Spring 2022 Barbara Boxer Fellow
Amy Turk, LCSW, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC). Amy has held leadership positions in the field of social work and homeless services since 2001. Amy began her tenure at DWC in 2013 as the Chief Program Officer, where she administered all of DWC’s programs and social enterprise. In 2018, Amy served as DWC’s Chief Innovation Officer, providing leadership in the development and implementation of new organizational projects and fostering vital relationships with community partners. Appointed as CEO in early 2020, Amy has grown revenue by 30%, created a new three-year strategic plan, and is deepening DWC’s focus on social justice. In the 12 years prior to joining DWC, Amy progressively took on more responsibilities to assist women experiencing homelessness from case management to serving for seven years as Director of Daybreak, a project of The People Concern.
Amy has held numerous local, statewide, and national leadership positions in efforts to end homelessness, including as a John A. Hartford Foundation Practice Change Leader award recipient for her efforts to improve healthcare for older adults experiencing homelessness, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 100 Million Healthier Lives Campaign Systems Leader, National Trauma Recovery Center Association Advisory Board Member, founding member of 1 in 4, a national social change movement to end homelessness among women, founding co-lead of the Los Angeles Domestic Violence Homeless Services Coalition, Los Angeles County Coordinated Entry System Councilmember, and the previous Board Chair for Los Angeles Central Providers Collaborative. As a volunteer, Amy served for six years as a certified sexual assault and domestic violence hotline counselor and trainer with Peace Over Violence in Los Angeles and is currently a volunteer with The People Concern. Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Pepperdine University and a master’s in social work from California State University, Los Angeles.
Discussion: Solutions to Homelessness through a Racial and Gender Equity Lens
A majority of Angelenos believe we can solve homelessness but they are also frustrated by the slow pace of change and a perceived lack of leadership around addressing homelessness. With a particular gender and racial equity lens, this course brought to light the complexities and root causes of homelessness, programs that work, and an examination of policy that can lead to sustained solutions. Through light reading, group discussion, guest speakers, and field-based tours, students learned from and about the people, programs, and policies that end homelessness.
Fall 2022 Semester Recap
Teya Hisel, a junior majoring in Global Studies and Philosophy, Politics and Law, said this about her experience in Amy’s discussion group:
“I had a great experience talking to all the Fellows, including the Fellow I took a course with, Amy Turk. It was great getting to know them and the work that they do. There’s a lot of opportunities for students to get involved with Fellows, through different events that are super awesome and getting to hear about their careers, life experience, and advice for students going into this field. In Amy Turk’s class, it was about the intersections with race and gender in houselessness in Los Angeles, so it gave me strategies on how to deepen the intersectionality within my own work in housing policy. I do a lot of work with different student organizations and out in the community. It gave me tools to make sure the work I do is centered around people with lived experience, people who come from intersectional backgrounds, and strengthen the work I do. My favorite part of being in Amy Turk’s class was learning from Amy Turk herself as CEO of Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) and learning more about the work they do at DWC. It was interesting to go see the center, how the work gets done, and learning about Amy’s career experience. The work she does helped inform what I want to do with my career.”
See what Spring 2022 Barbara Boxer Fellow Amy Turk said about her experience at USC’s Center for the Political Future in this video highlight.