Staff Directory

Administration
Youth Center
Housing
Mental Health & Wellness
Futures Education & Employment
Residential Programs & Safe Harbor

Administration

Jordon Johnson, Executive Director
(218) 722-7431 ext. 110
jordon.johnson@life-house.org
Jordon Johnson, PhD, is a researcher, educator and community health leader committed to creating, implementing, and sustaining innovate strategies and practices to advance the health and wellness of individuals, families and communities. His work is embedded in establishing relationships and collaborative partnerships that are result oriented, which is critical to enhancing the vision and mission of organizations, programs and projects. Jordon considers himself a lead learner and effectively creates an environment to elevate human capital through professional and personal enhancement. He was born and raised in Duluth, MN and thrilled to be back in his hometown after spending over 15 years in New Mexico. Jordon lives with his partner and enjoys running, reading, and venturing out for hikes in the Northland. 

Eric Goetz, Operations Director
(218) 722-7431 ext. 118
eric.goetz@life-house.org
Eric earned a B.A. in Social Work from The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota. He joined Life House in 2012 as the Employment Case Manager. Shortly thereafter Eric transitioned over to the Housing Program as a Transitional Housing Case Manager/Intake Specialist. In 2014, Eric was promoted to Housing Program Manager where he was responsible for the oversight of all the Life House Supportive Housing Programs as well as administering homeless and prevention crisis funding.

Ryan Irlbeck, Finance Director
(218) 722-7431 ext. 115
ryan.irlbeck@life-house.org
Ryan earned his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Ryan spent 10 years with Minneapolis-based Regis Corporation, most recently as Vice President of Operations. He is a former Certified Public Accountant and has served as the Finance Director for Animal Allies Humane Society and Community Action Duluth.

Erich Lutz, Program Director
(218) 722-7431 ext. 114
erich.lutz@life-house.org
Erich has 20 years’ experience working with high-risk homeless and street youth. Erich has overseen the successful implementation of several major initiatives at Life House including two Department of Human Services licensed housing programs (Sol House and The Loft), a transitional employment program (The Legitimate Hustle), and the expansion of the Life House Housing Program from 15 to 50 beds. Erich has been honored with the Youth Intervention Program Association 2015 Friends of Youth Leadership Award and the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless 2018 Bruce Vento Distinguished Service Award.

Mary Cowen, Program Director
(218) 722-7431 ext. 125
mary.cowen@life-house.org
Mary Cowen oversees Sol House and The Loft Teen Shelter, serving teens who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking and homelessness. Mary has a BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She has over 10 years of experience working with youth in out of school time programs, juvenile justice settings, and leading girls groups focused on leadership development, economic literacy, and sexual health education. In her time outside of work, she enjoys gardening, caring for a small heard of rambunctious goats and engaging in organizing focused on anti-racism and reproductive healthcare access.

Amber Sadowski, Office Manager/Book Keeper
(218) 722-7431 ext. 111
amber.sadowski@life-house.org

Teri Moody, Facilities Technician
(218) 722-7431 ext. 131
teri.moody@life-house.org

Youth Center

Gabe Mayfield, Youth Center Program Manager
(218) 722-7431 ext. 126
gabe.mayfield@life-house.org
Gabe graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Superior in 2001 and has extensive community involvement—from the Lyric Opera of the North to the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. He has been a Crew Leader and Program Manager for Duluth Stream Corps, but is passionate about basketball and the arts. He has shared those passions here at Life House, taking youth to the YMCA for basketball or teaching weekly song writing classes as the Activities Coordinator before becoming the Youth Center Manager.

Jordan Matteson, Youth Advocate/Resource Coordinator
(218) 722-7431 ext. 144
jordan.matteson@life-house.org
Jordan comes to Life House from the University of Minnesota-Duluth where she graduated with her Bachelors of Social Work and Bachelors of Applied Science in Psychology. She is a dynamic resource coordinator in helping youth obtain vital documents for employment and housing. Jordan coordinates with other local organizations trips to the Vineyard food shelf as well as assisting youth with obtaining dental services.

