CoC Board Members

Sean Spear

Flexible Seat

Sean Spear is the President & CEO of Community HousingWorks. Sean has served as a top local and state government leader in successive community development roles in the cities of New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and in Sacramento for the State of California.

Prior to joining Community HousingWorks in 2020, Sean was the Assistant General Manager at the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department where he was responsible for leading its housing production efforts and directing the operations of its Housing Development Bureau. The Bureau facilitates the financing of housing development projects with its business and community partners, leveraging its resources to the maximum benefit of the City’s residents and neighborhoods.

Sean was formerly the Managing Director with Hunt Mortgage Group where he consulted on the acquisition, development, financing and execution of affordable housing development transactions, and originated new debt and equity executions. He also most notably served as the Executive Director of the California Debt Allocation Committee (CDLAC) from 2009-2015, administering the $3.8 Billion private activity bond program for California. Sean brings additional private sector experience from his time with Fannie Mae; then providing housing development and public financing resources across the Western United States. Throughout his career he has developed both new project financing structures (especially for affordable housing preservation), as well as designed and implemented billion dollar governmental programs with the goal of building better communities for those in greatest need. Sean holds both graduate and undergraduate degrees from Cornell University, and is a member of the invitation-only Lambda Alpha International Society for Land Economics.

Deacon Jim F. Vargas

Homeless Service Provider – General

Deacon Jim F. Vargas, OFS, as President and CEO, oversees all facets of Father Joe’s Villages, the largest homeless services provider in Southern California. This includes the comprehensive housing and supportive services offered through St. Vincent de Paul Village, the Village Health Clinic, Therapeutic Childcare Center and the agency’s portfolio of affordable housing.

Prior to Father Joe’s Villages, Deacon Jim oversaw Human Resources operations for 5,000 employees across a chain of newspapers of The Copley Press, Inc., with news bureaus in multiple U.S. locations and Mexico. He also served in various director and vice president positions of Human Resources at Citicorp/Citibank. He is a deacon of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego serving the community of Mary, Star of the Sea in La Jolla, previously having served the community of Our Lady of Angels in downtown San Diego.

Deacon Jim holds degrees from New York University. He is the current Secretary on the board of the Regional Task Force on Homelessness in San Diego, a member of the Board of the Downtown San Diego Partnership and The San Diego County Tax Payers Association. He is the past Chair of the Board of the Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego Foundation, founding chair of Epiphany Prep Charter School of San Diego, and is current Chair of Casa Cornelia Law  Center. Deacon Jim lives in La Jolla with his wife and has three adult children.

Jessica Chamberlain

US Dept. of VA

Jessica Chamberlain is the Chief of Social Work Service at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.  She is responsible for the operation of all Social Work services, and the oversight of Social Work Practice for over 200 Social Work staff.  Ms. Chamberlain is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has spent the past 22 years providing clinical and administrative services to Veterans.  Her VA career began in the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans program where she spent nine years providing clinical care and implementing new programs for the homeless.  Born and raised in southern California, Jessica  received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the University of California, San Diego and a Master of Social Work degree from San Diego State University. 

Lisa Jones

Public Housing Authority


As the President & CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC), Lisa Jones leads an agency with 390 employees and an annual budget of $595 million.

In her more than 20 years of service in the areas of affordable housing and homelessness, she has developed and implemented housing assistance approaches that focus on the unique needs of the people being served. She has adhered to the additional values of building relationships, collaborating with community organizations, promoting transparency in government, and fostering equity, diversity and inclusion.

She previously served as SDHC’s Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. In that position, she oversaw key strategic and policy initiatives across agency divisions, including SDHC’s Strategic Plan, SDHC’s Moving to Work designation, and homelessness initiatives.

Before joining SDHC in 2017, Ms. Jones worked for seven years for the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino in the positions of Operations Manager, Director of Housing Administration, and Vice President of Housing Services. Concurrently, for several years, she also acted as Executive Director of Knowledge and Education for Your Success, a nonprofit affiliate of the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino.

SDHC is an award-winning public housing agency in the City of San Diego that provides innovative housing assistance programs for households with low income or experiencing homelessness. The San Diego City Council, in its role as the Housing Authority of the City of San Diego, oversees SDHC. SDHC helps pay rent for more than 17,000 households with low income annually; is a leader in collaborative efforts to address homelessness, such as the Community Action Plan on Homelessness for the City of San Diego and SDHC’s homelessness initiative, HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, which has created more than 11,000 housing solutions since November 2014 for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness; and creates and preserves affordable rental housing, with more than 23,000 affordable units in service in the City today with SDHC’s participation, of which SDHC owns or manages more than 4,100 affordable rental housing units. 

Ms. Jones holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Institute of Leadership and Management with the University of West Anglia, England. She also is an alumnus of the Impact Center’s Women’s Executive Leadership Program.

