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More: About Our Staff


Trudy Soucoup, MAOL


Trudy joined Homes First as Chief Executive Officer in October 2011 and began leading the organization into its third decade of creating safe, healthy, affordable rental housing in Thurston and Mason Counties. Trudy came to Homes First from Community Youth Services, where she served as Manager of Organizational Development.

She has over 30 years of experience working in nonprofits around the world. Trudy volunteers her time with many mission-driven organizations including being a member of the Board for the Washington State Employee’s Credit Union (2017-2023), the 2023 Chair of the Board for the Nonprofit Association of Washington (2018-2024), and most recently the Board for Center for Business and Innovation for the Thurston County Economic Development Council.


A 2008 graduate of Lead Thurston County, Trudy’s passion is working with staff and leaders to grow nonprofits and plan for their future so that our community members can have better, healthier lives.

Depuy Director

Rachael Childs, M.A.

Deputy Director

Rachael joined Homes First in March of 2023 as the Deputy Director. With more than 15 years of working in the nonprofit sector, an MA in Organizational Development (2013), and a passion for working human rights, Rachael is excited to be working with an organization that creates an impact in the community.

Rachael spent over nine years working with Community Youth Services, where she saw the need for housing, and really started to develop her passion for housing rights. Rachael also spent almost two years with the Housing Authority of Thurston County. She has spent several years serving as the co-chair for the Rental Housing Work Group, through Thurston Thrives, providing education for the community. In Rachael’s spare time, she loves to travel, garden, and spend time with her friends and family.

Director of Finance

Candace Wood, CPA
Director of Finance

Candace joined Homes First in September of 2020 as a contractor to help support the financial stability and long term planning which will enhance our ability to provide more homes for our community.  Candace owns and operates a local CPA company "The Back Office Services" which provides all aspects of bookkeeping, payroll, and state/payroll tax services, such as accounts payable/receivable, and reconciliation for businesses ranging in size.  Prior to working with Homes First, Candace was an Assistant State Auditor and was the Chief Financial Officer for Community Youth Services.  In her off time, when she can find it, she loves country life, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Director of Operations

Jena Embry Loes, B.Ed
Director of People and Culture

In 2020, Jena brought her two decades of experience serving in Olympia area nonprofit organizations to her position as Director of Operations for Homes First.  In 2023, Jena became our Director of People and Culture.


Her position in low-income Senior and Disabled HUD Housing helped foster a desire to increase her role in work that supports affordable housing. She is enthusiastic about the community efforts to promote safe, decent homes that are accessible to those who need them most and providing support and leadership to the hardworking staff of Homes First.


Jena was born and raised in Olympia and, with her husband, Matt, has raised their two children, cared for aging parents, and nurtured many friendships over the years. She loves to travel, enjoys playing with their two pugs, Rocket and Violet, and spends as much time in her flower and vegetable gardens as possible. She believes the PNW is filled with beautiful scenery and community-minded people and wouldn’t live anywhere else!

Resource Developmen Director

Nate Mazzuca
Resource Development Director

Nate Mazzuca joined Homes First in January 2024 as the Resource Development Director. Nate has nearly 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector; developing programs, partnerships, and overseeing meaningful work that positively impacts individuals and communities.

Before coming to Homes First, Nate worked as Regional Director at Career Path Services for nearly nine years creating and operating multiple poverty intervention programs.  Nate is passionate about advocating for those in need and creating pathways for community members to join in that effort.
Outside of work, you will find Nate with his wife and kids, playing pickleball or golf, and doing some sort of home improvement project that he is nowhere near qualified to pull off.

Finance Coordinator

Amy Sewell, MS
Finance Coordinator

Amy joined Homes First in 2009 to help support daily office operations. Since then, she has gone from working 20 hours a week to a full-time Office Manager to her current position as Homes First's Finance Coordinator. She has seen many changes at the organization and helps ensure that the daily care of our tenants and our finances stay on track.


When she isn’t at work, Amy is a loving mother and avid gardener. Amy has a master's degree in biology and still loves studying nature. You will often see Amy on her bike commuting to work or using the FREE Intercity bus system.

