Meeting of the Minds Speaker
First Step Communities
Mr. Watters has been actively involved in efforts to create a model transitional community with a medical clinic and triage center, as well as, other appropriate training and services since 2009.
He served as a volunteer, board member and later, executive director, of Safe Ground Sacramento (a Section 501(c)(3) exempt organization) for several years and then founded First Step Communities, bringing together diverse advisory and executive boards to work closely with public and elected, city and county officials.
Watters worked as a Program Director, Technical Director and various Administrative Director positions in telecommunications for many years. Mr. Watters also served as Vice President and General Manager of a Swiss subsidiary start-up for seven years. In 2009 he decided to make a career change and entered the nonprofit sector and teaching cultural anthropology for Los Rios Community College District since 2012.
Mr. Watters believes that the First Step Community project represents a replicable and cost effective solution to the growing number of unsheltered homeless living on Sacramento County streets and along its American River Parkway. He believes the First Step Community project represents an urgent need which will close the gap between the number of those in the unsheltered homeless community and the number of affordable housing units that can be built quickly. The First Step Community solution is designed to operate with low or no barrier intake similar to the Housing First philosophy but as a crisis response solution rather than permanent housing. It is flexible in design to accommodate different groups of targeted homeless populations.
As Executive Director, Mr. Watters has the overall strategic and operational responsibility for staff, programs, expansion and execution of the Organization’s mission. Mr. Watters will assure that the organization has a long-range strategy which achieves its mission, and towards which it makes consistent and timely progress; maintain official records and documents, and ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations; see that the board is kept fully informed on the condition of the organization and all important factors influencing it; establish sound working relationships with community groups and organizations; represent the programs and point of view of the organization to agencies, organizations, and the general public; be responsible for the recruitment, employment, and release of all personnel; be responsible for developing and maintaining sound financial practices; ensure that adequate funds are
available to permit the organization to carry out its work.