Our people

Crisis is led by a group of Trustees and a Chief Executive, Matt Downie, supported by a Senior Management Team.

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Matt Downie MBE, Chief Executive

Chief Executive

Matt Downie has been Chief Executive of Crisis since 1 January 2022.

Previously, he was Crisis’ Director of Policy and External Affairs, a role he held since joining the organisation in 2014. Before that he worked at Action for Children, The National Autistic Society and Shelter.

Put simply, homelessness is an injustice and one that I am not only professionally, but personally committed to eradicating. I am incredibly proud to lead Crisis but along with all Crisis’ staff and volunteers, am looking forward to the day we are no longer needed.

Senior Management team

Sarah Farquhar, Director of Organisational Development, joined Crisis in 2013. Prior to this she had spent 12 years at Oxfam as a Director of their trading company in the UK and social enterprise in West Africa.

I am focused on ensuring Crisis has the culture, values and leadership we need to deliver our strategy, including increasingly demonstrating the influence of people with lived experience of homelessness. I am responsible for leading our shops, cafes, HR and innovation teams. It is a pleasure to work with talented people determined to make a positive difference to the lives of homeless people and resolve this injustice once and for all.

Richard Lee, Director of Fundraising, joined Crisis in 2018. He had previously worked in Fundraising at Shelter, Macmillan Cancer Support, Oxfam and most recently ShelterBox.

The fundraising team are here to help Crisis support as many people out of homelessness as possible. Working with supporters and partners to deliver funds, inspiration and action that helps end homelessness.

Su joined Crisis as Director of Corporate Services in 2021. She is a chartered accountant, and has previously held senior leadership roles at other charities, most recently Sustrans, in the NHS, and in education. Su is a Lay Member of Council at the University of Bath, and trustee at We The Curious, a science centre in Bristol.

I am responsible for making sure Crisis' resources, infrastructure, systems and processes enable and empower our work to end homelessness. I lead finance, estates, data and technology, planning and reporting, and project management, and have responsibility for our charity governance and compliance arrangements.

Grant Campbell, Interim Director of Client Services, joined Crisis in 2019. During his time with Crisis he has been Skylight Director in Edinburgh and previously the Chief Executive of Glasgow City Mission.

Ending homelessness for our members is at the heart of everything our team does. We deliver services throughout Great Britain that prevent and end homelessness. I’m delighted to work with a compassionate and determined team who regularly bring uncompromising hope and promise to our services.

Kiran Ramchandani, Interim Director of Policy and External Affairs, joined Crisis in 2022. Prior to Crisis, Kiran held Director roles at Citizens Advice, Power to Change, Anthony Nolan and served as a local councillor.

Policy and External Affairs seeks to bring about the lasting changes that will end homelessness for good. We work to influence Government and local authorities to implement policies that will ensure that anyone facing homelessness have access to the support they need. Everyone deserves a stable and safe place to live and with collective political will, we can help prevent homelessness, ensuring quick solutions are in place when it does.

Board of trustees

Tristia been the CEO of TalkTalk Group Plc since March 2017, having previously served as Managing Director of TalkTalk’s consumer business. TalkTalk is the UK’s largest provider of affordable broadband, serving 10 million consumers, 4.2 million premises and businesses of all sizes across the country.

She has developed TalkTalk’s community engagement programme in the North West since moving the business’ HQ to Salford in 2019, including partnerships with local foodbanks and other community projects to help disadvantaged families and children in the area. Tristia is also an Independent Non-Executive Director at Next Plc and an Honorary Trustee at the national charity Ambitious about Autism.

From May 2011 to June 2020, she served as a Trustee at Comic Relief, whilst there she chaired their Commercial and Technology board as well as advising on marketing and communications campaign for Sport Relief and Red Nose Day as well as most recently The Big Night In, raising funds for charities in the wake of COVID-19.

Tristia has held a number of senior management and executive positions in The Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk Group, having first joined CPW in 2000.

