Cary Howitson joined the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) in May 2021. As Office Technician, she assists Cal ICH with varied administrative and clerical tasks. She has spent the last 5+ years working as an Administrative Assistant with Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, working directly with clients experiencing homelessness, food insecurity, unemployment, disabilities, and mental health issues. She has worked with agencies including the United States Department of Agriculture, The Emergency Food Assistance Program, Feeding America, and CalFresh. Cary has 20+ years’ experience providing customer service and sales support in the nonprofit, banking, and securities industries. As the owner of Interior Design by Cary Howitson, her projects have included furniture repair and reupholstering, custom draperies, curtains, bedding, painting, faux finishes, and floral arrangement. Cary loves event planning, décor and design, a drop ceiling, and an enthusiastic crew!
Dhakshike Wickrema was appointed Deputy Secretary of Homelessness at the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency by Governor Gavin Newsom in March 2022. Dhakshike has over 15 years of experience working in the public, private and nonprofit sectors to improve systems related to homelessness, housing and mental health policies and programs. Most recently, she served as the Senior Deputy for Homelessness and Housing for Los Angeles City Council District 10. She also served as the Senior Deputy for Homelessness and Mental Health for Los Angeles County Supervisorial District 2, where she supported efforts in 2017 to pass Measure H, a 10-year local sales tax that funds housing and services to prevent and end homelessness in Los Angeles County. Prior to that, she worked at Shelter Partnership, a nonprofit focused on public policy and advocacy related to homelessness and affordable housing in Los Angeles County and California, and for the World Bank’s Poverty Alleviation, Health Services and Social Development sectors in Sri Lanka. Dhakshike earned a Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Courtney Tacker is the Director of Local Initiatives for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH). Her main responsibilities include working directly with local homelessness systems of care to develop and implement strategies that will contribute to a shared vision of addressing homelessness throughout the state. Courtney leads the Local Initiatives team in providing statewide technical assistance, developing resources, and compiling and disseminating best practices to prevent and end homelessness in California.
Prior to joining the Cal ICH in September 2021, Courtney worked at the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) where she held the roles of Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Cooperative Programs Specialist, and most recently Staff Services Manager I of the Human Services Cooperative Programs Unit. In this role, Courtney provided administrative oversight and coordination of DOR cooperative programs. Courtney worked in collaboration with several partner agencies including Local Education Agencies, County Behavioral Health agencies, Community Colleges, Universities, and Community Rehabilitation Programs to support the provision of vocational services for individuals with disabilities.
Courtney has over nine years of experience fostering stakeholder engagement and collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, providing statewide technical assistance, conducting program evaluations, and developing contracts with partner agencies.
Courtney holds a Master of Science degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento.
Meghan Marshall was appointed Executive Officer of the California Interagency Council on Homelessness by Governor Gavin Newsom in March 2023. Meghan has over 17 years of experience working in the public sectors of public health, behavioral health, human services and housing and homelessness. Prior to her most recent role as the Director of Public Health for Placer County, Meghan served in many positions of leadership for Sacramento County, including as Division Manager for the COVID-19 Homelessness Response Team and as the Planning Manager for the county’s Initiatives to Reduce Homelessness. Meghan has both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work from California State University Sacramento and a Master’s degree in Public Health from George Washington University.
Vien Tran started at the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) as an Information Technology Specialist in February 2022. He works on the Cal ICH Information Technology team. Vien is responsible for IT supporting the Council’s mission to end homelessness in California. Prior to joining Cal ICH, Vien worked at California State Controller’s Office and California Department of Transportation as a programmer.
Vien holds a BS in Computer Science and a MS in Computer Science from San Francisco State University.
Nichole Zaragoza-Smith is Program Implementation Supervisor for grant programs. Prior to joining the California Interagency Council on Homelessness in June 2020, Nichole spent seven years in the capital region working on infill development and community services. This included expanding programs for homeless adults and at-risk youth by identifying and cultivating unique partnerships between for-profit and non-profit organizations. She believes that drawing together best practices from diverse fields and stakeholders promotes better outcomes for California communities and the State’s most vulnerable. Nichole earned two Master’s degrees: one in Community Development and one in Business Administration- from the University of California, Davis.
Michelle Livingstone serves as a Grant Monitoring Analyst with the California Interagency Council on Homelessness since June 2022. Michelle joined Cal ICH (formerly HCFC) in November 2019 as a Grant Administration Analyst, where she helped to administer and disburse more than $1 billion in grants for local jurisdictions to prevent and end homelessness in California.
Before joining Cal ICH, she served as a Legislative Analyst with the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency from 2018 to 2019 and as a Legislative Assistant in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2016 to 2018. While in college, she interned at the University of California Office of the President from 2015 to 2016. Michelle earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science – Public Service at the University of California Davis in 2016.
Karen N. Perry
Karen N. Perry is the Executive Assistant for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness where she provides administrative support, scheduling assistance, and calendar management for the Deputy Secretary for Homelessness and Executive Officer. She also provides meeting support by developing agendas and meeting minutes and facilitating technology and site logistics.
