Staff & Board

Flagstaff Shelter Services is the largest emergency shelter in Northern Arizona. Spearheaded by Executive Director Ross Schaefer, the organization has provided life-saving services to thousands of people in crisis. 

Our leadership is committed to eliminating homelessness in Flagstaff. We provide emergency shelter and services year-round, 24/7, to anyone experiencing homelessness or in danger of becoming homeless, regardless of circumstance. 

Under the leadership of its staff and board, Flagstaff Shelter Services has helped hundreds of people experiencing homelessness in Coconino County have achieved housing stability since 2015.

Our Staff

Ross Schaefer, Executive Director

In August of 2014, Ross Schaefer moved from Richmond, Virginia to Flagstaff, Arizona.  In Richmond, Ross was the Executive Director of Housing Families First, a multi-dimensional housing program for families experiencing homelessness. Virginia Housing Coalition named Ross as one of the top 40 under 40 in Housing in Virginia in 2013.  Additionally, Ross was chosen by The Greater Richmond Community Foundation as a 2014 recipient of the Stettinius Awards for Nonprofit Leadership. The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Daily Sun named Ross one of 2017’s Top 20 Under 40 and was nominated for the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 ATHENA Award. Ross has also been serving on the City of Flagstaff Housing Commission since 2019, showing dedication to progressing housing opportunities for everyone in our community.

Ross began her work as the Executive Director of Flagstaff Shelter Services in August 2014 and is working to bring housing strategies to clients that are experiencing homelessness. In August 2015, the Arizona Department of Housing named FSS the 2015 Housing Hero for Innovative Supportive Housing in Arizona and again in 2021 for Innovative Supportive Housing Project through our Housing as Healthcare program. And in 2019, FSS was named Nonprofit of the Year in Social Services by AzBusiness Angels.

Since 2014, Flagstaff Shelter Services has permanently housed over 500 individuals and families, provides year round emergency shelter for all who need it and has expanded its physical campus and service provision to work with more neighbors experiencing homelessness in Northern Arizona.  Email Ross

Our Board

Jessica Drum (Board Chair)

Zillow, Communications Manager. Jessica has spent the last 12 years focused on communications and public outreach in a variety of roles. Her background in local government combined with her current work in housing-related issues brings a unique perspective to the Flagstaff Shelter Services board.

Sarah Erlinder

Federal Public Defender Office – District of Arizona, Assistant Federal Public Defender. Sarah has represented indigent people accused of crimes in northern Arizona for over a decade. Through her work, she has seen first hand the power of stable housing in clients’ long-term success and in turn the success of our community.

David Hayward

Square Peg LLC., Principal. David is a real estate developer focusing on niche, complex, and triple bottom line development opportunities in Flagstaff. This focus, along with his background in rehabilitating historic properties has also led him to join the Flagstaff Heritage Preservation Commission, where he is chair, and the Business Advocacy Board for the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce.

Khara House 

Senior writer at C4 Innovations. Khara is an active member of the Flagstaff community, serving on a number of professional and community boards and committees, including NAMI Flagstaff, the Southside Community Association, the City of Flagstaff’s Housing Commission, and the Coconino County African Diaspora Advisory Council (ADAC). In all she does, Khara strives to make and create positive changes in the community and serve as many people as she can through her various projects and associations.

Lauren Lauder, MBA, MSW, LISAC (Former Board Chair)

Deputy CEO, Arizona Market President, Spectrum Healthcare Group. Lauren currently holds elected positions on the board of directors for the Arizona Council of Human Service Providers and Flagstaff Shelter Services. In addition, Lauren has been an active member of the Executive Committee for the Coconino County Continuum of Care, the Executive Committee of Closing The Gap, and the Front Door Advisory Committee. Lauren has a passion for impacting the communities she serves while ensuring those that need services are able to have their needs met in a timely and person-centered manner. Lauren prides herself on being an agent of change and helping others navigate change in order to promote recovery and health for all individuals.

