Our team is fueled by a passion for crafting solutions that move our community forward. 



Linda Chu, NBBJ Design
Robin Koskey, City of Seattle
Pearl Leung, Amazon
Markham McIntyre, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
William Shadbolt, Broad Reach Management
Samantha Tripoli, Zillow
Tali Reiner, Security Properties Residential 
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Imani Jerome

Program Coordinator

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Imani Jerome, Program Coordinator


Imani has only lived in the Seattle area for only a short period of time but has already felt the strong levels of community support. She has an educational background in Political Science and Philosophy and currently in the final months of completing her master’s in public policy.


Throughout her education, Imani has spent her time researching the issues of urbanization and public housing. She has had the unique opportunity as a student to work in collaboration with housing officials in Orange County to map and evaluate the effectiveness of their services. Imani is excited for the opportunity to apply these skills to help with the further facilitation of Housing Connector services.


In her free time Imani loves visiting her local YMCA camp back at home in California, catching up with family and friends and hiking.

Shkëlqim Kelmendi, Executive Director


Shkëlqim immigrated from Kosove to the United States as a refugee and his experiences growing up in a society torn by war have fueled his professional and personal engagements. Prior to joining Housing Connector, Shkelqim worked with the Seattle Housing Authority and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.


Currently, he serves on the Board of the Seattle Metro Chamber and is a member of the Leadership Tomorrow Class of 2018. Before moving to Seattle, he served on the City of Dallas Economic Development Commission and is the founder of the Young Albanian Professionals. 

Shkëlqim is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and is a member of the Harvard Business School Young American Leaders Program. He currently lives in Seattle with his wife, son, and their golden doodle, Sarah.

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Shelby Lyonais

Community Partnerships Manager

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Shelby Lyonais, Community Partnerships Manager


Shelby was born and raised in South King County and loves calling the Pacific Northwest her home. Shelby received her bachelor’s degree at Washington State University (go cougs!), and her master’s from Seattle University, both in Criminal Justice. Throughout her education she did extensive work on the intersections of the criminal justice system, homelessness, racism, domestic violence, and poverty. Her education mixed with early lived experiences sparked a deep passion for social services and supporting those with the least access to needed resources for safety & stability.


Prior to joining the team at Housing Connector, Shelby spent five and a half years at LifeWire, Washington State’s largest domestic violence agency, doing direct service housing advocacy, landlord engagement, program development, contract management, and nationwide technical assistance. In her current role, Shelby works to increase community partner engagement and satisfaction, create new streams of connection for folks experiencing homelessness, and supports the broader team with long-term expansion strategies. She is excited to bring her skills and experiences into this new role, and to continue supporting direct service agencies across the community.


Outside of work, Shelby’s favorite things to do are travel, hike, camp, explore, go to concerts, and soak up every minute of Seattle sunshine she can get with her partner & dog.

Doug Minkler

Product Manager

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Doug Minkler, Product Manager


Doug comes to the Housing Connector team with a background in local and regional economic development. Prior to joining Housing Connector, Doug oversaw Greater Seattle Partner’s research program, designing and developing data products to help clients locate or expand their business in the greater Seattle region. As the newest addition to Housing Connector, Doug looks forward to leveraging his background in data product development and collaborating through partnerships to help build platforms that will allow households to connect to more affordable and stable housing opportunities. 

In his spare time, Doug enjoys running, live music, and Gonzaga Basketball.

Yulia Savelyeva

Client Relationship Manager

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Yulia Savelyeva, Client Relationship Manager


Yulia moved to the Seattle area from Russia over twenty years ago and considers herself a proud Washingtonian. She joined Housing Connector because it was a true calling and a chance to give back to the community in the same way that her family was supported during a tough transition in a new country.

Yulia holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing from Western Governor’s University and brings over ten years of experience in Corporate Housing and Sales. She is in constant gratitude for the opportunity to apply her skills and leverage her network to grow Housing Connector’s property partner relationships, which means more opened doors to individuals and families in need.

Some of Yulia’s passions are spending time outdoors with her twin sister, attending art shows and enjoying Seattle’s eclectic music scene. She enjoys being the go-to person among friends and family for things to do in Seattle, as she is always exploring and seeking out new experiences our city has to offer.

Juanita Unger

Program Manager

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Juanita Unger, Property Partner Program Manager


Juanita has lived and traveled extensively – from Spain to Chicago, Philadelphia to Ecuador. Hailing originally from Canada, Juanita considers herself a world citizen and an adopted Seattleite.  


With an early career in the performing arts and education, and a degree in Anthropology, she has spent the last 10 years working to bridge the gaps between communities and use the ensuing collaboration to simultaneously uplift partners and provide service to the most vulnerable.

Juanita worked extensively with Compass Housing Alliance’s emergency services department in various capacities including case management, volunteer coordination, and as a community liaison. Most recently, she collaborated with El Centro de la Raza and Bank of America to build a bilingual workforce development training program from the ground up. She is excited to use her diverse skillset and empathy-first worldview to help Housing Connector bring the private and public sector together and build a more accessible, equitable, and unified Seattle. 

In her spare time, Juanita likes to explore Seattle’s arts scene and sits on the Board of Uptown Arts and Culture Coalition as co-chair of the Racial Equity and Social Justice Committee.  She also enjoys singing Jazz, dancing, getting into the wilds with her partner and dog, and eating delicious food with her loved ones.