Irit Umani, the Executive Director of Trinity Center, began work in January of 2010. Ms. Umani comes to us from Berkeley, California, and she is originally from Israel. For nearly 20 years, Irit has lead organizations working with survivors of domestic violence. She has many years of professional experience serving people with needs for assistance, both as Executive Director and as Program Director. Irit says her work is based on and stems from a spiritual commitment for service. In her spare time, she keeps a practice of silent meditation and is deeply fed by being in nature, preferably with friends.
Christian Rodriguez, BSW
Christian majored in Social Work and completed his final field placement at Trinity Center before graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. Before coming on staff he worked for a campus ministry serving college students in the Central Texas area. Christian’s desire to serve and show compassion, combined with communication and organizational skills, brought him to the center as our Operations Coordinator, running the kitchen and daily operations for Trinity. In his spare time Christian enjoys listening to good music, watching movies and spending time with the people he loves.
Valerie Leal, LMSW
Case Management Supervisor
Valerie is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), who provides Clinical Case Management services to neighbors. She is a native Austinite and graduate of the University of Texas Arlington with a Master’s Degree in Social Work, focused on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. With more than five years of experience in mental health, crisis intervention, counseling, case management, outreach and engagement, non-profit development and homeless advocacy, Valerie is currently pursuing her Clinical License (LCSW). Her interest in working with people experiencing homelessness and poverty developed from her volunteer efforts in high school. Prior to her career in Social Work, Valerie worked in several animal hospitals as a Veterinary Technician. When not working, Valerie enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs, cooking, traveling, and volunteering in her community.
James was born in The Bronx as the son of Irish immigrants. His family moved to Canada when he was eight and he lived there for 25 years. After returning to the USA when he was in his 30s, he moved around to different parts of the States, but the first time he visited Austin, he fell in love with the city. A one-time “neighbor” of Trinity Center, he found a “home” here even before being employed as the Kitchen Assistant. Combining his background in Customer Service through various jobs over the years with his love for people has brought joy and purpose to James’ life. “I feel strongly that everyone has an interesting and uniquely human story that is worth listening to and learning from.” His interests include art, music including the blues and classic rock, and he is an avid reader. He aspires to be a podcaster in order to provide a voice for the homeless, who are a part of this community of Austin.
Emily Britz, LMSW
Clinical Social Worker
Emily has her Master’s degree in Social work and provides clinical case management to neighbors. She received her degree from the University of St. Thomas/St. Catherine University joint program for clinical social work in St. Paul, Minnesota. Emily is originally from Minnesota and has seven years of experience working with populations experiencing mental health, substance abuse and homelessness. In her spare time she enjoys facetiming with her friends and family back home and being outside and going for hikes.
AmeriCorps/Case Management Aide
John is our AmeriCorps member for 2020 - 2021, working at the center as a Case Management Aide. He graduated from Sonoma State University in northern California as a double major in Political Science and Geography. John’s interest in working with people experiencing homelessness began in college where he regularly volunteered with different agencies across Sonoma County and spent one of his spring breaks on an Alternative Break service trip to Portland Oregon. His senior thesis examined the sleeping patterns and group dynamics of people experiencing homelessness in Santa Rosa and Berkeley, California. In his free time John enjoys playing the bass, watching movies, and listening to punk music.
Eunice Garcia, BSW
Volunteer & Communications Coordinator
Eunice received her Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Texas State University in 2019 and completed her final field placement at Trinity Center, where she provided case management to our neighbors. After graduation, Eunice worked as a rehabilitation specialist for Integral Care, where she provided case management and connections to psychiatric prescribers to clients with severe mental illnesses. Born in Mexico, and raised in Austin, Eunice is able to communicate with our English and Spanish-speaking neighbors. Outside of Trinity Center, Eunice enjoys hugging her family and friends, dancing, boxing, and playing tug-o-war with her dog.
“Some days it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other, but with a Christian family like all of you, it makes it easier.”