Set in Los Angeles California, the core intent of the Sanders Institute Gathering is to share replicable policies, develop actionable steps, establish ongoing networks and articulate a progressive vision.

About the event

THE GATHERING

LOS ANGELES, CA + April 3 - 5, 2024

In Los Angeles – arguably the epicenter of the nationwide homelessness and unaffordability epidemic – we focused on the housing crisis, sharing innovative initiatives and replicable solutions.

The experience of a growing number of communities and the impact of this crisis on vulnerable populations and on the community-at-large made this a timely, thought-provoking, and relevant discussion.

Affordable housing models, such as social housing, adaptive reuse, and community land trusts – and quality of life issues, such as mental health, substance abuse, and residential care – along with climate resilience and climate justice are just a few of the topics we addressed.

Wednesday, April 3rd

The Line Hotel, Second Floor
3:00 pm
Registration Table Opens
7:00 pm
Reception in Openaire Restaurant at The Line Hotel, Second Floor
7:30 pm
Opening Remarks:
Dr. Jane O'Meara Sanders, The Sanders Institute
U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez
U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal
Mayor of Los Angeles Karen Bass
8:00 pm
Dinner
8:45 pm
U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna
9:00 pm
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

Thursday, April 4th

The Line Hotel, Second Floor
7:30 am
Registration Table Opens
8:15 am
Breakfast
9:15 am - 9:30 am
Perpetually Affordable Housing: Protect, Preserve and Produce
Michael Weinstein, President and Co-founder, Aids Healthcare Foundation
9:30 am - 10:15 am
Global Perspectives: Exploring Social Housing Models for Sustainable Communities
Assemblymember Alex Lee and Mayor of South San Francisco James Coleman
10:30 am - 11:15 am
Proposition 1: Housing for the Homeless, Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services
California Governor Gavin Newsom, Mayor of Sacramento Darrell Steinberg, California Secretary of Health & Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly
11:30 am - 12:15 pm
Race, Education & Addressing the Youth Homelessness Crisis
Dr. Joseph Bishop, Dr. Tyrone Howard
12:15 pm
Lunch
1:15 pm - 2:00 pm
U.S. Congress Roundtable: Policy Perspectives on the Housing Crisis
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, U.S. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, U.S. Congressman Ro Khanna
2:15 pm - 3:00 pm
Leadership in Housing Issues: Insights from Community Leaders
Michael Weinstein, Rep. Hugo Martinez, Ada Briceño, Denny Zane, Ericka Lesley
3:30 pm - 4:15 pm
Weathering the Storm: Climate Resilience & Housing Security as a Core Theme in Housing Policy
Saket Soni, Jamie Court, Pramila Jayapal
4:30 pm - 5:15 pm
Honoring Service: VA Land Can Provide Housing Solutions for Veterans
Mark Rosenbaum, Benjamin Henwood, Rob Reynolds

Friday, April 5th

The Line Hotel, Second Floor
7:30 am
Registration Table Opens
8:15 am
Breakfast
9:15 am - 10:00 am
Building Better Communities: Community Land Trusts and Faith-Based Housing Collaborations
Grace Dyrness, Maribel Nunez, Jeff Green
10:15 am - 11:00 am
Transitions: Educating, Supporting & Housing Children
Carolyn Fowler, Tara Ford, Rachel Stein, Iziko Calderon
11:45 am - 12:30 pm
Housing Crisis: View from the Community
Larry Gross, Alan Minsky, Councilmember Carroll Fife, Anne Miskey
12:30 pm
Lunch
1:30 pm - 1:45 pm
Presentation: The Statewide California Study of People Experiencing Homelessness
Dr. Margot Kushel
1:45 pm - 2:30 pm
Proposition 1: Strengthening Behavioral Health Through Effective Implementation
Dr. Margot Kushel, Michael Lighty, Paul Kumar, Sarah Mahin
2:30 pm
Closing Plenary
Sanders Institute Executive Director Dave Driscoll, Dr. Jane O'Meara Sanders
Google Map
Venue Location
This Sanders Institute Gathering was held at The LINE Hotel LA, nestled amidst the historic pre-1940 brick colonial revival buildings of Koreatown. This mid-century venue is conveniently situated within a 4-mile radius of iconic landmarks such as the Staples Center, Los Angeles Convention Center, and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and is also less than 4 miles from the Hollywood district.

The Gathering 2024 Los Angeles: Speakers

Senator Bernie Sanders (2024)
Bernie Sanders is serving his third term in the U.S. Senate after winning re-election in 2018. His previous 16 years in the House of Representatives make him the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history.

Born in 1941 in Brooklyn, Sanders attended James Madison High School, Brooklyn College and the University of Chicago. After graduating in 1964, he moved to Vermont. In 1981, he was elected (by 10 votes) to the first of four terms as mayor of Burlington. Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York before his 1990 election as Vermont’s at-large member in Congress.

The Almanac of American Politics calls Sanders a “practical and successful legislator.” Throughout his career he has focused on the shrinking American middle class and the growing income and wealth gaps in the United States. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Sanders in 2014 passed legislation reforming the VA health care system. Congressional Quarterly said he was able “to bridge Washington’s toxic partisan divide and cut one of the most significant deals in years.”