Miranda Pacheco, Youth Advocate Outreach/Peer Recovery Specialist
(218) 722-7431 ext. 117
miranda.pacheco@life-house.org
Miranda is an enrolled member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. She came to Life House as a Peer Recovery Support Specialist in mental health and addiction as well as does Youth Outreach. She currently attends Fond du Lac college where she is working towards LADC licensure and Social Work. She also currently works on building wealth within the BIPOC community with the WEES group. She had previous experience working within the homeless population and survivors of domestic abuse.

Marit Williams, Youth Advocate/Activities Coordinator
(218) 722-7431 ext. 117
Marit joined our team from the Lincoln Park Boys and Girls Club. She spent three years there after graduating from UW Superior with a Sociology degree. Marit is excited to put her knowledge and experience to use with our youth. She specializes in building strong healthy relationships with youth through activities in the arts, social emotional learning, and skill building.

Housing

Kyle Naalsund, Housing Program Manager
(218) 722-7431 ext. 113
kyle.naalsund@life-house.org
Kyle graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Superior in 1998 with a BS in Secondary Education, Mathematics. He has more than 12 years’ experience working with youth ages 13 – 21, specializing in at-risk and homeless youth.

Travis Dombrovski, Housing Case Manager
(218) 722-7431
travis.dombrovski@life-house.org  
Travis graduated from UW Stout in 1997 with a BS degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. He has worked with youth in a number of capacities. Since moving to Duluth in 2001, he’s worked in housing and case management that specialize in helping mentally ill and the less fortunate. Prior to his work at the Life House, he worked as an advocate in the Duluth Public Schools. Travis enjoys the outdoors and giving youth opportunities for new experiences.

Tiffany Gunderson, Housing Case Manager
(218) 722-7431 ext. 142
tiffany.gunderson@life-house.org
Tiffany has been working in the mental health field for 20 years with over a decade of experience working with the homeless population. She has assisted individuals with obtaining chemical dependency treatment, mental health services, building peoples independent living skills, and is a SOAR worker for Social Security. She also was active in conducting Street Outreach. Over the years, Tiffany has built exceptional relationships with property managers and landlords along with reaching out to other agencies to learn about their programs. Tiffany works with youth to understand the housing programs, which they are eligible for and allowing them the choice to apply for a program.  

Yas Antcliff, Housing Case Manager – Intake Specialist
(218) 722-7431 ext. 142
yas.antcliff@life-house.org
Yas graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2015 with a B.A. in American Indian Studies and Philosophy. She is currently working towards a Master of Education in Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. She first joined Life House as a Youth Advocate in the Loft Shelter. Yas is enthusiastic about helping youth in our community accomplish their goals.

Mental Health & Wellness

Julie Flint, MSW, LICSW, Mental Health Professional
(218) 722-7431 ext. 129
julie.flint@life-house.org
Julie has 18 years of experience providing direct services to children and families, and 8 years of experience providing trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, in conjunction with other evidenced-based therapeutic interventions which are appropriate for helping children and families to understand and address their individual needs and goals for mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellness. Julie is a Potawatomie descendent from lower Michigan, and she wrote her masters thesis for UMD on Cross-Cultural Social Work. Julie is committed to a client focused approach, which begins with developing a trusting and collaborative therapeutic relationship. Julie has been a Mental Health Therapist at Life House since June of 2014, where she serves youth, ages 14-25 years-old, who experience the highest needs and barriers in our community; Julie accompanies them as a tireless advocate as they pursue their individual hopes and dreams.

Sheri Johnson, MSW, LICSW, Program Manager/ Mobile Mental Health
(218) 722-7431 ext. 124
sheri.johnson@life-house.org
Sheri earned a B.S. degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 1995, and a Master’s degree in Social Work from The College of St. Scholastica in 2016. She has over 10 years of experience working with persons who live with symptoms of mental illness, and believes all people have the potential and should have the opportunity to create personally fulfilling lives. She is also passionate about LGB and Transgender advocacy. Sheri was an intern and volunteer at Life House during graduate school and is very excited to join this dedicated community in the role of Mobile Mental Health Advocate.

