The Cooper Housing Institute Appoints Three New Members to Board of Advisors

The accomplished affordable housing experts will advise the Cooper Housing Institute on industry needs and opportunities

The Cooper Housing Institute (CHI), a private research foundation dedicated to solving the affordable housing crisis in the U.S., has announced the addition of three new members to its Board of Advisors, which offers guidance and advice to help CHI address national affordable housing issues.

The new members are:


  • Genger Charles, Managing Director and Head of External Affairs and Impact Strategies, Amherst
  • James Mathy, Housing Administrator, Department of Health and Human Services, Milwaukee County, Wis.
  • George Searcy, Principal, Community Impact Advisors, Orange County, Calif.


“We are thrilled and privileged to welcome these three new members to our Board of Advisors,” said Will Cooper, Jr., president and co-founder of the Cooper Housing Institute. “Together, they bring extensive experience in and diverse perspectives on the affordable housing landscape, which will be invaluable to CHI as we continue to work toward data-driven solutions to the housing and homelessness crisis.”

Genger Charles has nearly two decades of experience in mortgage, housing finance, legal and public policy. In her role at Amherst, she formulates the company’s government relations strategies and environmental, social and corporate governance policies, with the goal of tackling the major challenges and inequities facing the housing industry. One of her most significant recent accomplishments was coordinating the publication of crucial research using Amherst’s proprietary data on the economic perils that renters faced during the economic tumult brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, she served as the general deputy assistant secretary at the Office of Housing and Deputy Commissioner for the Federal Housing Administration and was formerly a senior policy advisor and the first chief of staff to the FHA Commissioner. Genger earned a Bachelor of Science in policy analysis and management from Cornell University and a Juris Doctor from The George Washington University School of Law.

James Mathy brings more than 25 years of experience working in the housing and community health field to his Board of Advisors position. With a focus on the development of homeless programs and permanent supportive housing, Mathy is responsible for the management of Milwaukee County’s Community Development Block Grant funds, HOME funds, Milwaukee County’s Housing Authority, and various homeless programs. He is also the author of Milwaukee County’s Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, which led to a 45% reduction in overall homelessness and a 92% reduction in unsheltered homelessness since 2015. Mathy earned a master’s degree in public service from Marquette University.

George Searcy has an extensive career in public service and private non-profit affordable housing development. His experience includes serving as a senior executive with National Community Renaissance and Jamboree Housing helping to build regional and national relationships with housing and supportive service strategies that addressed low-income and underserved communities across California and the United States with affordable housing, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing for the past 20 years. He also served as a Superintendent of Health and Wellness Services for the City of Irvine earlier in his career. Searcy has also been a member of the Commission to End Homelessness and a board member and past chair of the Continuum to End Homelessness in Orange County, Calif. He has a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University and a master’s degree in business from the University of Redlands.

To learn more about CHI’s work and support of the innovative thinkers, research scientists, and community leaders critical to solving the root causes of the growing housing crisis in America, visit: