Ben Vaagen

LEAD Project Manager
Ben Vaagen

BenVaagen is a LEAD Project Manager, partnering with community members, service providers, law enforcement, and area officials to bolster public safety by identifying and addressing the unique needs of individuals through the collaboration of services as an alternative to incarceration. Ben is dedicated to advancing social justice and equity, emphasizing systemic change to benefit all, but especially marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Ben earned his bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from Washington State University and certifications in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Cornell and the University of Washington. He is certified in Peer Support in Washington State, and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Organizational Leadership & Learning from Pepperdine University.

Ben holds an array of lived and professional experience and has worked in shelters, permanent supportive housing, as a Certified Peer Counselor, and in leadership capacities at DESC. He deeply values the Housing First Model, Harm Reduction Principles, trauma-informed care, person-centered services, and multi-disciplinary collaboration.

Ben worked as a Housing Navigator for DESC’s Community Outreach & Advocacy Team (COAT) – playing an integral role in securing housing resources for unsheltered individuals. He coordinated the expansion of DESC’s Homeless Outreach Stabilization & Transition (HOST) program across Washington State. Ben was promoted to be Peer-Focused Project Manager for DESC’s Behavioral Health Response Team (BHRT) – a peer-driven, multi-disciplinary team providing bridge services to individuals as they come out of crisis.

Outside of work, Ben is a loving uncle of two nieces, a doting son, dedicated brother, and all around good guy.