David Estrella

Public Housing Authority 

David Estrella joined the County of San Diego in 2002. He is currently the Director of Housing and Community Development Services where he oversees funding for the development of permanent affordable housing, community improvement projects and the Housing Choice Voucher program, which provides rental subsidies for approximately 11,000 families. He is the former Director of the Office of Integrative Services for the County’s Health and Human Services Agency. The Office of Integrative Services was created to focus on addressing homelessness and functionally threading housing solutions throughout the County of San Diego’s various departments. Prior to joining HHSA, David was the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO) for the County of San Diego’s Community Services Group.

As the DCAO for Community Services Group, David ensured fiscal responsibility and provided management direction for five County departments including: Animal Services, County Library, Registrar of Voters, General Services and Purchasing and Contracting.

David is also the County of San Diego’s Executive Sponsor for Diversity and Inclusion and the Chair of the County’s Diversity and Inclusion Executive Council.

David is a graduate with distinction from San Diego State University. He holds a degree in Mexican-American studies and a law degree from California Western School of Law. Prior to joining the County of San Diego, David worked for LISC AmeriCorps, the Fair Housing Council of San Diego and the Legal Aid Society of San Diego.

Miguel Vasquez

San Diego Workforce Partnership

Over a span of 30 years, Miguel’s journey has unfolded in financial, economic, and community development. Currently serving as the Vice President of Client Services at the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP), he is devoted to enhancing community life for job seekers, businesses, and partners. In this capacity, Miguel manages a $25 million budget, overseeing vital areas such as the county’s career centers, Youth Services, Career Path Training, and Population Specific Services. The SDWP is dedicated to equipping job seekers for economic mobility, fostering equitable growth for businesses, and preparing young individuals for the workforce. Their commitment to the power and dignity of work, equity, and inclusion is evident in the programs they build to meet people where they are.

Rooted in volunteerism, Miguel’s leadership commenced with shaping organizational missions, leading to the establishment of InterAmerican College and later the creation of the California Foundation Fund. As CEO of Wahupa Educational Enterprises, he advocated for equitable higher education access. Miguel also served as a board member for La Raza Lawyers and Vice Chair of the San Diego Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. His dedication to breaking the cycle of poverty earned him the Bishop Charles Francis Buddy Humanitarian of the Year award in 2013 at the University of San Diego.

Through community engagement and advocacy at the California Foundation Fund, Miguel received the honor of having a day named after him in National City, a testament to local acknowledgment of his contributions. Furthermore, as a published author in social entrepreneurship and a Forbes contributor, Miguel’s impact extends beyond his community, reaching a broader audience through insightful writings. His literary work, “A Journey of Entrepreneurial Inspiration,” reflects his commitment to inspiring transformation in others. Miguel’s narrative exemplifies servant leadership, transcending professional roles to emphasize service, transformative change, and leaving a lasting impression on the community.

Leilani Hines

CDBG Consolidated Plan Jurisdiction

Leilani Hines has served in multiple roles in her 35+ years with the cities of Carlsbad, Chula Vista and currently in Oceanside. With seasoned knowledge and experience in development processes, planning, grants management, financing and asset management, Ms. Hines is dedicated to providing opportunities for quality and affordable housing to those most economically challenged and making measurable differences in their quality of life. Highlights in her 35+ years of experience include: the creation and oversight of a $30 million loan portfolio and 2,500+ affordable housing units, development and launch of a $17 million emergency rent and utility assistance program in response to COVID-19, development of Oceanside’s first 24/7 navigation center for the unsheltered and an award of $6 million in federal and County funding, development, update and implementation of inclusionary housing and density bonus policies with the cities of Carlsbad, Chula Vista and Oceanside, and development and implementation of strategic planning documents including HUD Consolidated Plan, Housing Elements (since 1991), PHLA Plan, and homeless strategies. Ms. Hines graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Planning. She received her Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in 1992.

Barbara Jiménez

SD County HHSA

Community Operations Officer, Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities

With over 30 years of experience in the planning, management and delivery of social and human services, Ms. Jiménez serves as the Community Operations Officer for the newly formed Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities. Ms. Jiménez is responsible for ensuring coordination of existing and new County homeless and equitable community efforts and her department serves as a central point of collaboration for outside partners to ensure equity.

Ms. Jiménez is passionate about serving and working closely with the community. She leverages long-standing County and Community partnerships to achieve the Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities goals to improve upon current systems and expand the range of programs and initiatives to better address homelessness, economic equality initiatives, poverty reduction and focus on immigrants, refugees, and other newcomers. Ms. Jiménez is bilingual and has extensive experience working on border and binational health issues. She most recently served as the Director for Regional Operations, responsible for ensuring the development and implementation of regional strategies, programs and activities to ensure family and community needs are met in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. In addition, Ms. Jiménez serves as the COVID-19 Sector Public Outreach Lead for Cities, Government, Tribal Nations and Binational Affairs and is the Executive Lead for the San Diego County Independent Redistricting Commission responsible for drawing the County’s supervisorial districts that occurs every ten years after the Census.

