Stories & Insights

Crossroads President Michelle Wilcox Named Interim CEO

February 01, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI — After thirty years of impactful service, Crossroads Rhode Island today announced President Michelle Wilcox’s appointment as Interim CEO while the organization’s board conducts a thoughtful and deliberative process to choose its next permanent executive. Wilcox currently oversees the day-to-day operations of the state’s leading provider of housing and services for people experiencing homelessness. Current CEO Karen Santilli will be leaving the agency later this month after nine years as Chief Executive.

“Karen has been an impactful CEO and strong advocate for our state’s homeless population. Thanks to her transformative leadership, the organization has a very experienced senior management team, sound finances, and an ambitious housing development plan that will allow us to continue to provide housing and related services to more than 4,000 of men, women and children each year,” said Julie Duffy, Crossroads Board Chair. “I am thankful that Michelle has agreed to serve as interim CEO. Her decades of experience overseeing Crossroads’ programming and services and her strong connections with other leaders in the housing community will ensure that we continue to deliver high-quality support and services to the Rhode Islanders who count on us.”

As Crossroads’ president, Michelle Wilcox is responsible for all of Crossroads’ internal operations, programs, and physical assets, including five adult and family shelters, 375 permanent supportive apartments, and new housing development. Wilcox has worked at Crossroads since 1993 and has been a part of the agency’s executive leadership team since 2007. In her 30 years with Crossroads, Wilcox has led a number of high-profile initiatives, including the complete renovation of Crossroads’ Providence headquarters and construction of Kingstown Crossings, a 104-apartment development in North Kingstown that offers housing for individuals and families.

“We are particularly grateful for Michelle’s housing development experience now that construction of 94 Summer Street, the first of our three housing development projects in Providence, is well underway,” said Board Vice Chair John Galvin. “When complete in 2026, this ambitious multi-building development effort will reshape the city block around Crossroads’ headquarters and significantly reduce homelessness in Rhode Island.”

“I’m incredibly proud of the number of people that Crossroads has been able to house during my 16 years here, including the last nine as CEO,” said outgoing CEO Karen Santilli. “I can’t thank our Board of Directors, employees and generous donors, volunteers and community partners enough for making that possible. Together, we have secured an exceptionally strong foundation and I look forward to seeing Crossroads continue to be the state’s leading provider of affordable and supportive housing.”

As CEO, Santilli oversaw a transformation at Crossroads. She helped elevate Crossroads to be a national leader for the implementation of Housing First policies and she led the effort to invest in housing problem strategies that have helped thousands of individuals and families find housing. Santilli recently oversaw the completion of a five-year strategic plan and kicked off an ongoing $15 million capital campaign to support the construction and renovation of more than 300 permanent supportive housing apartments in Providence.

Founded in 1894 as Travelers Aid, Crossroads is the state’s leading provider of housing and services for those experiencing homelessness. Last year, Crossroads helped more than 1,700 adults and children secure or maintain their housing and provided emergency shelter to more than 1,600 people. To meet the growing need for affordable housing, the local non-profit also owns and manages more than 375 permanent supportive apartments statewide, including several apartment buildings and scattered site housing.


Media Contact (for Crossroads Rhode Island)

Mike Raia, Half Street Group

401.340.9425 |

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