Propert Manager

Ron Stewart
Director of Programs & Assets

Ron celebrated his 20th Anniversary with Homes First in 2023. With experience in construction, renovation, and rehabilitation, Ron is a stalwart team member at our organization, supporting the preservation of both our homes and the creation of new units.  Ron deeply cares about ensuring more low-income people in our community have a home they can afford with a landlord who treats them with dignity and respect.


Ron is active in a local youth football league and a member of the Legion of BOOM! #Go12s . Homes First is lucky to have had his dedication to excellence for so many years!

Tenant Servics Navigator

Jada Cerniwey
Program Services Navigator

Jada joined Homes First in April of 2024 as a lifelong resident of Thurston County, having lived in Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater. While transitioning from being a service industry professional, her goal is ultimately still the same- to go the extra mile to help people and improve their quality of life. With a background in public speaking and volunteer coordination, she is excited to contribute to the mission and grow her talents with Homes First. 

Jada loves riding her horses, cooking, baking, reading, and spending time with her 18 year old cat. She hopes to make a direct and meaningful difference in the organization and the community, bringing her dedication to learning, diversity and equity to everything she does.

Maintennce Coordinator

Keith Garlinghouse
Property Manager

A resident of Shelton, Keith comes to us with a broad background and skills in property maintenance work, including over 10 years' experience working with local property companies.


Keith enjoys fishing, the Dallas Cowboys, and sports in general. He also enjoys spending time with his family and 2 kids on the weekends.

Exec Assistant

Jenna Brannon
Executive Administrative Assistant

Jenna joined the Homes First team in May of 2023, as the Executive Administrative Assistant. Backed by a wide range of experience in supporting efficient and productive office environments and a strong desire to inspire positive change in the local community, Jenna is committed to providing integral support to the office with organization, administration, and the endless minutia of daily paperwork!


Jenna is excited to offer her support as an administrator for the Homes First organization. Away from the desk, Jenna is an art enthusiast who also enjoys caring for her dogs, cats, and plants, and spending time with her partner, friends, and family.

Mainenanc Technician II

Carlos Calderon
Maintenance Technician I

He estado casado con mi esposa María Calderón durante 43 años y tengo dos hijas y dos nietos. Soy de San Salvador y vivo en los Estados Unidos desde hace 42 años.

Tengo 30 años de experiencia en mantenimiento de edificios y disfruto lo que hago.


My name is Carlos Calderon

I have been married to my wife Maria Calderon for 43 years and have two daughters and two grandsons. I am from San Salvador and I have lived in the US for 42 years.

I have 30 years of experience in building maintenance and I enjoy what I do.

Maintenance Technician I (2)

Cedar Blue
Maintenance Technician I

Cedar Blue joined our maintenance team in January of 2023. Cedar was born and raised in Olympia. He comes to Homes First with a background of landscape construction and car mechanics. He states that his “eyes are full of wonder, [he] enjoys contemplating life and taking in its beauty through star-gazing, forest walks, and looking at the ocean's horizon.”


Cedar truly cares about his community and has always dreamed of helping others. He is looking forward to being a part of Homes First's mission to provide services to those in need.

Maintenane Technican I (3)

Tameka Brown
Maintenance Technician I

Tameka Brown joined Homes First in June of 2023 with a versatile background in caring for people and residences alike. She grew up helping her dad with all aspects of remodeling homes and worked as a dietary aid at a community retirement home. She graduated from Tumwater High School with the goal and passion to pursue internet web design and social marketing. She looks forward to furthering her independent studies and college education. Recently she graduated from the ANEW pre-apprentice program, which allowed her to sharpen her skills in construction and earn certifications in several areas of the trades.

Tameka is a mother of two boys. She loves music and helping others be creative. She believes in the message and motivations that Homes First strives to share. She is very excited to be a part of helping her community bring housing, comfort, and safety to those struggling in the tough housing market. She hopes to bring awareness and shared opportunities for growth.

Maintenence Tech 1 #2

Felly Giorgianni, Jr.
Maintenance Coordinator

Felly began working with us in 2013 as a contractor and this year moved from Maintenance Technician II into the role of Maintenance Coordinator.  In addition to being a part of our staff, he is also a former tenant, a leader in his faith community, and in the Oxford House International program.


He has many years of maintenance and remodeling skills learned alongside his father, who is a professional builder. In his spare time, Felly collects knives and is a rabid Subaru fanatic, #SubieFlowBro. We are happy to have Felly on our team.

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