Today, Sanders remains on the veterans committee and was tapped by Senate leadership to be the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. He also serves on the Environment and Public Works Committee, where he has focused on global warming and rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. He is a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where he has championed efforts to transform our energy system from fossil fuels to renewable power sources like solar and wind. He also sits on the Senate Budget Committee, which he was chairman of last Congress, and led the committee’s fight against corporate greed.

Senator Bernie Sanders

US Senator (I) VT

Ada Briceno
Ada Briceño has dedicated her career to building grassroots organizations among working families, uplifting marginalized voices, and bringing together diverse communities into powerful progressive coalitions. In addition to union organizing and political work, she has led social justice campaigns including for immigrant rights, women’s rights, and environmental justice. The Orange County Register named her in their “100 Most Influential” four times.

Ada Briceño immigrated to the United States from Nicaragua at age 7. Her family fled a hostile dictatorship. Today, Ada serves as Co-President of UNITE-HERE Local 11, representing over 32,000 hotel workers in Southern California and Arizona. Ada sits on the National Steering Committee Member for the Labor Campaign for Single-Payer fighting for Medicare for All, and she is an instrumental part of living wage efforts.

For over 25 years, Ada has worked to help transform Orange County by expanding the electorate, helping immigrant families become citizens, registering voters in under-represented Latino communities, and improving voting rights and voting access. She was elected Chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County in 2019, and she is the first immigrant to hold that role.

In 2020, Ada was elected a Democratic National Committee Member representing California. As a DNC member, Ada has strengthened an inclusive and accessible national organization, encouraging women to run for office and lifting up under-represented voices from immigrants, the working poor, and communities of color.

Ada Briceno

Coming Soon

Alan Minsky
Alan MInsky is the Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA).
Before joining PDA in 2018, Alan worked as a journalist for over two decades. He was the Program Director at KPFK Radio Los Angeles and the Coordinator of Pacifica Radio's national political coverage. He launched the original podcasts for The Nation and Jacobin Magazines; and is the co-creator of the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. Alan frequently contributes articles to The Nation, Truthdig, Common Dreams, and other journals.

Back in 2000, Alan co-founded the Los Angeles Independent Media Center; and in the summer of 2011, having completed a project with the magazine Adbusters, Alan became one of the first organizers of Occupy Wall Street.

Alan Minsky

Coming Soon

Anne Miskey
Anne Miskey is a highly respected and accomplished leader who recently served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Union Station Homeless Services. With her extensive experience and expertise, Anne is widely recognized as a national expert in developing innovative and effective strategies to end homelessness. She has been recognized for her leadership during times of chaos and was nominated as a woman CEO by the Los Angeles Business Journal as part of their Women's Leadership Series and Awards.

Anne is deeply committed to advocating for and empowering the most vulnerable members of society, and she has a proven track record of creating long-term positive change and building strong support systems for those experiencing poverty, violence, racism, and homelessness. Prior to joining Union Station Homeless Services, Anne was the CEO of the Downtown Women's Center and the first-ever Executive Director of Funders Together to End Homelessness.

Throughout her career, Anne has worked closely with government agencies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Labor to champion support for vulnerable individuals and families in the areas of housing, health, and employment.

In addition to her work at Union Station Homeless Services, Anne is a sought-after speaker and community leader who fosters conversations about the systemic issues that drive homelessness and works to debunk myths about those experiencing homelessness. She was invited to speak at the White House on topics related to women and youth homelessness and has played a key role in former First Lady Michelle Obama's Joining Forces Campaign to support veterans.

Anne is also actively involved in various community initiatives. She serves as Commissioner on the City of Pasadena's Health & Human Services Commission and was on the National Board for the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC), a nonprofit dedicated to the intersection of human services, healthcare, and affordable housing. She has also served as co-chair of the Business Oversight Committee of Councilmember John Kennedy's "We Must Breathe" advisory group, which aimed to achieve racial equality in Pasadena businesses and organizations. She served on the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Ad Hoc Committee on Women's Homelessness and the Steering Committee for the Provider Alliance, a network of over 70 nonprofit organizations working on homelessness.

Anne spent much of her life in western and central Canada before moving to the United States. She received a Bachelor of Arts in history and theater from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta and a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Toronto.

Podcast: https://changingthenarrativepodcast.buzzsprout.com/

Anne Miskey

Housing & Homelessness Expert and Advocate

Alex Lee
Alex Lee (李天明) represents California’s 24th Assembly District which includes the Alameda County communities of Fremont, Newark, and Sunol, and the Santa Clara County communities of Milpitas and San Jose.
Assemblymember Lee was elected in 2020, and became the youngest Asian American legislator ever elected and the first openly bisexual state legislator in California history. He currently Chairs three committees: The Committee on Human Services, the Select Committee on Social Housing, and the Legislative Progressive Caucus. He is also a member of the Committee on Housing and Community Development, the Committee on Labor and Employment, and the Budget Subcommittee on Human Services.