Karen comes to Cal ICH with numerous years of experience in customer-oriented and public-facing roles with the California Highway Patrol, PG&E, and the legal field.
Brina Sylve has been with the California Interagency Council on Homelessness since July 2021. She serves as the Local Initiatives Coordinator, where she works with communities across the state to provide insight on homelessness in California.
Prior to joining Cal ICH, Brina was a Paralegal with the Office of General Counsel at the California Housing Finance Agency where she specialized in coordinating funding for multifamily affordable housing across California. She has also served on Sacramento Steps Forward’s Racial Equity Committee, where she conducted research into how race serves as a predictor of how people experience homelessness in Sacramento County. Through this work she was able to make connections with BIPOC communities experiencing homelessness and center their concerns and insights in the formation of a Racial Equity Action Plan. Having experienced housing instability and homelessness in her youth, Brina is passionate about making sure everyone has a place to call home in a just and equitable community.
Brina has a Bachelor of Arts from University of California Davis in Sociology and African and African American Studies.
Sydney Bennet is the Director of Research for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) where she focuses on using data and research to prevent and end homelessness in California. Her past work focused on designing data collection and analysis strategies that enabled data-informed approaches to state housing policy.
Before joining Cal ICH in December 2022, Sydney was a Senior Housing Data Specialist with the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). While at HCD, she led efforts to develop and implement the state's first housing data strategy, including coordinating with internal and external stakeholders. Sydney also worked on the first round of Homekey, an innovative statewide effort to sustain and rapidly expand housing for persons experiencing or at risk of homelessness. As a liaison between project sponsors and the state, Sydney provided technical assistance to ensure projects met the expedited program timeline.
Sydney previously worked as a Senior Research Associate at Apartment List where she analyzed data to produce research reports on the housing market. Her research was featured in local and national publications including Bloomberg, NPR, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. Sydney holds a Master of Public Policy from UC Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science with a Minor in Feminist Studies from UC Santa Barbara.
Elsie Ng supports the Data Integration Unit at the California Interagency Council on Homelessness. Her main responsibility is to provide project management and business analysis support for designing, developing, and managing the Homelessness Data Integration System (HDIS) for the State of California, in collaboration with Continuum of Cares (CoCs) and State agencies.
With over 16 years of project management and analytical experience, Elsie has consistently demonstrated the ability to lead complex corporate projects with impacts to multiple systems and across lines of business. Her breadth of project methodology experience extends from waterfall, JAD, to scrum. She has extensive agile project methodology experience that allows for iterative software development and shorter feedback cycles. She has a greenbelt certification in Six Sigma.
Elsie joins us after 6 years with the California Dental Association (CDA) where she was part of the startup team that launched a new nation-wide ecommerce dental supply business unit, offering 27,000 association members online shopping. She was responsible for managing user acceptance testing and operational readiness. In addition, she had the dual role of managing daily operational trouble tickets for the Hybris SAP ecommerce platform.
Before CDA, she was with Vision Service Plan in project management for 10 years. She developed a new consumer database that tracked the lifecycle of a consumer. The new database allowed business areas to monitor trends, target marketing, and various reporting capabilities. She graduated from CSU Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Amber Ostrander has been with the California Interagency Council on Homelessness since October 2019. She is currently the Manager of the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) Program where she leads and oversees a $650 million dollar grant program aiming to stimulate regional coordination between entities that provide services to the homeless and reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness.
Ms. Ostrander has over 20 years of experience in various leadership roles that entail program delivery, which include non-profits, state government entities, and school districts.
Prior to this role, Ms. Ostrander was a private consultant within Aurora Public Schools District. She worked on a program improvement and leverage strategy to bridge community resources with educational needs to ensure that schools, college and career centers and students were gaining the maximum benefits from volunteers and local organizations.
Ms. Ostrander also spent over 7 years working for the California Health and Human Services Agency where she led a team in all areas of Government Administration including budgets, procurement, human resources, project management, grant management and training and development.
Ms. Ostrander considers herself a jack of all trades, passionate about leadership and dedicated to public service. She is currently the Board President of First Love Yourself (FLY), Inc. and is involved in many volunteer organizations throughout Sacramento and San Francisco that serve vulnerable populations.
Ms. Ostrander holds a Masters in Education from Sacramento State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science/Health and Human Services from California State University, Chico.
Bea Gadduang is the Legislative Specialist for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness. Prior to joining Cal ICH, Bea worked on analyzing legislation as a Legislative Analyst for the Department of Housing and Community Development. In this role, she focused on housing policy, specifically relating to affordable housing, housing programs, and manufactured housing.
Prior to joining state civil service, Bea worked on affordable housing development and housing and homelessness services for a non-profit, American Family Housing. While at American Family Housing, she led the organization’s public policy efforts including advocacy, community engagement, and government affairs. She has also worked for a member of Congress, through the Panetta Institute of Public Policy, and has extensive experience developing and advocating for higher education policy.
Bea earned her B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Dominguez Hills and holds a Master of Public Policy degree from University of California Irvine.