Allie McDevitt, LADC, Wellness Case Manager
(218) 722-7431 ext. 128
allie.mcdevitt@life-house.org 
Allie graduated from Fond Du Lac community college and is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Being in recovery and an active member of Sober Squad, she is extremely passionate about working with at-risk youth especially individuals struggling with substance use. She is exceptional at giving them a sense of hope and is a positive supportive adult in their lives. Allie has been with Life House for 6 years and believes every youth who walks through our doors has a purpose, they may not know that yet. The youth have been a huge motivation and inspiration for her own self-growth.

Renita Syas, Wellness Case Manager/Peer Recovery Specialist
(218) 722-7431 ext. 120
renita.syas@life-house.org
Renita has years of experience working with homeless adults as well as homeless and at-risk youth in Duluth, MN. Her warmth, humor, and up-front honesty bring a family-style feel to her work at Life House. She has been a guest speaker at Duluth Police Department’s annual Crisis Intervention Training, offering her lived experiences to strengthen our community. She is connected with many community resources including St. Louis County Specialty Courts. Additionally, Renita was selected as the regional expert with lived experience to represent Northeast Minnesota at the statewide Regional Expert Network.

Will Richardson, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Specialist
(218) 722-7431 ext. 119
will.richardson@life-house.org
Will graduated from The College of Scholastica in 2019 with a B.A. in Peace & Justice Studies. Throughout his time in college, he created a large track record of social justice/diversity initiatives. From leading multiple social justice organizations, mentoring youth from underrepresented identities to becoming the chair of a newly created Diversity & Inclusion committee. He also served as Vice President of the St. Scholastic Student Body Senate. He serves as the Youth Center Activities Coordinator, where he leads many activities that include bringing his own passion for music in a guitar class for youth. Will loves the privilege of working for Life House, cherishing every moment spent with the youth.

Futures Education & Employment

Luke Morcomb, MSW, Futures Program Manager
(218) 722-7431 ext. 127
luke.morcomb@life-house.org
Morcomb recently completed his MSW at University of Minnesota, Duluth and has many years’ experience working with youth. Most recently he was a Street Outreach Worker at Lutheran Social Service but has also served Mentor Duluth through TrueNorth AmeriCorps and has a long volunteer history. As the Employment Case Manager, he will work to assist youth to find and maintain work through job coaching, skills training, and placement services.

Maya French, Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist
(218) 722-7431 ext. 143
maya.french@life-house.org 
Maya graduated from Western Washington University in 2016 with a BS in psychology. Her program’s commitment to cross-cultural awareness and reducing health disparities set the stage for her future career interests. At Life House, Maya oversees the transitional employment program and has the privilege of helping youth refine their employment skills in a supportive environment. She immensely enjoys working with Life House youth and is regularly inspired by their resilience in the face of adversity.

Jason Kenison, Education Case Manager
(218) 722-7431 ext. 112
jason.kenison@life-house.org
Jason earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education in English and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in 2012.  His past work includes teaching middle and high school grades in central and northern Wisconsin.  Most recently, he was a live-in volunteer at the Dorothy Day House for three years serving adults facing homelessness. Jason is a fierce advocate for social justice and housing issues and has been in leadership for Northland Prism, a local LGBTQ+ group the last two years, as well as participated in Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), the Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Coalition, and Family Freedom Center.

Cheyenne Alisankus, Life Hacks Coordinator
(218) 722-7431 
cheyenne.alisankus@life-house.org
Cheyenne Alisankus graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from UW-Whitewater in 2013. She was hired on at Life House in the Sol House program in August of 2015, and stayed on as “on call” while she worked at Woodland Hills full time. Cheyenne was hired on in the Youth Center in March of 2017 as the Resource Coordinator, and was eventually promoted to the Case Manager for The Loft in June of 2019. Most recently, Cheyenne accepted the position of Life Hacks Coordinator within the Futures Program. Cheyenne has been working with youth for the last 10 years in various capacities. As Life Hacks Coordinator she works with the all Life House programs to coordinate and provide meaningful programming and classes to Life House youth.