Terra Lawson-Remer

County of San Diego Board of Supervisors

1st Vice Chair

As a third-generation San Diegan, Terra Lawson-Remer is proud to represent District 3 on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer is an economist, attorney, and public policy expert who has dedicated her life to working for social, environmental and economic justice.

Terra has served as a Senior Advisor in the Obama Administration, written award-winning research books, taught graduate students as a professor of public policy, and worked with the United Nations, World Bank, Amnesty International, and governments worldwide to advance sustainable development and economic inclusion.

Growing up in San Diego, Terra’s first job in public service was nearly 25 years ago, as a San Diego City Council staffer. After graduating from Yale and earning her law degree and PhD on a full scholarship to NYU, she worked around the world as an economist to create jobs, restart businesses, and generate economic activity after a crisis.

A passionate environmentalist, Terra helped the World Bank create its Climate Finance program, which funds billions of dollars of clean energy projects around the world, and worked to develop policies to cut pollution from oil drilling and mining as a Senior Advisor in the US Treasury Department under the Obama Administration.

Terra was elected by a wave of grassroots support in November of 2020, and was sworn in to office on January 4, 2021, becoming the only LGBTQ+ member of the Board. As Supervisor, Terra Lawson-Remer is taking bold action and forging strong and effective working relationships with her fellow Supervisorial Board members and community partners.

Terra understands that the issues of transportation and traffic, affordable housing, and environmental sustainability in our County are inextricably interconnected, and must be addressed with a bold plan. That is why she was proud to author and pass a proposal for a Regional Sustainability Plan with the goal of achieving zero carbon by 2035. This made San Diego County the largest region in the Country to commit to the ambitious target. She is also advancing innovative solutions to address our affordable housing crisis.

Since joining the Board, Terra has been appointed to represent the County on SANDAG, the regional transportation authority, where she will fight for investments in the green economy to tackle the climate crisis, and prioritize environmental justice and equity.

Supervisor Lawson-Remer has also brought forward significant policy proposals to reform the region’s incarceration system to reflect Smart Justice best practices, including free phone calls for incarcerated individuals, and the expansion of Mobile Crisis Response Teams instead of armed law enforcement. She has spearheaded the launch of San Diego County’s new Immigrant Legal Defense program to protect due process of law.  She has fought for Small Business Relief Grants, rental and eviction protections for tenants, and a Youth Jobs Corps to tackle youth underemployment and provide good jobs in the green economy.

Terra lives in Encinitas with her young daughter, EevaKai. She is also a certified emergency medical responder (EMT), and in her free time, she takes kids on backpacking trips to teach teamwork, personal resilience, and respect for nature.

Stephen Whitburn

San Diego City Councilmember

Elected to the San Diego City Council in 2020, Councilmember Stephen Whitburn represents San Diego City Council District 3. He is Chair of the City’s Audit Committee, and a member of the Land Use and Housing Committee, and the Community and Neighborhood Services Committee. He also serves as Chair of the MTS Board of Directors, Vice Chair of the San Diego County Local Agency Formation Commission, and member of the SANDAG Regional Planning Committee, League of Cities Executive Committee, and the Regional Task Force on the Homeless Continuum of Care Board. Addressing the City’s homelessness and affordable housing crises are top priorities for the Councilmember, along with ensuring a just and equitable recovery from the pandemic, and a more sustainable future for San Diegans.

Councilmember Whitburn has lived and been involved in the communities of District 3 for two decades. An award-winning nonprofit leader, he has helped sick and injured San Diegans at the American Red Cross, worked to advance equality for the LGBTQ community, and led a staff of twenty at the American Cancer Society which coordinated charitable efforts for cancer patients and their families across Southern California.

John Walters

Flexible Seat 

Jon Walters graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in social work, cum laude, and received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army Reserve. While in Michigan, Jon began his career with the American Red Cross in the Emergency Services Department before relocating to San Diego in 1999. Jon and began working at St. Madeleine Sophie Center for Developmentally Disabled Adults administering the Garden Therapy Program.

Jon’s career in permanent, supportive housing began at Community Interface Services in 2001 working as an Independent Living Resource Counselor for Developmentally Disabled Adults. Jon then began work at the Telecare/REACH Program in 2003 working to provide supportive services in housing to adults with mental illness and a history of homelessness. In January 2005 Jon was hired as Manager of Resident Services for The Association For Community Housing Solutions (TACHS) and began to develop and implement the Resident Services Department for all TACHS sites, overseeing the expansion of this program to all 5 housing locations. In 2009, Jon became the Manager of Operations for all TACHS sites and programs and advanced to the position of Associate Director for the agency, which re-branded its name to Housing Innovation Partners in 2017.

Jon brings extensive experience in supportive services, property and facilities management, asset management, and affordable housing development. Housing Innovation Partners has lead the region in the operation of service-enriched housing for the community’s most vulnerable members using Housing First and Harm Reduction principles. Jon has served in various capacities with the San Diego Continuum of Care, the San Diego County Behavioral Health Housing Council and currently facilitates the Permanent Housing Learning Collaborative.