Emily Moran-Vogt has been with the California Interagency Council on Homelessness since March 2020. Prior to this, she worked for the County of Yolo from 2012 to 2020. During that time, she was an Administrative Services Analyst specializing in homeless services for over 2 years. In this role, she supported the local homeless Continuum of Care (CoC) as the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Coordinator, providing staff support, and serving as the Secretary. She informed local policy through data analysis; research on best practices and federal, state, and local policy; and was responsible for the preparation of annual data reports submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and utilized locally to inform strategy, such as the: Point-in-Time Count, Housing Inventory Count, Systems Performance Measures, and Longitudinal Systems Analysis. She also has experience preparing grant applications, contracting, providing technical assistance to subcontractors, and project performance reporting for County contracted homeless programs.
Before that, she was an eligibility worker with the County of Yolo for over 5 years, assisting families access resources to meet their basic needs through the CalWORKs, CalFresh, and Medi-Cal programs.
She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from National University and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of California, Davis. She is also fluent in Spanish.
Jeannie McKendry serves as Grants Development Section Chief for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) with the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency. To this role, she brings over 15 years of public policy experience with social safety net programs. Jeannie is passionate about helping underserved communities and is honored to work with Cal ICH in their mission to prevent and end homelessness.
Prior to this position, Jeannie served as the Legislative Specialist with Cal ICH for over a year. Before that, she was a program and policy analyst in the Housing and Homelessness Branch at the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) for four years. In this role, she helped oversee the administration of six homeless services programs, including the CalWORKs Homeless Assistance Program; CalWORKs Housing Support Program; Bringing Families Home; Housing, Disability Advocacy Program; Home Safe; and Project Roomkey. Prior to that, she was a policy analyst with CalWORKs Eligibility in CDSS for ten years and with Medi-Cal Eligibility at the Department of Health Care Services for a year before that.
Jeannie graduated with honors from the University of California, Davis with a double bachelor's degree in Political Science and Anthropology.
Linda Ereikat is the Innovation Grants Analyst for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness working in the grants development section. Linda joined Cal-ICH in August 2022 after completing the 2021-2022 Capital Fellows Executive Fellowship program. During her fellowship, Linda was placed at the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency's Office of the Secretary where she worked on homelessness and housing policy, the state budget, and external affairs. Prior to her fellowship, Linda worked for a non-profit organization that provided free legal immigration services, youth programs, civic engagement, and case management services for the Arab and Muslim community in San Francisco from 2017-2021. She led the Case Management services program where she supported immigrant families and individuals with workforce development, finding affordable housing, navigating homelessness resources, accessing public benefits, and fought for language access. She served as the organization’s representative for the San Francisco Immigrant Legal Education Network (SFILEN).
Linda holds a Masters in Migration Studies from the University of San Francisco where she completed her thesis on identifying organizational best practices on how community service providers can empower and develop leadership in Arab migrant women. In addition, she has completed a Graduate Certificate in Applied Policy and Government from CSU Sacramento and completed her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from San Francisco State University.
Linda is the proud daughter of immigrants and became interested in government to advocate for the needs of the community at the state-level. Her experience in serving the community makes her an accountable, dedicated, and effective leader. Linda believes that we can and will end homelessness and is honored to serve Cal-ICH.
Harini Jambunathan joined the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) as a Business Intelligence Specialist in April 2021. Before joining Cal ICH, Harini was a Research Data Analyst in the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans).
Harini has spent over a decade in the field of computer and information technology with experience spanning hardware engineering, software engineering, and data science. She started her career as a Hardware Emulation Engineer at Intel where she worked on the Xeon® family of server processors. She then worked as a Senior Software Engineer in Broadcom's data center switching group. After nearly a decade in Silicon Valley, Harini decided to make the transition from private industry to public service and joined the State of California to tackle challenging problems at the intersection of data science and governance.
Harini holds an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her interests outside work include singing, baking, meditating, and gardening.
Giselle Sanchez serves as Statewide Homelessness Policy Specialist for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) since September 2022. She supports relationships with state departments, local communities, and other stakeholders and promotes best practices and knowledge sharing on homelessness strategies, including the state’s Housing First policies. Additionally, she provides support to the implementation of the Action Plan for Preventing and Ending Homelessness and the Cal ICH inter-agency work groups.
Giselle began at Cal ICH in June 2020 as a Graduate Student Assistant and assisted in policy, data, and research analysis for the Council. After, she continued at Cal ICH as Council Specialist. In this role she organized and executed the Quarterly Council Meetings. Prior to joining Cal ICH, Giselle was an officer manager assistant at a small landscaping business in the San Francisco Bay Area and a Supplemental Instructor at San José State University.
Giselle is dedicated to addressing racial disparities and promoting racial equity across California. Giselle holds a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Community Change and a minor in Justice Studies from San José State University and Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from California State University, Sacramento.
Cody Zeger is the Director of Statewide Policy for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness. Prior to joining Cal ICH, he received a Master of Public Policy degree from UC Berkeley where he focused on analyzing and improving public programs related to homelessness and housing. Additionally, he has years of experience conducting data analysis and overseeing program implementation in both public agencies and nonprofit organizations on these issues.
