Ross named new CEO of Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness

She previously served with the Northeast Florida Continuum of Care, Changing Homelessness

Katie Ross. Photo from the website of American Children’s Campaign

As of March 18, 2024, the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness had a new CEO, the organization announced: Katie Ross.

A native Floridian, “Ross comes to the role from the Northeast Florida Continuum of Care,” Changing Homelessness,” where she helped administer $8 million in federal housing funding through the CARES Act and later acted as chief of staff for the CEO, a Partnership news release points out.

“After a nationwide search, our board of directors is thrilled to introduce a leader of Katie’s caliber into our community to guide Suncoast Partnership,” said board Chair Shawny Robey in the release. “Our agency looks forward to working under Katie’s direction to advocate for ongoing improvements in our crisis response system as well as coordinating the local effort and continuing to build capacity within our outstanding service provider community.”

Ross is the daughter and granddaughter of public-school teachers, the release adds. Having begun her career as an intern working with Betty Castor’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2004, the release adds, she went on to serve as then-U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s Northeast Florida regional director for six years.

She later was named chief of staff at Florida State College in Jacksonville. Ross also managed Judge Maureen Horkan’s successful campaign for the Group 18 seat on the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court, the release notes.

Further, the release says, she has served as a consultant on “numerous projects involving community development, homelessness, and media production,” the release says.

She is a graduate of the University of South Florida, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Master of Public Administration degree.

The Suncoast Partnership “is a nonprofit that works to prevent and end homelessness throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties through leadership and collaboration with community partners,” the release explains.

Kevin Stiff, who retired in 2017 as a captain of the Sarasota Police Department, served as interim CEO of the Partnership.

Prior to working for the organization, he had been one of the leaders of the Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Teams been. After he retired from the department, he became the City of Sarasota’s coordinator of response to homelessness.

In February 2023, previous Partnership CEO Chris Johnson and the nonprofit “parted ways,” as then board Chair Pam Fields wrote in a Feb. 23, 2023 letter to the organization’s “Valued Partners.” At that time, Tara Booker, who had held several staff positions with the Partnership — including chief operating officer — was named interim CEO.

Johnson had served as the Partnership CEO since September 2019. In May 2023, he was named vice president of community impact for the United Way of South Sarasota County.