Jon continues his work in the permanent, supportive housing in San Diego while pursuing his other passions of raising a family and performing jazz guitar across venues in Southern California.

Jo Barrett

Flexible Seat

With lived homeless experience, Jo has a BS in Business Management, a degree from UCSD in Law – Paralegal Studies and has recently completed the Boards and Commissions Leadership Training through Mid-City Community Advocacy Network. As an advocate, Jo is committed to ending homelessness in San Diego and is dedicated to elevating the voices of those excluded from the decision making processes. Her vision is to be a part of the solution in moving agendas forward. Jo has demonstrated strong leadership skills and a deep commitment to ending the housing crisis, eliminating homelessness and building power for low-income and underserved communities. Jo has shared her story in major platforms, before news media, county board of supervisors and city council rules committee in support of a local bond measure for affordable housing. She is working to create the systemic changes needed to end homelessness and bring about positive change in policies and programs on the local, state and federal levels.

Betsy Brennan

Flexible Seat

As President and CEO, Betsy Brennan leads the Downtown San Diego Partnership, a member-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the economic prosperity and cultural vibrancy of Downtown. This is accomplished through a unique combination of membership, advocacy and public services.

The Downtown Partnership proudly serves more than 300 member businesses, representing thousands of residents, employees, and Downtown property owners. Betsy and her staff are also responsible for administering the Clean & Safe Program, a $9-million Property and Business Improvement District of the City of San Diego, which offers enhanced maintenance and safety services throughout 275 blocks in the heart of Downtown San Diego.

Betsy holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Politics and Spanish from the University of Richmond in Virginia (1998) and obtained her Juris Doctor, with a specialization in land use, at the University of San Diego (2003). After law school, Betsy served as Chief of Staff for the City of San Diego’s first-ever City Council President, Scott Peters, (2002 to 2008).

Betsy has a proven track record of leading civic engagement, grassroots community involvement, external relations, economic development, and innovative programs for institutions such as the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina (VP of Development, 2016-2018), Tahoe Forest Health System in Lake Tahoe (Executive Director, Foundation, 2015-2016), Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (Chief of Staff to President, 2011-2015), and San Diego State University (Chief of Staff to President, 2008-2011). 

Betsy has received several noteworthy acknowledgements of her community commitment, including San Diego  Business Journal’s “500 Most Influential Business Leaders” (2019), San Diego Magazine’s “50 People to Watch”  (2008), San Diego Metropolitan Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” (2010), San Luis Obispo Tribune’s “Top 20 Under 40”  (2013), and SDSU’s Associated Students Presidential Leadership Award for working alongside students to better serve  the greater San Diego community (2011).

Bernie Colon

Flexible Seat

Bernie Colon has worked with the San Diego Police Department since 1989. In 2021 he was promoted to the rank of Assistant Chief, with oversight of the Neighborhood Policing Division. In that role, he has responsibility for addressing the city’s homelessness issues through outreach and enforcement. Prior to his promotion, he served as Captain of the Investigations 1 Division which includes Narcotics, Narcotics Task Force, Sex Crimes, Sex Registrants Unit, Child

Abuse, Internet Crimes Against Children, Vice, Human Trafficking and the Domestic Violence Unit.

Chief Colon earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, a Master’s in Public Administration, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy Class 265. He has extensive teaching experience both on-campus and online since 2003, as well as teaching at the Regional Training Academy since 1996.

Chief Colon grew up in the Chicago area and moved to San Diego after high school to attend college. He is married and has 5 kids as part of a blended family. He stays busy with work and family, but really enjoys teaching and hearing different perspectives in each class.

Matthew Wechter

County of San Diego

Matt Wechter is a Deputy Public Defender with the San Diego Office of the Public Defender. As a lead of the Public Defender Homeless Court Team, and Public Defender representative on the Alternatives to Incarceration Workgroup, Matt acts as a liaison between the County, Superior Court, District Attorney, City Attorney, and regional Homeless Court Providers (HCPs). In his capacity through Homeless Court, he represents San Diego’s homeless population during monthly Homeless Court sessions, and orchestrates and executes the annual Homeless Court @ Stand Down, San Diego’s annual 3-day homeless veteran event.  Matt is also an active member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, which provides policy guidance and technical assistance to replicate the ABA/San Diego HCP model in jurisdictions across the state and the country. At heart, Matt is a technology junkie – leveraging high-tech solutions where possible  – to support efficiencies with tight resources, and to serve as many clients as possible.

Amy Denhart

Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego

Amy Denhart is the Director of Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego (FTEHSD) at San Diego Grantmakers, where she supports FTEHSD’s strategic grantmaking and advocacy in systems change and permanent housing opportunities to reduce homelessness. For the past 22 years, Amy held positions in fundraising, public policy, and community engagement. During more than a decade as Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood, she worked with donors and the Board of Directors to advance public policy in support of reproductive health care. Prior to that, she was Area Director for US Senator Barbara Boxer, serving as the Senator’s liaison to the San Diego community, connecting constituents to the Senate and other government bodies. Just prior to joining FTEHSD, Amy worked closely with the City of San Diego and County governments as the lead finance and contract management staff for a local community engagement and design firm. She has served on the City of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation committee and is currently a board member on the Regional Task Force on Homelessness.