At Berkeley, Cody completed projects such as an evaluation of Alameda County’s Project Roomkey program, a literature review of effective anti-displacement policies, and a proposal for an innovative affordable housing development in Santa Fe, NM. In his prior professional work, he helped implement the San Francisco Chronic Homelessness Initiative, where he oversaw the initiative’s $100 million budget, managed a new housing subsidy program, and collected and analyzed program outcome data, among other responsibilities. He has also spent years volunteering with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s Syringe Access & Disposal program.
Cody firmly believes that we can end homelessness as we know it today. With the right resources and a commitment to uplift the expertise of those who have experienced homelessness, he knows we can provide everyone with a safe, accessible, and affordable place to live.
Sara Mahmoud joined the California Interagency Council on Homelessness in January 2022 as a Grants Capacity Building Analyst in the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH). Some of her responsibilities include designing and developing technical assistance (TA) and capacity building projects and initiatives, including managing TA contracts and opportunities for grantees. Prior to joining the BCSH, Sara worked as an Academic Assistant Coordinator for a non-profit organization where she led the development of the school’s Annual Self-Study Report. Her professional experience includes developing technical reports, policy research, and analyzing data using statistical techniques and tools. Outside of her work, Sara enjoys listening to John Mayer’s latest guitar riffs and following along on her Squier Bullet Telecaster guitar. Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento.
Ellen Meuchel serves as the Grants Monitoring Supervisor and has been with the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) since November 2021. Along with a team of analysts, she is charged with building out the first monitoring unit within Cal ICH. She comes to the Council with over 10 years of experience in the social services field.
Prior to Cal ICH, Ellen worked for the Department of Rehabilitation as a Cooperative Programs Specialist. In this role, she worked in collaboration with several partner agencies including Local Education Agencies, Community Colleges, and County Behavioral Health agencies to support the provision of vocational services for individuals with disabilities. Before this, Ellen worked as a Child Life Specialist at various hospitals within Northern California, where she supported children experiencing acute or chronic illnesses. In this role, she built multiple Child Life programs and found a passion for impacting change at a systems level. She brings this passion for program development and oversight to Cal ICH along with the mission to prevent and end homelessness in California.
Ellen holds a Master of Science in Behavioral Health from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelor of Science in Human Development from the University of California, Davis.
Andrea Clawson is a Grants Administration Analyst for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Prior to joining Cal ICH in November 2021, Andrea spent seven years in the life insurance industry as an Underwriting Specialist. In this role, Andrea evaluated the risk of insuring Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance by analyzing statistical data and using risk assessment strategies. Although enjoying her time in this role, Andrea has always had a passion for healthcare and is eager to be a part of the team focusing on preventing and ending homelessness in California.
Andrea graduated and earned a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of California, Sacramento. In her spare time, she loves playing roller derby, taking naps, and spending time with her husband and daughter.
Jeremy joined the California Interagency Council on Homelessness in December 2021 as a Research and Monitoring Analyst, assisting in the collection of data on homelessness from partners across the state.
Throughout his education and professional development, Jeremy’s focus has centered frequently on people experiencing homelessness. As a social work master’s student, Jeremy completed internships at two organizations focused on homelessness services, providing short-term case management and resources for families and individuals at Francis House Center, and delivering psychotherapy to individuals at Loaves and Fishes Sacramento’s Genesis Mental Health program. Jeremy was also a long-term volunteer at Loaves and Fishes in his teen years, serving meals in the kitchen and assisting teachers at the Mustard Seed preschool. For his master’s project, Jeremy conducted original research into the criminalization of homelessness in the Sacramento area, designing and conducting interviews with individuals experiencing homelessness, police officers, and homelessness service providers. All of these experiences have nurtured a deep commitment to serving those most vulnerable in the community and a firm belief in the possibility that homelessness can end in our lifetime. Jeremy feels immense gratitude for the opportunity to work with his fellow staff and the Council on such a profoundly important issue.
Jeremy holds a Master of Social Work degree from CSU Sacramento and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cognitive Science and Psychology from UC Berkeley. Outside of work, Jeremy is a frequent moviegoer, an avid gamer, and a recording musician.
Vevila Blossoming Bear
Vevila Blossoming Bear has been working with, for, and on behalf of California Tribes for twenty years, in numerous contexts that elevate the well-being of tribal communities.
Vevila served as the Native American Program Manager for the Office of Health Equity’s Community Development & Engagement Unit, overseeing urban and rural tribal, community-based health projects that preserved culture and elevated the visibility of traditional methods of healing.
For the California Department of Social Services, she served as a consultant for the Special Projects Bureau, where she led the development and implementation of tribal legislation in partnership with California Tribes, participated in and led racial equity initiatives, coordinated cultural responsiveness trainings for staff and supported the development of the agency’s first tribal consultation policy.
Vevila Blossoming Bear has provided consulting services to Native American and government organizations since 2008, providing services such as tribal outreach, grant development and management, and training government staff on the engagement of tribal communities-as well as the culturally appropriate implementation of statute.
