Peg Hacskaylo, Founder, is a social work professional designing and delivering services for women, families, and victims of crime for more than 25 years. In 2006, she founded the District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) to ensure access to safe housing for survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Washington, DC. Prior to that, Ms. Hacskaylo served as a Grant Program Specialist at the Office on Violence Against Women and Project Director for OVC TTAC, a national clearinghouse for training and technical assistance to victim services. During her tenure at DASH, Ms. Hacskaylo oversaw the development of innovative programs providing safe housing options for hundreds of survivors and their families. She has consulted to federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as with state and local domestic violence, sexual assault, and housing coalitions and programs. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and a certificate in Organizational Development from Georgetown University, where she also completed advanced studies in Business Administration.  

Our Team

Mary E. Wilson, Interim Chief Executive Officer, is an attorney and an experienced executive in the corporate, government and non-profit sectors having served in a variety of positions over the last 35 years. Most recently she served as the Chief Operating Officer for the National Capital Area Command of The Salvation Army, managing the staff, programs and facilities of 15 locations throughout Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.   In addition to Salvation Army Corps facilities, Dr. Wilson was responsible for the residential treatment facility, the domestic violence housing program and the transitional housing program for women and children. Prior to moving to Washington, DC, she served as the Director for the largest Department of Social Services in NC. During her tenure, Dr. Wilson was responsible for the development of innovative programs such as the Community Division to co-locate social workers in non-profits to provide collaborative services directly in the community; and the first partnership with community organizations to leverage Work First funds, Housing Authority vouchers and community engagement to move women from shelters to stable housing.  Dr. Wilson’s commitment to community engagement was sparked when she left corporate legal practice and entered non-profit service. As the Executive Director of a faith based community development corporation, Dr. Wilson started a women’s transitional shelter funded in part by a community thrift store. Dr. Wilson has a degree in Psychology from the University of Virginia, a Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest University School of Law, an Executive Leadership Certificate from Duke University, a Certification in  Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare: Multi-System Integration from Georgetown University, a Masters and a Doctorate in Leadership from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.

Wyanet Tasker, Director of Partnerships and Community Engagements, (Lumbee & Eastern Band of Cherokee) has been working alongside survivors of trauma since 2005 after graduating from Colorado College with a major in Neuroscience. She has direct service experience in a residential treatment facility, a school setting, disabilities case management, shelter services, and a housing program. She has been providing tribally and culturally specific training and Technical Assistance (TA) since 2015, with a focus on special survivor populations, such as children/youth, male, Two Spirit/LGBT+, and survivors with disabilities. She has authored multiple products, including Creating a Safe Space to Grow: A Guide for Tribal Child and Youth Advocacy. She has facilitated multidisciplinary team trainings with advocates, batterer intervention staff, law enforcement, child protection, and supervised visitation providers. While providing STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) Comprehensive TA, she managed an intensive TA project which focused on addressing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) in the state of Wisconsin. The project involved coordinating with grassroots organizers, other states’ MMIW Task Forces, tribal coalitions, and the Wisconsin Office of Crime Victim Services. 

Sharlena Powell, Director of Safe Housing, Survivor, and Equity Initiatives, is an agent for change who believes lived experience is a source of power and resilience– especially for trauma-exposed persons and diverse populations. A Bronx, NYC native, Sharlena was previously on staff with Voices of Women, a division of the Battered Women’s Resource Project. There, she led as Chairperson to the Housing Justice Campaign, which identified barriers and systemic breakdowns in housing navigation, and conducted outreach with community-based, grassroots organizations. She also facilitated focus groups on housing access points, developed “know your rights” and best practice tools in centering survivor real-time storytelling, and uplifted the naming of root stigmas in housing disparities as a channel of meaningful inclusion, especially with marginalized Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Sharlena has presented at various institutions, including testifying at NYC Council hearings, represented at city-wide taskforce initiatives, developed culinary programming with incarcerated youth, and has contributed publication with the Centre for Policy Research at the United Nations University (UNU). Sharlena believes that some of the most critical needs for survivors of DV/GBV/HT are obtaining and retaining safe, equitable, and affordable long-term housing, as well as restorative aftercare for optimizing economic growth, and she is committed to helping organizations meet these needs.

If you are in danger, please call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224. Avoid using a computer that could be accessed by a person who may cause harm, and learn more technology safety tips.

Please note that the Safe Housing Alliance is not a direct service provider and does not provide individual counseling, crisis response, housing advocacy, or legal services. We have compiled a brief list of resources for survivors here.