Paul Downey

Flexible Seat

Paul Downey is the President and CEO of Serving Seniors. Since being appointed the role in 1995, Downey has guided the agency’s innovative efforts to provide supportive services focused on keeping low-income seniors healthy and independent.

Under Downey’s leadership, Serving Seniors has grown to serve over 1.1 million nutritious congregate and home delivered meals annually, 365 days per year, at 15 sites in San Diego County. The agency’s service provision model – including case management, healthcare, mental healthcare, dental (through collaborative partner), activities and civic engagement — is considered to be a national model for seniors living in poverty.

Serving Seniors has provided transitional housing and wraparound case management for unsheltered older adults for more than 20 years and owns/operates 412 units of affordable senior housing with support services. A new 117-unit senior complex is under construction in City Heights and a 162-unit complex in Clairemont is in the pipeline.

Downey is currently on the board of the American Society on Aging (and co-chairs its Public Policy Committee), co chairs the County of San Diego’s Elder Protection Council, serves on the County of San Diego’s Social Services Advisory Board, and has previously served as the chair of the California Commission on Aging, chair of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs, chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board, SDSU College of Health and Human Services, among many other roles. As a result of these efforts, Downy was invited by President Obama to participate in the White House Conference on Aging in 2015. 

Downey holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from San Diego State University and a Certificate in Nonprofit  Management from Harvard Business School.

Michael Hopkins

Flexible Seat

Building on the agency’s nearly 100-year history, Michael has led Jewish Family Services (JFS) through a wide-reaching, collaborative strategic planning process, repairing the World: Guiding the Heart & Soul of Jewish Family Service, and a capital campaign resulting in the development of a client-centric JFS campus. Under Michael’s leadership, JFS earned Charity Navigator’s highest four-star rating for the eleventh year in a row, an achievement just 1% of reviewed nonprofits nationwide can claim. Michael became CEO in January 2012, continuing his 35+ years building and strengthening the Jewish community across the country. Prior to joining JFS, Michael served as Executive Director of Nehirim, a national Jewish LGBT organization, and CEO of Jewish Community Center (JCC) Metrowest, one of the largest JCCs in the country. Michael holds a Master’s in Social Work from the Yeshiva University Wurzweiler School of Social Work.

Curtis Howard

Flexible Seat

Curtis Howard is the Lead Organizer for the San Diego Chapter of All of Us or None (AOUON), a national organization that advocates for formerly incarcerated people and their families. Curtis is formerly incarcerated and formerly homeless, only recently being housed during the pandemic.

Curtis has authored two books written in prison; “Cellmates” and most recently “Who’s Left” a book of struggles.

Curtis is the founder of LIVEX, a lived experienced consultant specializing in the areas of homelessness, gangs, substance abuse, and carceral logics. He currently works with the San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness in this capacity

Jeffrey Najarian

Flexible Seat

Jeffrey Najarian is Wakeland’s Senior Wellness Coordinator, part of a specialized division of Wakeland’s Resident Services division that focuses on providing provide peer support and connections to healthcare and wellness services for residents in Wakeland’s supportive housing. Wakeland’s Wellness Coordinators work closely with residents who have experienced homelessness and have complex needs, with the goal of improving behavioral health stability and whole person wellness. As Senior Wellness Coordinator, Najarian helps support the Wellness Coordinators in their day-to-day work; provides training to the Wellness Coordinators and Resident Service Coordinators; identifies and links staff to outside training and educational opportunities including certifications; assists with de-escalation and crisis intervention; and identifies and leverages community services, including wellness services to assist residents in their wellness and recovery goals. 

Najarian has spent more than a decade of his professional life working to bring resources for recovery and wellness to people in the behavioral health system. Prior to joining Wakeland, he helped to support the creation and implementation of the San Diego County Peer Liaison at RI International, which conducted outreach to over 88,000 people in its ten years of operation. While working at RI International, Najarian personally conducted 5,500 community meetings, speaking to over 32,000 people.

He holds a number of professional certifications, including Peer Employment Training, Transformational Advocacy and Advanced Peer Recovery Practices. He is also a certified Wellness Recovery Action Plan Facilitator.

Najarian is deeply involved in San Diego’s County’s behavioral health system, serving on the County of San Diego’s Behavioral Health Services Housing Council since 2009 and co-chairing the Adult Behavioral Health Council since 2011. He serves on the Board of Directors for Housing Innovation Partners, one of the first San Diego nonprofits to develop permanent housing for people who’ve experienced homelessness.

He has received several community acknowledgments for his advocacy work including the Independent Living Association’s “Advocate of the Year” (2015), the Behavioral Health Recognition Dinner “Dan Resse Award” 2018, and the San Diego Housing Federation’s Ruby Award  ”Outstanding Service For Residents” (2021).