Vevila is the former Chairperson for the Interstate Agency Workgroup to Eliminate Disparities; an interagency workgroup dedicated to culturally responsive state policies and procedures that reduce disparities for people of color across state systems. She has also served in other numerous leadership capacities in tribal projects including domestic violence prevention, crime and substance abuse prevention, and Indian child welfare.
Vevila has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Graduate Degree in Social Work, both from California State University, Chico.
As an individual who experienced homelessness as a youth, Vevila became interested in the alleviation of homelessness at an early age. She is a longtime volunteer for organizations that serve the homeless, has a published needs assessment of the homelessness issue (2001), and has formerly developed and coordinated tribal housing programs.
Emery Reifsnyder is a Research Data Specialist for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness. Emery comes to Cal ICH from California Housing and Community Development, where he administered the REAP 2.0 Grant and provided technical assistance on Housing Elements in the AMBAG Region.
Emery received a Master of City Planning degree from UC Berkeley in 2022, where he focused on using data science and visualization to investigate housing policy, tax subsidies for the wealthy, displacement, and climate change mitigation strategies. While at Berkeley, Emery worked at the Urban Displacement Project, where he researched innovative data sources to fill gaps in the housing data landscape and co-authored the California Estimated Displacement Risk Model.
Emery previously worked as a Research Analyst at Strategic Economics, an urban economics and planning firm in Berkeley, where he led data analysis and mapping on projects like housing elements, specific plans, economic impact studies, feasibility studies, and transit-oriented development plans for municipalities in California and across the country. His Interests outside work include movies, music, basketball, running, and hiking.
Prior to joining CAL ICH, Molly served as the Program Manager for the Coalition of Homeless Service Providers, Monterey and San Benito Counties' Continuum of Care lead agency. In that role, she managed all Federal, State, and Private funding contracts, monitored sub-recipient compliance for the Continuum of Care (CoC) program, and supported general CoC activities such as the Point in Time Count and the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Before being promoted to Program Manager, she served as the Coordinated Entry Program Coordinator where she managed the CoC wide Coordinated Entry System through referral selection and oversight, end-user training, and policy development and implementation. In addition, she was a part of helping the CoC secure $5.5 million in grant funding for the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP), a federal program specifically designed to address youth homelessness.
She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University, Monterey Bay and is currently working towards her Masters of Public Administration from Rutgers University. Her dedication to being a part of the solutions around ending homelessness began in her undergraduate studies where she was fortunate enough to conduct and publish her own experimental study on the perceptions of the causes of homelessness.
In her free time, Molly enjoys photography, drinking lots of coffee, playing with her two puppies, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Rachael Austin has been with the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) since February 2022 as a member of grants monitoring team. She comes to the Council with 10 years of non-profit grant program experience and a breadth of experience working with California grants – from boots on the ground to oversight and fiscal management.
Prior to joining Cal ICH, Rachael served as Grants Manager at Empower Yolo, a large Yolo County non-profit providing victim and family resource services. During that time, she oversaw all grant related responsibilities for numerous state and federally funded housing and victim services programs. She developed procedures for grant financial management, developed reporting tools and documents, managed the agency database software, and provided grant related training and fiscal oversight. Rachael served Empower Yolo in numerous other roles from 2016 to 2022, including Human Resources Manager, Lead Client Navigator, Data Analyst, Steps to Success Program Manager, and as a Sexual Assault Response Advocate.
Before that, she instructed classes at Sacramento County’s Probation Department, and prior to moving to California was a Victim Services Advocate and a Prevention Educator in West Virginia. Rachael has exhibited a lifelong passion for working with community members in need and is honored to serve the state of California in the mission to prevent and end homelessness.
Rachael’s educational background is rooted in social research methods and behavioral science, and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from West Virginia University.
Daniela is currently serving as the Local Initiative Analyst providing program support for Cal ICH work in collecting information on strategies to inform policies, and to identify and coordinate resources and services to address homelessness in California. Before joining Cal ICH, Daniela held the role of a Project Coordinator at Brilliant Corners. She provided support for Brilliant Corners scattered-site supportive housing and rapid rehousing programs that housed thousands of formerly homeless people and those at risk of homelessness each year. She's honored to be part of collaborating work in advocating for transformative system change and to continue embracing the Housing First mindset.
Jorge is a Capacity Building Analyst for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness. Prior to joining Cal ICH, Jorge held various positions. After graduating, he worked for Maruchan as a Project Manager. His duty was to oversee the logistics operations within Latin America which included Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Mexico. At Maruchan, he helped customers in these countries reduce their costs and efforts by planning their container demands.
After that position, Mr. Aceves worked as a Store Manager for Sherwin Williams where he helped customers with problems/project at hand. He helped them to understand the products and provided recommendations depending on their budget. Due to great customer service, they always achieved and excelled in their sales goals.
