Crisis appoints Matt Downie as new chief executive
Matt Downie is to take up the role of chief executive at Crisis from next year.
A panel of Crisis trustees, led by the chair of trustees, Tristia Harrison, has appointed Mr Downie following an open and extensive recruitment process, involving Crisis’ clients.
Matt Downie joined Crisis in 2014 as director of policy and external affairs and has overseen a number of landmark policy successes, including the Homelessness Reduction Act (2017), and championed the development and sharing of best practice and the use of evidence in services delivery, both inside Crisis and across the sector.
In 2019, Mr Downie was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours, for services to tackling homelessness. Prior to this, he worked at Action for Children, The National Autistic Society, and Shelter.
Speaking about the appointment, Tristia Harrison said: “I am delighted to welcome Matt to the role of chief executive at Crisis. The recruitment process was highly competitive, involving extremely talented and experienced individuals from a range of organisations.
“Matt’s deep commitment to, and vision for, Crisis and for ending homelessness shone throughout the process and I am very much looking forward to working with him to achieve Crisis’ mission.
“I’d also like to take this opportunity to give huge thanks, personally and on behalf of the board of Trustees, to Jon Sparkes, our current Chief Executive for his incredible work over the last seven years. His leadership has seen Crisis take enormous strides forward in supporting our clients, and in bringing about the policy and practice changes we know are needed to end homelessness for good.”
On accepting the role, Matt Downie added: “I am truly honoured to become the next chief executive of Crisis. This is an incredible organisation, whose staff, volunteers and supporters have a clear and unwavering determination that homelessness can and must be ended. It will be an absolute privilege to lead the team, and to make sure that people facing homelessness are listened to by those in power and offered the best possible services.
“It is completely unacceptable that homelessness exists in modern Britain. At the heart of every story of homelessness is a human story of lost potential. With the right help, there is nobody whose homelessness cannot be ended, and with the right policy changes, we can see a future where homelessness is a thing of the past. I can’t wait to get started.”
Crisis’ current chief executive, Jon Sparkes, will remain in post until 31 December 2021, after which he will begin his new role as chief executive of UNICEF UK.