Jacki Lenners (Secretary)

Deputy General Manager, Mountain Line. In her position with Mountain Line, Jacki is responsible for connecting the community with public transportation. Housing and transportation are inextricably linked and she appreciates that her work with FSS and her day job have such a complementary relationship.

Mike Thomas

Kinney Construction Services, President. Mike was raised in the Chicago area, but moved to Flagstaff in 2002. In addition to the FSS Board, Mike is the board president of STEM City. 


Catherine Esquivel

Community Resource Liaison, Working Alternatives. Catherine Ye’ii Diné’é’ Tachii’nii of the Diné. She is born for Dził T’áá Kinya’áánii clan.  Tsé Deeshgiizhnii is her paternal grandfather’s clan.  Tł’izi Łani is her maternal grandfather’s clan.  She attended Haskell Indian Junior College and Brigham Young University studying Social Work with an emphasis in Native American Studies.  She is passionate about advocating on behalf of Indigenous people and those who are typically marginalized by the larger society.


Ted MacMahon (Treasurer) 

American Ancestors, Assistant Vice President. Ted brings three decades of professional non-profit leadership to his role on the FSS Board of Directors. Raised in Lincoln, MA, Ted earned his bachelor’s degree at St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY) and master’s degree in nonprofit management at Lesley University (Cambridge, MA). He is a member of the National Society of Charitable Gift Planners and is a certified fundraising executive (CFRE). He is the Vice President for Advancement at American Ancestors (Boston, MA) and is also a Board Member of the Flagstaff-based professional running team HOKA Northern Arizona Elite.

Dr. Moses Milazzo

Other Orb LLC, Owner.  Moses is a board member of the City of Flagstaff’s Housing Authority Board, a Commissioner on the City of Flagstaff’s Housing Commission, and the liaison between those two boards. He is also a board member with Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona.

Janet Dean

APS, Senior Public Affairs Manager, NE Division. A long-time resident of Flagstaff, Janet Dean has served as the Public Affairs Manager for the northeast division of Arizona Public Service since 2014. In this role, she works across northeastern Arizona supporting communities and building relationships with community leaders. She moved to Flagstaff to attend Northern Arizona University, and like many others chose to make Flagstaff and Northern Arizona her permanent home. Her career has focused on communications, primarily in public relations, community affairs, marketing and publishing. Prior to joining APS she worked at Northern Arizona Healthcare/Flagstaff Medical Center, Mountain Living Magazine and the Museum of Northern Arizona. In addition to serving on the board of Flagstaff Shelter Services, she volunteers with many organizations across the region including the NACOG Regional Council, NACOG Aging, United Way of Northern Arizona and Holbrook Chamber of Commerce. Janet and her husband Richard (a teacher with the Flagstaff Unified School District) have four children and one grandchild.

Juliette Roddy

NARBHA Institute Wurgler Chair of Criminology Justice and Behavioral Health. Julie has spent the last 20 years studying the areas of substance use, recovery, incarceration and re-entry at various community levels. An economist by training, she focuses on the economic impacts at both the individual and community levels. Julie is a member of the federally recognized Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Aaron Secakuku (Vice Chair)

Flagstaff Unified School District, FUSD, Native American Education, Native American Interventionist. After nearly 13 years with Native Americans for Community Action as the afterschool coordinator, Aaron decided to make and career change and recently began his employment with FUSD. Aaron recently completed seven years on North Country HealthCare’s Board of Directors. Aaron is a member of the Hopi Tribe, from the village of Bacavi and a member of the Greasewood Clan and has resided in the Flagstaff Community since 1992.

Joanna Carr

Arizona Housing Coalition, Research and Policy Director. Joanna holds a Bachelor’s Degree Psychology and Sociology from Sheffield Hallam University, England, and a Master in Public Administration from Grand Canyon University. With a background in direct services, Joanna spent 9 years working with individuals and families experiencing homelessness, including as a case coordinator for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. Joanna is now focused on policy solutions, systems change and advocacy at the federal, state and local level, to address the affordable housing and homelessness crisis in Arizona.




Better together

Small acts of kindness can make big things happen. Check out some simple things you can do that will get us one step closer to eliminating homelessness in Flagstaff.