Tristia is married with two teenage sons and splits her time between TalkTalk’s HQ in the North West, and London.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the board at Crisis, and to have the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives. I share the firm belief that everyone should have a safe and settled place to call home. During the pandemic we’ve seen that ending homelessness is not only possible, but something we can make a reality by working together. I look forward to joining the fantastic team and getting started on this vital work at such an important time.”

Terrie has been a trustee since July 2015.

She is Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, the membership body for housing professionals in the UK.

Prior to this she was Director of Housing in the Department for Communities and Local Government which included policy responsibility for homelessness policies and programmes. She had worked in the civil service covering various housing policies and programmes since 2003.

Terrie was given a CBE in 2013 for services to homeless people.

I am pleased to be able to contribute to the work of Crisis which is more important now than ever given increasing homelessness in this country. Homelessness is a problem which can be solved and for me Crisis has a unique contribution to make – both through its holistic support for people who are homeless and in its wider evidence based policy work.

Martin has been a trustee since May 2016.

He has over 40 years' experience in the housing and social care sector and now runs his own housing and social care consultancy.

Most recently he was Director of Housing & Community Care in the London Borough of Brent. He also served on the Executive Committee of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care, and chaired its Housing Committee.

He was previously Chair of the homelessness charity LIFT until its merger with Crisis in April 2016. He is currently Chair of Hestia, a charity which delivers supported housing and related services to a variety of client groups.

He was awarded an OBE in 2009 for services to Housing and local government.

I joined Crisis as a trustee as I consider they are uniquely placed to both effectively campaign for effective action to end homelessness and also deliver client focused and comprehensive services to enable people who are homeless to re-build their lives.

Viki works for the Cyrenians in Edinburgh as Service Manager for the Scottish Government funded PRS Pilot (private rented sector) which aims at providing pathways away from homelessness into the private rented sector. This is a partnership between Cyrenians and Crisis. She is also Service Manager for LEAP (Lothian and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme) out of hours care – providing support in the accommodation for those on the NHS clinical rehabilitation programme. Previously she was Project Manager for a cohorting centre during the pandemic providing accommodation for those in temporary accommodation showing symptoms of, or having tested positive for COVID19.

Viki has been a Trustee for St Martin-in-the fields charity since November 2020. Viki is currently studying for a Masters in Social Justice and Community Action at the University of Edinburgh and is a change lead for the All in for Change Team which is a sub-group of the Scottish Governments Homelessness Prevention Strategy Group.

Prior to becoming a Trustee in April 2019, Viki was a Crisis Member Ambassador for a one year term and has been a Christmas Ambassador for the past two years. Before this, Victoria was a Crisis Member and received support from Crisis during a period of homelessness.

I feel so privileged to be a member of the Board, knowing first-hand the impact that Crisis has had in my own life, and in the lives of so many others. I think having someone with lived experience on the Board sends out an important message about how dedicated everyone within Crisis is to ending homelessness.

Ann has been a trustee since September 2016.

She has 35 years’ experience in the public sector, primarily in social care and housing. She has recently retired from the post of Executive Director in South Lanarkshire Council. Her professional background is in human resources. She represented the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (Scotland) on the Homeless Prevention and Strategy Group, reporting to the Housing Minister.

Ann is a Trustee for Sense Scotland and is independent Chair of the national group on Health Inequalities and Homelessness in Scotland.

I have never forgotten those people I met over the years, who experienced homelessness and who shared their stories with me. As a Crisis trustee, I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute in an organisation dedicated to ending homelessness, that has influence and makes a real difference, and which has core values that I hold in the highest regard.

Julia has been a trustee since July 2017. 

In September 2017, she was appointed Director of Strategy for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA)Prior to this, she spent three years at PwC as a Senior Adviser. 

A former MP and Treasury Special Adviser in the coalition government, Julia has more than a decade of experience in developing and implementing policy across a wide range of departments and subject areas, operating at senior levels in Government and the UK Parliament. 

In addition to her role at the WMCA, Julia also chairs the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s Brexit Advisory Commission for Public Services - a group established to convene a sector-wide response to Brexit. She is also an associate of the Institute for Government. 