Najarian studied Psychology at Indiana University, graduated from the Boulder College of Massage Therapy, and spent 20 years teaching and practicing in the holistic healing arts with a specialization in recovery from shock and trauma.

Kathleen Lang

Flexible Seat

Kathleen Lang, DPA is the Vice President, Regional Medi-Cal Lead, for Health Net Community Solutions, a subsidiary of Centene contracted with California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to serve Medicaid beneficiaries. As Vice President, she serves Imperial and San Diego County Medi-Cal members and providers, as well as community partners striving for improved healthcare and social outcomes. Splitting her time between San Diego and Imperial counties, Kathleen’s local leadership role reinforces the belief that robust relationships are built and stewardship is maximized at the local level.

Kathleen has proven expertise in the fields of public administration and community health, blending past professional and academic experience with evidence-based practice to convene stakeholders, building thriving communities through collective impact.  Kathleen finds it especially satisfying to listen to new ideas from others – no matter their professional experience – that provide the potential for improving a process, policy, or system and appreciates when others share their knowledge and experience for the benefit of all team members. By doing so, she has embraced the community health mission to promote and protect the health of local residents, developing and implementing complex projects related to health and social services, resource allocation, locally based strategic leadership and planning, and collaboration with local, state, and federal partners to achieve positive change. Housing clearly intersects with many of these concepts and processes.

During her tenure as the Deputy Director, Health and Support Services of the Imperial County Public Health Department, Kathleen managed administrative services, including human resources, budget and fiscal, health information management, and facilities management.  Additionally, she was responsible for the Public Health Laboratory and Clinical Services, including nursing, the health clinic, tuberculosis control,  and children’s health. In this role, Kathleen created innovative solutions for program development and implementation, quality assurance and HIPAA compliance, continuity of care, and public health clinical surge response. 

Dr. Lang received her bachelors and masters degree in public administration from San Diego State University and her doctorate in public administration from the University of La Verne. She is currently an adjunct professor at the University of La Verne and San Diego State University, teaching in the schools of public administration, psychology, and organizational behavior.  

Karen McCabe

Flexible Seat

Karen McCabe currently serves as the Director of Community Programs Development for Scripps Mercy Hospital where she has served in the role for over 20 years. Karen previously served as the Director of Community Health Services for Paradise Valley Hospital/Adventist Health overseeing a Physician Primary Care Practice as well as Community Health Programs. Prior to that role, Karen served in Director roles at Family Health Centers of San Diego and for Pathfinders of San Diego.

Karen is currently a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is actively involved with the San Diego Girl Scouts Council. She has previously served on several boards including the Community Clinics Health Network, Mercy Gardens Housing, United Way South Region Advisory Board, South Bay Human Services Council, Community Social Model Advocates, and National Health Care for the Homeless Council. Karen has a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University, a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling and Post Graduate Certificate in Rehabilitation Administration from San Diego State University along with post graduate studies in Leadership at the University of San Diego. Karen McCabe serves on the Board of the Regional Task Force on Homelessness as a representative for the  health care role.

Benjamin Moraga

Flexible Seat

Ben Moraga made the decision twenty-five years ago to attend San Diego State University (SDSU) and call “America’s Finest City” home. While at SDSU, he earned a B.A. in Economics, with a minor in Public Administration.

Currently, he is Vice President, Sharp HealthCare Foundation. He leads a team of thirty-three across three foundations, representing four acute care hospitals, three specialty hospitals, and over twenty-four outpatient clinics. Sharp is San Diego’s health care leader and the largest private employer with over 19,000 employees. Prior to joining Sharp, Ben spent eight years with SDSU as the Associate Vice President, University Relations & Development.

Ben has had a strong sense of community service since a young age. In 2010, then Mayor Jerry Sanders appointed him a Commissioner of the San Diego Housing Commission. Along with Mayor Todd Gloria, Ben was one of the youngest Commissioners ever appointed. Ben brought a unique perspective to the Commission; his family was raised in public housing and has since left the system. He was a member of the Audit Committee and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. In 2018, former Mayor Kevin Faulconer appointed him a member of the City of San Diego’s Library Commission.

In addition, Ben is a member of the Monarch School Board of Directors, Immediate Past Chair. A member of the U.S.S. Midway Board of Directors, and the SDSU President’s Latino Advisory Board. He is also a graduate of LEAD San Diego-Class of 2010; a member of the San Diego Bowl Game Association-Life Committee; Fieldstone Foundation Emerging Leaders-Fellow 2011; FBI Citizens Academy-Class of 2012; Herb Klein Leadership Round Table-Steering Committee; Phi Kappa Psi Alumni & Housing Corporate Board; and SDSU’s Leadership Advisory Committee.

Ben and his wife, Jamie, live in Del Sur with their six-year old son, Jack.

