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Putting It Together: Homelessness and Mental Health: Providers with Lived Experience | Podcast
October 1, 2021


In this episode, we speak with Steven Samra, MPA, C4 Innovations, and Will Connelly, CEO, Park Center, about how their lived experience with homelessness and mental health has not only informed their practice in the field but dealing with the challenges of public misconceptions around homelessness.


Steven Samra headshotSteven Samra, MPA, Senior Associate, C4 Innovations

Steven Samra was Deputy Director for SAMHSA's Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS). He has served in leadership capacities for SAMHSA’s Housing and Homelessness Resource Network, Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness, and Services in Supportive Housing Technical Assistance Center and has led numerous peer involvement initiatives. Steven brings expertise in developing and leading peer advisory councils, harm reduction approaches, substance use and mental health recovery, peer leadership, criminal justice, cultural competence, promotion of lived experience as critical experiential knowledge, and effective outreach and engagement for challenging populations. After entering recovery in 1999 from homelessness, complex trauma, substance use, criminal justice involvement, and mental health challenges, Steven began medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in 2000. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he co-founded a street newspaper, The Contributor, and serves on the Nashville/Davidson Metropolitan Strategic Planning Committee to end homelessness in Nashville.


Will Connelly headshotWill Connelly, CEO, Park Center

Will Connelly grew up in Nashville and after graduating from high school, studied theology during his undergraduate years and then pursues a Master of Theology at Vanderbilt University, he felt called to be helpful to those who stand with their backs against the wall. He began his career engaging individuals experiencing homelessness and making connections to housing, entitlements, mental health support, and sometimes just an ear and a cup of coffee. Shortly after that, Will joined Park Center and led the SOAR program and has worked to end homelessness across the U.S. since then. His goals are simple: continue to provide excellent, evidence-based services in an inclusive, consistent, and radically compassionate way.


Christina N. Clayton, LICSW, SUDP, Northwest MHTTC Co-Director

NW Clayton

Christina Clayton has been working in the behavioral health field since 1993 working with people and programs addressing severe mental health issues, substance use, co-occurring issues, chronic homelessness, integrated care, outreach, physical health, trauma and diversity/equity/inclusion topics. Christina has education and licenses/credentials in clinical social work, mental health and substance use.  She is also a Clinical Assistant Professor and Field Instructor for the University of Washington School of Social Work (MSW ’97).  Learn more about MHTTC Staff & Faculty




Terms of use and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) disclosure statement