Crisis combines evidence based policy making, with formidable campaigning clout, at the same time as providing critical front line support to those most in need. It’s a rare combination of skills to deploy to end homelessness for good, and I feel honoured to be able to contribute my own sector experience to such an important cause.

Rob has been a Trustee since March 2020.

He is Chief Executive of the Berkeley Group, which builds new homes and neighborhoods across London, Birmingham and the South of England.

Rob is Chair of Trustees of the Berkeley Foundation, an independent charity which focusses the expertise, resources and fundraising efforts of the Berkeley Group on supporting disadvantaged young people. As Chair, he oversees the foundation's work on homelessness, unemployment, skills development and care.

Rob contributes to the public debate around housing policy, sustainable placemaking, social mobility and corporate purpose. He is a member of the Bank of England's Residential Property Forum and sits on the governing body of both Aston University and Wellington College.

Crisis combines powerful campaigning, political insight and the expertise that comes from providing life changing front line support to thousands of homeless people. They have incredible reach and vision, along with workable solutions to end homelessness and create a fairer society for all. This is a mission and purpose I want to support.

Geetha has been a trustee since July 2017.

She is the Director of Equality and Diversity at The Reader. Geetha has spent her career in finance roles in the voluntary sector and was previously Head of Engagement at Big Society Capital.

Her broader involvement in the sector has included several volunteer roles at homelessness charities. 

I’m inspired by Crisis’ ambition to end homelessness together with others, and hope to bring my sector experience and personal interest to the Board to support their vital work which has never felt more needed.

Damien has been a trustee since July 2017.

He is a board-level finance and risk professional and works with multiple organisations across sectors. In the housing association sector, he chairs the audit committee at Optivo. In the charity sector, he is Honorary Treasurer at Pro Bono Economics, the charity consultancy.

Damien was formerly on the board of MSF-UK, the humanitarian medical aid organisation, and Reprieve (human rights). Prior to 2013, he worked in the banking sector in London, where he built a strong expertise in financial services, investments and risk analysis.

Having supported Crisis for ten years, I have found it hugely gratifying to join its board to continue to fight. Homelessness is not only deeply unfair and morally unacceptable; its economic and social cost to society is also high. At all levels, fighting homelessness is a just and urgent cause.

Tamsin has been a trustee since April 2019.

Tamsin is an independent housing consultant specialising in research and policy. Between 2012 and 2014, she was a specialist policy adviser to the Welsh Government Minister with responsibility for housing while the Housing (Wales) 2014 Act was being developed which included the ground-breaking legislation on homelessness prevention. She is also on the board of the Bevan Foundation, a Wales-based think-tank whose work focuses on poverty and social justice.

What Crisis does is important to me. I want to see a more equal society where homelessness is a rare thing. Homelessness has featured as a significant theme of the research and policy work I have undertaken over the last 20 years. I am frustrated that we have not made more progress towards ending homelessness, but am hopeful that it is possible and am delighted to join the Board of Crisis at a time when their work is so clearly focused on this.

Alison is CEO of SOS Children's Villages UK, the UK branch of the world's largest independent childcare and family support organisation. Prior to joining SOS, she was CEO of the European Council on Foreign Relations and global relief organisation ShelterBox. She has held senior positions at Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth, and the Refugee Council, and has overseen relief operations for emergencies including Typhoon Haiyan and the Nepal earthquakes.

I'm inspired by Everybody In, Crisis' plan to end homelessness in Great Britain. It demonstrates that with the political will and the resources we can realise everyone's right to a safe and decent home. Having worked in roles with an international focus, I am thrilled to be contributing to change here at home as part of Crisis' Board of Trustees.

Rob has been a trustee since April 2019.

Rob started his marketing career at Unilever and has subsequently worked in a wide variety of companies including McKinsey, John Lewis, M&S and Samsung. At M&S he was closely involved in fund-raising for a wide variety of charities including Shelter, Make-a-Wish and the NSPCC.

I firmly believe homelessness can and should be eliminated within our lifetime. I am delighted to be part of a team at Crisis dedicated to making that belief a reality.