In the acclaimed book, Homelessness is a Housing Problem, authors Gregg Colburn and Clayton Aldern reiterate the growing consensus that homelessness needs to be solved through housing solutions. They show that housing market conditions, such as the cost and availability of rental housing, are more strongly associated with regional homelessness rates than other common explanations, including drug use, mental illness, or poverty. The recent appointment of two leaders with extensive homelessness experience to top housing positions in California underscores this continuing link.

Tomiquia Moss, Founder and CEO of All Home, a Bay Area regional homelessness prevention and advocacy organization, was appointed Secretary of California’s Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency (BCSH). BCSH oversees California’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA), and the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH). Secretary Moss replaces the former Secretary Lourdes Castro-Ramirez, now Chief Housing and Homelessness Officer at the City of Los Angeles. Secretary Moss has built her career serving LMI communities and uplifting their voices: while at All Home, Secretary Moss convened the Community Partners Council, a diverse cohort of people who have experienced poverty, housing instability, and homelessness, to inform a set of policy proposals for housing and economic security.

Lisa Jones, previously San Diego Housing Commission’s (SDHC’s) Executive VP of Strategic Initiatives, was appointed SDHC’s President and CEO. The position has been vacant since February 2022 following longtime CEO Rick Gentry’s resignation. SDHC is the City of San Diego’s Housing Authority, and as Executive VP, Ms. Jones had previously overseen SDHC’s homelessness initiatives. In her new role, Ms. Jones has indicated a need for both homelessness crisis response and more long-term housing options as a homelessness prevention measure, articulating her priorities as strengthening partnerships with CBOs to better reach underserved populations and developing and preserving affordable housing.

These two leaders are assuming their roles amidst challenging times: California continues to fall short of its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) numbers, while the most recent Annual Homelessness Assessment Report saw California having the most people experiencing homelessness of any state. At the same time, both Federal and State funding for housing and homelessness are facing potential cuts and deferrals. In light of these challenges, Secretary Moss and Ms. Jones’ considerable experience in housing and homelessness solutions will serve them well as they lead these impactful organizations.

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About the Author

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Christina Mun is the Chief Strategy Officer of LeSar Holdings Inc. and brings 17 years of housing development and policy experience in California and New York. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley (master of City Planning) and UC San Diego (B.A. Urban Studies). Biography | Email

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