Lastly, he was hired as a Logistics and Data Analyst for Google Maps. He was hired to improve and streamline the workflow process. He helped resolve issues affecting the Latin America teams and vendors. Jorge also managed the logistics of all the data drives used for Google Maps; helped develop process guidelines, and improved the turn-around time from 3 weeks to 24 hrs.
Jorge was born in Mexico and moved to the US when he was 15 years old. He completed his education at San Diego State University and graduated with 3 degrees from SDSU, Universidad de Valparaiso in Chile, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California in Mexico.
In his free time, he enjoys volunteering for various organizations such as Little Brothers, the Latino Community Foundation, the Junior Board for Big Brother Big Sister Program, Technolochicas and lastly the International Rescue Committee.
Abegail Aquino joined the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) as Information Technology Manager I in October 2022. Before joining Cal ICH, she was an Information Technology Supervisor II in the Employment Development Department (EDD). She supervised a team that handles the maintenance and support of the Accounting and Compliance Enterprise System (ACES).
Abegail has completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science (Major in Information Technology) from Saint Louis University in Baguio City, Philippines in March 1998.
She was hired as a Business Intelligence Consultant at Nexus Technologies in the Philippines. She developed technical skills in the areas of ETL (Extract, Transform, Load), query design for optimal report, multi-dimensional data modeling through OLAP (Online Analytical Processing), and others.
With the above experience, she had the opportunity to work for Johnson & Johnson Group of Companies, headquartered in Singapore, in various IT BI (Business Intelligence) capacities. In both roles, she managed the development of Enterprise Sales BI that catered to the Asia Pacific Markets. The objective is to have a single portal to view overall regional sales, targets and quota, brand, customers and sales rep performance.
Migrating to California in 2014, she joined the Nutrition Services Division of the California Department of Education. She was the lead from the IT side for the Direct Certification Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The project aims to optimize the match between households receiving CalFresh CalWorks, and Medi-CAL and the children (0-18) attending schools to qualify for a free or reduced-price meal without needing to submit a paper application. She went on to manage the Child Nutrition Information & Payment Systems (CNIPS) which is a web-based system for local sponsor of the federal food programs to submit and track the status of their application, claims, changes and commodity requests. She has implemented a mobile application, CA Meals for Kids, that is downloadable from App Store and Google Play.
She discovered her green thumb during the pandemic and is currently growing her succulents and houseplants collection.
Crystal has joined the Grants Division as the supervisor over the Technical Assistance Unit. She will be working with CAL ICH to develop a technical assistance plan that will support grantees in improving their homelessness response system and utilizing grant funding effectively in their communities. Crystal has prior experience with grants management from the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) where she was a part of the Sexual Assault Unit. Crystal provided guidance and technical assistance to grantees receiving funding to implement programs that support sexual assault victims. This included the development, implementation, maintenance and monitoring of these projects throughout the state. Before this, Crystal worked as a Disability Evaluation Analyst, where she processed Social Security claims for the Social Security Administration through the Department of Social Services.
She has held numerous positions that serve the vulnerable populations and has a passion for helping the homelessness population. Crystal has spent over 20 years volunteering and feeding the homeless through her local church.
Crystal has a great deal of experience serving as a lead to new staff members in various roles throughout her career and is passionate about leadership. Crystal holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government and a Master of Arts in Public Administration and Organizational Leadership.
Monica Tarbuskovich has joined the Grants Division as a Technical Assistance Analyst for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness. Prior to joining Cal ICH, Monica served the citizens of Sacramento County as a 911 dispatcher/first responder. She was a leading Communications Training Officer, training and mentoring new 911 dispatchers and assisting in creating more inclusive policies and procedures. During her time in 911 dispatching, she also served as a liaison between high-level functioning groups as a Tactical Dispatcher, often deploying to critical incidents. Monica fostered dependable and trustworthy relationships with her fellow 911 dispatchers, earning her the peer-voted “Dispatcher of the Year” award in 2019. Prior to joining civil service, Monica worked in property management, housing development, and housing services. She has over a decade of experience in managing multi-million dollar investment properties, project management, training and development, and marketing strategies.
Monica is passionate about supporting our unhoused community with the Housing First approach, knowing firsthand the stigma and disruption that experiencing homelessness has on an individual. Having experienced food insecurity, housing instability, and homelessness in her youth, Monica comes to Cal ICH with passion, drive, and determination to support preventing and ending homelessness in California. Monica has earned her A.S. in Psychology and looks forward to continuing her education.
Monica has been a volunteer Crisis Counselor for The Trevor Project for 3 years and previously volunteered with Crisis Text Line. In her free time, Monica enjoys hanging out and traveling with her husband, daughter, and Aussie-doodle Sabre. You can find her at a hot yoga class, listening to true crime podcasts, or tending to her many plants she has collected over the last year.
Roger Price is the Public Information Officer for Cal ICH. He serves as the media contact for the Council and its staff, manages social media channels, and assists in event planning in coordination with the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Communications and External Affairs teams.
Roger has spent his professional career researching, analyzing and sharing complex topics with a wide variety of audiences, first as a journalist and then in public service. Roger holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Nebraska and has worked as a reporter, photographer, page designer, copy editor, online editor and project manager at newspapers in Nebraska, Maine, Michigan, Alaska and California.