Reverend Rolland Slade

Flexible Seat


A native of San Diego, California, Pastor Rolland accepted his call into the ministry in 1987 under the pastorate of Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Winters at the Bayview Baptist Church, San Diego. It was there that he was baptized, licensed and later ordained to preach the Gospel. While at Highland Park, Pastor Rolland served as Minister of Missions and Church Planter for the Meadowbrook Fellowship congregation located in a large apartment complex near the church, which was originally funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Additionally, he served during that time as the Development Coordinator for the church’s community retail ministry, called Stamps and Things. Pastor Rolland shepherded, qualified and secured the designation of Stamps and Things to become an authorized United States Postal Contract Station in the community. In 2016 Pastor Rolland was named to the fill the Faith Community seat on the San Diego Regional Continuum of Care Council. The San Diego Regional Continuum of Care Council recently (January 2017) merged with the San Diego County Regional Task Force on Homelessness in a combined effort to better serve those who are homeless in San Diego County.

John Brady

Homeless/Formerly Homeless Seat

With lived homeless experience, an MBA in Marketing & Operations, and an entertainment background, John brings a unique set of skills, passion and perspective while leading the Lived Experience Advisers. For 5 years, John has been an active advocate for the unsheltered in the San Diego area. In this role, he has become educated in many of the issues that are relevant to our homelessness crisis on a local and national level.  Currently, he is the Director of Lived Experience Advisers, a project of Catalyst San Diego.

His work had led to him becoming a media voice, cited in The San Diego Union Tribune, The Huffington Post, NBC 7, LA Times, and The Voice of San Diego, among many other media outlets. John is also a regular speaker at conferences, community groups, and governmental bodies. Additionally, he is the Vice-Chair of the SDMTS Security and Passenger Safety Community Advisory Group and serves on the Community Action Plan on Homelessness Leadership Council and The Homeless Court Advisory Committee.  

Elizabeth Rosas

Homeless/Formerly Homeless Seat







Greg Anglea

Homeless Service Provider – North Coastal

Greg Anglea’s career has been devoted to helping others. After graduating with a B.A. in political science from University of California, San Diego in 2003, he worked at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego. In 2006, he joined Interfaith Community Services as the Volunteer Coordinator and Faith Liaison, and went on to serve as the Director of Development for five years. In 2011, he moved to California State University San Marcos as the Director of Major Gifts, building community support for a regional guaranteed-admission program that provides a path to college for low-income, under-served youth.
Greg returned as Interfaith’s Chief Executive Officer in May 2014, leading an inclusive Strategic Visioning process that returned ownership of Interfaith Community Services to its many stakeholders and produced a clear vision for the future of the organization. That vision supported the creation of the Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center, a recuperative care program for homeless exiting hospitals; the launch of a new regional system of care for all persons experiencing homelessness, bringing together more than 30 community agencies in partnership; the opening of the Haven House Year-Round Emergency Shelter, North County’s first year-round emergency homeless shelter for both men and women; and the launch of Recovery & Wellness programs to address addiction and mental health issues.
Greg is currently the Board President of the Alliance for Regional Solutions, Board Member of the Regional Task Force on Homelessness, Co-Chair of the North County Live Well Leadership Team, and Immediate Past President of the North County Philanthropy Council. He received his M.A. degree in Leadership and Non-Profit Management from University of San Diego in 2009. He lives in Escondido with his wife and two daughters, and when not at Interfaith, he can usually be found playing in a park with his kids or trying not to burn food in his kitchen.

Jonathan Castillo

Homeless Service Provider – Central

Jonathan Castillo serves as PATH’s Chief Regional Officer. As the CRO he is responsible for the operations of PATH in San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Jose, and Sacramento. His tenure in homeless and human services give him invaluable and diverse expertise from his time working in homeless services, healthcare services, and child welfare. Jonathan’s drive and passion are fueled by a need to serve those who are marginalized and unable to advocate for themselves. He strives to identify and fill gaps within communities by expanding programs that respond to the needs that exist. Prior to being appointed CRO, he served as PATH San Diego’s Regional Director for three years. As Regional Director, he more than quadrupled operations from being primarily Downtown to a County-wide provider and expanded the permanent supportive housing portfolio. Jonathan previously served as PATH’s Director of Veteran Services which served 1800 Veterans annually through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families and the HUD VASH contract with the Greater Los Angeles VA Medical Center. PATH’s HUD-VASH program was responsible for supporting 1300 Veterans throughout Los Angeles, Kern County, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Orange County. Prior to joining PATH, Jonathan began his career in homeless services working at the Greater Los Angeles VA Medical Center as a case manager in Project 60 (comparable to San Diego’s Project 25 pilot) before being promoted to the Associate Coordinator/Social Work Supervisor overseeing HUD-VASH operations and managed partnerships with 7 public housing authorities. Jonathan’s inspiration to serve Veterans and the homeless services industry was influenced by his experience as a case manager at LA County’s Department of Children & Family Services, where he witnessed the educational, racial, socioeconomic disparities that perpetuate the homeless challenges in our communities.

