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The leader of one of the local nonprofits that has been a major partner in Fairfax County’s effort to end homelessness is stepping down.

Amanda Andere has only been the executive director of FACETS for five years, but that period has been one in which the organization has grown in size and stature, according to FACETS Board Chair John Martin.

“When I came on board, a lot of people said things like, FACETS is a best-kept secret,” Andere said. “One of the things I focused on was really getting the community to understand the impact that FACETS was having.”

FACETS has become more of a leading organization in the county’s efforts to prevent and end homelessness, including taking a major role in the 100,000 Homes Campaign. That campaign, which started last year, aims to identify chronically homeless people in the community and get them into permanent housing.

“She’s done a great deal to grow our reputation and to grow our standing,” Martin said. “That has been an exciting thing.”

FACETS has also seen in increase in individual giving, grant funding and volunteer engagement during Andere’s tenure, he said, allowing the organization to expand its services.

Andere said that the organization’s leadership embraced the county’s plan to end homelessness in 10 years and the ways that affected services – a shift from services that help sustain people who are homeless to those that keep people from becoming homeless or help rapidly get them into housing.

Andere said she gives the community a B+ on the progress so far on the 10-year plan.

“I think we’ve made really big strides, but I don’t think we’ve adequately addressed affordable housing,” she said. “We are a county that really should be an A+ because we have the resources.”

The FACETS board has formed a search committee and plans to hire a search firm to help select the next executive director of the nonprofit. Deputy Executive Director Maura Williams will lead the organization in the interim.

“One of the great legacies that Amanda left is the organization and the great people that she leaves behind,” Martin said. “We know that Maura will do a great job and the people under her will keep the programs going … while we search for a new executive director.”

Andere will be the new president and CEO of Wider Opportunities for Women, a national organization that advocates for policies that help women, children and elders.

She said direct service work has always motivated her to advocate for broader policy changes.

“It’s keeping people stable now, but what is the future going to look like?” she said.

kschumitz@fairfaxtimes.com