In 2021, Roger joined the staff for Cal ICH’s predecessor, the Homeless Coordination and Financing Council, as a Local Initiatives Specialist where he collected and shared best practices with local governments and continuums of care.
In 2018, he joined the California Department of Public Health as a birth and marriage analyst where he served as the liaison with hospitals, local health departments and county officials to ensure the accurate and timely registration of vital records. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Roger was called to serve as the project manager for the Equity Team on the state’s multi-agency Testing Task Force, working to make testing resources available to every Californian who needed them. He also assisted them in the rollout of testing for schools statewide to help students safely return to class.
Roger commutes by bicycle whenever possible, enjoys long rides along Sacramento’s rivers and bike touring vacations. He has ridden over the Andes as he crossed Patagonia from the Pacific to the Atlantic, explored Sicily and southern Italy by bike, and pedaled around California from the giant North Coast redwoods to the depths of Death Valley.
Leah Vang is a Budget Specialist at the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH). Prior to joining, she served in various roles within the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) from 2007 to 2022, including Budget Manager. In that role, Leah performed a wide variety of complex and technical processes with the development of the Governor’s annual budget and worked closely with the Department of Finance.
Leah graduated from the California State University, Sacramento, with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science.
Nykole serves as the Statewide Action Plan Specialist for Cal ICH. Prior to joining the Cal ICH team, Nykole worked in both policy and direct services for people experiencing homelessness. She served as the Program Manager for Bay Area Community Services during the inaugural year of the SHARE (Salinas Housing Advancement Resource and Education) Center – a county-wide navigation center in Salinas. She joined BACS from the Coalition of Homeless Services Providers (CHSP), the Monterey/San Benito Continuum of Care, where she served as Contracts Compliance Coordinator and then Program Manager.
Nykole is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, a journey she took after graduating from Cal State Channel Islands with her BA in Performing Arts - Theatre. Her Peace Corps service fueled her passion to serve and led her to the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, where she received her Master’s degree in International Policy and Development with a focus in Conflict Resolution and Social Justice. Nykole is committed to using her opportunity and privilege to empower and uplift others, as those around her have done for her.
In her free time, Nykole enjoys being outdoors – whether hiking, paddleboarding, or taking a stroll with her dogs.
Gullalai joined the California Interagency Council on Homelessness in March 2023 as a Grants Analyst. Her role involves providing support for the development and implementation of grant policies, as well as managing specialized grant projects and initiatives.
With over ten years of experience in Grants and Proposals development, strategic planning, fundraising, and project management, Gullalai has focused on themes such as Human Rights, Gender Equity, Peace and Pluralism in South Asia, particularly in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has held senior positions in various types of organizations, including grassroots non-profit organizations like Khwendo Kor, government departments such as the Ombudsperson for the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace, educational institutions like the University of Peshawar, and international humanitarian organizations like the International Rescue Committee.
Gullalai has participated in two prestigious fellowship programs, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) by the US Department of the State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the Protective Fellowship Program for Human Rights Defenders by the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York, United Kingdom.
Currently Gullalai serves as a member of the Board of Directors for a couple of networks and organizations including the Women Regional Network (Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Sri Lanka). She is also pursuing a graduate degree in Gender Equity from California State University Sacramento.
Claire serves as a Council Coordination Manager for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness. Prior to joining the Cal ICH team, Claire worked in direct services with people experiencing homelessness who had contact with the criminal justice system. She comes to the team from her role as Director of the North A Street Shelter in Sacramento with First Step Communities (FSC) and established the 2023 Mobile Temporary Shelter in Auburn, CA. Prior to FSC, she worked as a Transition Specialist with the Placer County Reentry Program (PREP), serving people in-custody and under community supervision. Claire’s role included being an intensive case manager and facilitating evidence-based cognitive behavioral classes to help clients reduce their risk of re-offending and successfully transitioning back into the community. She joined PREP from her role as Case Manager for the Single Homeless Project in London, UK, at a housing unit for high-risk males being released from prison.
Claire’s educational experience includes a BA in Criminal Justice from Temple University with Summa Cum Laude honors. When graduating from Temple, she was awarded the Criminal Justice Faculty Award given by the department for outstanding academic performance and community service. Claire also earned her MSC in Criminal Justice Policy from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 2015 and graduated with Merit. While studying at LSE, she started her own charity called the Provision Project in London, which provided unsheltered individuals with basic supplies for survival in London.
In her free time, Claire enjoys traveling, ceramics, and being outside cycling, rock climbing, hiking and camping.
Alexzandria Le Tourneau
Alexzandria Le Tourneau is a Grants Analyst for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness, working in the grant’s development section. Alex joined Cal-ICH in April 2023. During her career, she helped reduce recidivism by creating programs that aide parolees in obtaining a career, housing, and family reunification. She also helped in feeding children during the summer months and created outreach services for the at-risk community.
