008 as an overnight Client Services Specialist. I recently served as the Director of Planning for the Texas Homeless Network. I worked with communities large and small all over the state to design and implement strategies to end homelessness. I am excited about data-driven approaches to improving systems, and I am eager to listen to those with lived expertise to guide the implementation of system improvements. Throughout my career, the recurring lesson has been that “those closest to any problem are often closest to the solution,” and I believe that with my whole heart. I also think that housing is a fundamental human right. Still, the idea of a world where everyone has access to housing cannot ignore the real humanitarian crisis of homelessness and meet the basic needs of a life with dignity. The work to end homelessness is hard, the pandemic makes it harder, but it pales compared to the trauma of homelessness. I see my job as implementing compassionate strategies to a complex set of interconnected tragedies. That requires us to try and often publicly fail. Failing forward- toward an equitable system is, by itself, a success.
I do more than work towards equitable systems. My wife and I have a 2 ½-year-old son that keeps us on our toes! We love to explore the Central Texas area and experience the wonder of a world through a child’s eyes. I also enjoy woodworking and creating in stained glass.