Residential Programs and Safe Harbor

Sol House 

Ericka Robinson, Sol House Manager
(218) 722-7431 ext. 141
ericka.robinson@life-house.org
Ericka graduated from University of Wisconsin-Superior in 2015, earning a BS in Social Work. She joined Life House in 2014 as an intern in the Youth Center, working alongside our Youth Center staff to put her classwork into practice. She has a long history of volunteer and service commitments in the Twin Ports community and a deep passion for working with homeless and street youth.

Kristi Burton, Sol House On-Site Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 ext. 141
kristi.burton@life-house.org

Rebecca Lester, Sol House On-Site Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 ext. 141
rebecca.lester@life-house.org
Rebecca (Becca) graduated from University of Minnesota, Duluth with a double major in Women’s Studies and American Indian Studies in 2012. She has been a long-time advocate for social justice and women’s issues, volunteering for a variety of organizations in the Twin Ports (including PAVSA, Seeds of Success, Girl Power!, and others).

Tarra Lind, Sol House On-Site Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 ext. 141
tarra.lind@life-house.org
Tarra is a Native American lesbian who is a descendant of the Fond Du Lac Band of Ojibwe. She brings her own healing from family domestic violence, sexual violence, youth homelessness, and the foster care system experience. She most recently was a Resident Assistant for two years for San Marco, advocating on behalf of the men and women who were chronically alcoholic and residing there, assuring they were safe and secure. This last year Tarra became a Program Assistant through Duluth Regional Care Center (DRCC) working with Developmentally Disabled elderly adults.

Dayle Mills, Sol House On-Site Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 ext. 141
dayle.mills@life-house.org

Anna Lieffring, On-Site Youth Advocate 
(218) 722-7431 ext. 141
anna.lieffring@life-house.org

Natalie Barber, Sol House On-Site Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 ext. 141
natalie.barber@life-house.org

Northern Lights

Chris LeBlanc, After-care Advocate
(218) 722-7431
chris.leblanc@life-house.org
Raised in Duluth, Chris received his undergraduate at the College of Saint Scholastica in 2011. During his final semester, Chris was connected with an internship at Life House. Immediately after graduation in the spring, Chris took on a full time role working in the youth center and taking on the street outreach program. Over several years Chris transferred into the Futures Program facilitating case management with a focus on employment. In 2015 Chris stepped down from his role with Life House to return to previous endeavors in Alaska and work the salmon seasons for three years. In 2018 he came back to Life House again to help with the opening of the newly completed shelter, The Loft. Near the beginning of 2020, Chris transferred into his current position as the Safe Harbor Aftercare Case Manager. 

The Loft – Emergency Shelter

Tasha Jokela, The Loft Manager
(218) 722-7431 ext. 155
tasha.jokela@life-house.org
Tasha joined the team in 2017 as an intern in the Youth Center where she found passion for working with young adults. In December of 2017 she transitioned into her role as The Loft Supervisor. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 2017, earning a B.S. in Social Worker and a minor in psychology. Her experience ranges from working at Duluth Regional Care Center (DRCC) as a Program Director, working with adults who have developmental disabilities to working with adults at Duluth Bethel. As The Loft emergency shelter supervisor she works with youth who have experienced homelessness, commercial sexual exploitation and/or trafficking.

Evan Hawbaker, The Loft Case Manager
(218) 722-7431 ext. 153
evan.hawbaker@life-house.org

Zaki Ahmed, The Loft Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 ext. 153
zaki.ahmed@life-house.org

Serena Krause, The Loft Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 ext. 153
serena.krause@life-house.org

Kara Schneider, The Loft Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 ext. 153
kara.schneider@life-house.org

Emma McLarnan, The Loft Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 ext. 153
emma.mclarnan@life-house.org

Nicole Wegner, The Loft Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 ext. 153
nicole.wegner@life-house.org

Frank Brezany, The Loft Youth Advocate
(218) 722-7431 ext. 153
frank.brezany@life-house.org