Kathryn Lembo

Homeless Service Provider – South Bay

Since 1971, South Bay Community Services (SBCS) has been transforming San Diego County communities supporting  the well-being and prosperity of children, youth, and families. More than 400 SBCS staff are stationed throughout the  county providing targeted programs and prevention initiatives to respond to community need. SBCS President and CEO  Kathryn Lembo has been leading the agency since 1982 working collaboratively with a broad cross-section of individuals  including schools, nonprofit partners, health, and business leaders as well as policymakers and residents to build true  measurable solutions that respond to our community’s challenges.

Akilah Templeton

Homeless Service Provider – North Inland

2nd Vice Chair

Akilah Templeton is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Veterans Village of San Diego, the largest non-profit veteran service organization in San Diego County. Each year, Veterans Village of San Diego serves thousands of veterans in overcoming homeless and related challenges through its core programs that include transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, substance use treatment, case management, employment services and temporary financial assistance.  Under Akilah’s leadership, the organization has expanded its partnership with the Cohen Veterans Network to now operate 3 outpatient mental health clinics serving San Diego and Los Angeles Counties. 

Akilah is an experienced organizational change expert and leader whose career in mental health, substance abuse, veteran services, and homeless services spans nearly 30 years. Akilah is a master’s Level Addiction Specialist and a recognized expert in the veteran and homeless services spaces. Akilah sits on the Board of CAVSA (the California Association of Veterans Service Agencies) and holds a seat on the Governance Advisory Committee for the local Continuum of Care.  As a member of several community-based work groups including the City of San Diego Community Action Plan on Homelessness and the Leave no Veteran Homeless initiative, Akilah works with leading service providers and government agencies to develop solutions to homelessness and veteran homelessness countywide.

Akilah holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California with a sub-concentration in Military Social Work; a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership from California State University – Northridge; and a Bachelor of Arts – Sociology from California State University-East Bay.

Laura Tancredi-Baese

Homeless Service Provider – East

Ms. Tancredi-Baese has been an asset to the San Diego nonprofit community for over 25 years. After earning a Masters Degree in Social Work at San Diego State University, she then went on to earn a license as a clinical social worker. Her extensive experience also includes management of child and youth development and transitional living programs for young persons, and executive leadership. As a recognized leader in her field, Laura was the founder of several transitional living programs in San Diego for transition-age homeless youth (aged 18-24). Since May of 2007, Laura continues to be a passionate force to promote our mission and vision that every child in San Diego live in a safe and nurturing home. Through her efforts, Home Start has opened the doors to our Maternity Shelter Program providing support to pregnant or parenting young women and their children facing homelessness, and founded their Thrift Boutique/social enterprise to support these families. Additionally, Laura serves on the Board of Directors for the California Coalition for Youth (CCY).

Tamera Kohler

RTFH: Ex-Officio

Tamera Kohler, Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Task Force on Homelessness (RTFH), has 19 years of senior leadership roles in state and local government specializing in poverty and homelessness, nonprofit, and mortgage lending experience, including spending more than eight years helping lead nationally-noted homelessness reduction programs in the State of Utah. Since assuming the role of CEO in November 2018, Ms. Kohler has led the RTFH in its growth as a trusted leader and expert for the San Diego County region.

Her strategic planning expertise and deep knowledge of the issues and proven solutions have framed the organization’s growth, strengthened connections to the community, and fostered trusted relationships with government, civic leaders, and service providers alike.  She has attracted top talent to her executive team and has increased funding for the San Diego Region to address homelessness by $40 million annually, which she and her team administer to programs throughout the region. 

At RTFH she has created a unique two-board structure to help ensure that homelessness is a rare, brief and nonrecurring issue for people. One, a 31-member advisory board that brings together a deep array of lived experience, government, civic and nonprofit leaders to enact policy and best practices to address and end homelessness. The other, a smaller non-profit board formed of executives focused on fiscal oversight and philanthropy.

Ms. Kohler joined the RTFH after having served in Seattle’s Human Services Department as Division Director of Homeless Strategy and Investment where she oversaw 45 employees, a $58 million budget, and the implementation of a new homeless strategy. Before Seattle, she served eight years at the State of Utah as the Assistant Division Director of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. There she oversaw federal and state funding and strategic planning for CSBG, CDBG, HOPWA, HOME, LIHEP, WAP, EITC, FEMA, TANF, the State housing loan fund, State homeless trust fund, and the Emergency Food Network.  She staffed and facilitated the Utah Lt. Governor’s Homeless committee with all department heads on the board and oversaw the Community Impact Board fund, including the state mineral rights resources.

Ms. Kohler has served on national committees and panels and as the Vice President of the National Association for State Community Services Programs board. She has a strong track record in community engagement, strategic planning, contracting, and the data-driven system improvements critical today to achieve measurable results and ensure resources are allocated wisely. She is well known and a trusted, effective change agent with indispensable big picture, system-level planning expertise and brings a unique connection and network to the highest level of national and state leaders in homelessness.

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