Alex holds a BA in Political Science and Minors in English, History and Jewish Studies from the University of California, Davis. Alex is the proud mother of two boys and enjoys supporting them in their academia as well as their extra-curricular activities. Her experience in serving the at-risk community shows her loving support of those in need. She is accountable and dedicated in making a difference; she believes we are only as strong as our weakest and homelessness does not equal Jobless. Alexzandria knows homelessness will end and she is grateful to serve Cal-ICH.
Molly Miller is a Research Data Specialist for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness. She is a graduate of the Master of Public Policy program at UC Berkeley, where she supported research related to affordable housing and homelessness. As a student, she also assessed gaps in access to long-term care for the Department of Health Care Services and supported data transparency efforts for the Department of Finance’s federal funds unit. Prior to graduate school, Molly was an AmeriCorps volunteer at a legal clinic in New York City that helped clients with consumer debt issues. She has also worked as an audience research analyst in the film/TV industry but is more likely to learn about TV shows and movies from podcasts than from watching TV shows or movies. In her free time, she likes hiking, reading, and running in the woods. She is committed to supporting efforts across the state that are ending and preventing homelessness and working to ensure that everyone has access to a safe and stable home.
Prior to joining Cal ICH, Nathan worked at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) where he was the manager of the Local Emergency Preparedness Unit. During his time at CDPH, he managed local emergency preparedness grants and contracts, provided technical assistance to local health jurisdictions regarding their work plans and budgets, collected and tracked grantees performance measures, coordinated local work groups for information sharing and process improvement. Additionally, he was the Planning and Intelligence Section Coordinator for the COVID-19 and wildfires responses. In this role, Nathan created and distributed the response action plans and situation reports to internal and external stakeholders.
Nathan holds a Master of Public Administration degree with a graduate certificate in Emergency Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology with a minor in Public Service and Public Policy.
Erik Fruth is a Grants Data Specialist at Cal ICH. Prior to joining, he worked as a Housing Data Analyst at the Department of Housing and Community Development, where he specialized in creating visualizations and providing data analysis for several housing programs, including the Homekey program. Before entering State service, Erik worked for the City of Thousand Oaks supporting the creation of the city’s first Climate and Environmental Action Plan. Erik holds a MSc degree in Environmental Planning from the Technical University of Berlin and BA degrees in Global Studies and German from California Lutheran University.
Homelessness and housing insecurity has had a major impact on Cody and his immediate family. While working to complete his Bachelor’s in Mathematics at UC Davis, his parents and younger sibling experienced episodes of unsheltered homelessness and housing instability. Witnessing the challenges that they faced and working to provide them support as they navigated sheltered living and other assistance programs, has had a lasting impact on his view of homelessness. Cody feels strongly that homelessness can impact anyone experiencing the wrong combination of bad luck and financial hardships. He is excited to work to support more accessible and effective efforts to prevent and end homelessness across the state. Outside of work, you will find Cody in the garden or cooking in the kitchen.
Jing Yi Li
Jing Yi Li is a Business Intelligence Specialist and plays an integral role in leading and supporting the maintenance and operation of the HDIS and other upcoming initiatives. She is honored to be involved in making a positive impact on the lives of people experiencing homelessness in California. She believes that everyone deserves a safe and stable place to call home, and she is passionate about using her skills to help Cal ICH achieve its goal. Jing graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 2022. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, baking, and doing Pilates.
Gabrielle Watson is an Analyst with the Local Initiatives Team of Cal ICH, serving as the lead on encampments and unsheltered homelessness. In her role she collects, documents and analyzes information related to a continuum of services and strategies for the development of resources and information sharing to support rehousing people experiencing homelessness from unsheltered settings.
Before joining the Cal ICH team, Gabrielle was Program Director of a tiny cabin community called “The Grove” with First Step Communities. While there, she worked to get young folks into permanent housing by promoting a warm and welcoming environment where trust and respect were the core values of all staff. Upon Gabrielle’s departure, an average of 60% of all shelter occupants were getting into permanent housing.
Prior to joining the team with FSC, Gabrielle was the Outreach Manager for Sacramento Steps Forward. In this role she led the Outreach Team’s daily operations and directly managed 11 unique contracts. Initially hired by Sacramento Steps Forward as an Outreach Worker in the River District, Watson was promoted to Outreach Manager after demonstrating her compassionate ability to work with and house some of the most chronically homeless individuals in Sacramento. She also spent time as CoC Coordinator at SSF where she facilitated and supported each of the CoC Committees, as well as the Advisory Board.
Watson is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Jaspreet Bains is a Technical Assistance Analyst at Cal ICH. Prior to Cal ICH, he worked as an Employment Program Representative at the Employment Development Department, where he served as a Youth Employment Opportunity Program (YEOP) Mentor, Northern Division Workshop Lead, Trade Adjustment Assistant Specialist, and processed business tax credits for Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). He has experience working with at-risk youth, creating contracts, invoices, and monitoring reports for unemployment insurance claimants who lost their jobs due to international trade.
Jaspreet holds a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources Management and an MBA in Business Administration from California State University Stanislaus.
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