Alex Lee

Assemblymember

Benjamin Henwood
Benjamin Henwood, PhD, LCSW is the Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health at the University of Southern California (USC). He directs the Center for Homelessness, Housing and Health Equity Research at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and co-directs the Homeless Policy Research Institute at the USC Sol Price School of Social Policy. Trained a clinical social worker and researcher, Dr. Henwood is an expert in health and housing services research whose work connects clinical interventions with social policy. He is a co-author of the book “Housing First,” published by Oxford University Press, and lead the launch of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare grand challenge to end homelessness. Dr. Henwood’s research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Patient Centered Research Outcomes Institute, and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. His research on guaranteed basic income for people experiencing homelessness was recently funded by Google.org. Since 2017, Dr. Henwood has served as the methodological lead for the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, which is the largest unsheltered count in the United States.

Benjamin Henwood

Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health at the University of Southern California

Carolyn Fowler
CAROLYN FOWLER BIOGRAPHY

Carolyn Fowler is a distinguished former AT&T executive and currently serves as the Government Affairs Advisor for LAUSD Board member Dr. George J. McKenna III. She is deeply involved in her community, holding the position of DNC member and serving as the California State President of the National Federation of Democratic Women (NFDW). Additionally, she is the Controller for the California Democratic Party and Chair of the Women's Caucus. Her leadership extends to being the former Lead-Co-Chair of the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee.

Ms. Fowler is also a dedicated member of the City of Inglewood Planning Commission. As Vice Chair and Senior Assembly Member of the California Senior Legislature, her legislative efforts include a successful proposal for oral health care in skilled nursing facilities, which resulted in a bill signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Carolyn is a key member of the L.A. County Voting Solutions For All People Advisory Committee (VSAP). Her exceptional leadership and contributions have earned her numerous accolades, including the California Legislative Black Caucus Unsung Shero Award and National Action Network Los Angeles Vanguard Award for Extraordinary Leadership.

In addition to her professional achievements, Carolyn is an active member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, IAM Local 1932, California Black Women's Collective (CABWC), and the California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA).

She holds a BA in Business Administration from the University of Michigan and has completed the Wharton Global MBA International Certificate program at Pennsylvania State University. Carolyn resides in Inglewood, California.

Carolyn Fowler

Government Affairs Advisor for LAUSD Board member Dr. George J. McKenna III

Carroll Fife
Carroll Fife is a mother, an organizer, and a "hell-raising humanitarian" committed to doing her part to build strong, healthy communities. After decades of work in education, human services, and grassroots organizing, Carroll was "volun-told" to run for office by her movement family and residents city-wide. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she took on the challenge.
As a founder of Moms for Housing, Carroll has fought to make the human right to housing state law in California and the San Francisco Bay Area. Her activism in the streets and her work inside the halls of power seek to protect and grow the rights of the voiceless. Her actions have inspired a host of legislative actions while capturing the attention of supporters worldwide.
Councilmember Fife's primary mission is to build lasting relationships in diverse communities by strengthening connections to people, the planet, and our shared humanity. Carroll's historic campaign win in 2020 was supported by virtually every endorsing entity in Oakland and powered by over 1000 active volunteers. Her campaign engine has transitioned into a permanent political organization dedicated to civic engagement and education, supporting transformative legislation, and building progressive electoral majorities in Oakland, California, and abroad.

Carroll Fife

Council member

Denny Zane
Denny Zane grew up in the Inland Empire, the son of a steelworker and a nurse. He moved to Los Angeles to attend Occidental College, graduating with the Class of 1969, a philosophy major and a student anti-war organizer. In 1979, Zane’s organizing skills led to voter approval of a rent control measure in Santa Monica, California, followed by three terms on the Santa Monica City Council, including a term as Mayor. He formulated much of Santa Monica’s successful affordable housing policies, the strategy to create the Third Street Promenade and novel zoning policies to enable multifamily housing in mixed-use developments on commercial boulevards before it became popular.

Zane served as the Executive Director of the Coalition for Clean Air in the early 1990’s, authoring the legislation to create the Carl Moyer Program to fund alternatives to diesel-fueled trucks. In 2007 he founded Move LA to convene environmental, labor, and business leaders to champion two sales tax ballot measures to fund the massive transit expansion now going on in LA County. Measures R (2008) and M (2016) each received over two-thirds voter support and will together generate $120 B over 40 years. Shortly thereafter, Zane proposed a measure to Supervisor Ridley-Thomas to raise over $600 M/year to fund services for homeless persons. Measure H was also approved by LA County voters on March 4, 2017, by more than two-thirds vote.

In 2019, Zane convened social justice and tenant advocates and labor leaders in the City of Los Angeles to formulate Measure ULA to raise hundreds of millions of dollars each year to prevent homelessness and build affordable housing. On November 8, 2022, LA voters approved Measure ULA.
Denny is now working on the Justice for Renters Act, a statewide California measure, sponsored by AHF, that will restore local control over rent control laws and developing a Southern California regional climate, clean air and transit ballot measure. He still lives in Santa Monica with his wife, Gabriele Morgan, and his 27-year old son, Alex, nearby.

Denny Zane

Former Executive Director of the Coalition for Clean Air

Darrell Steinberg
Darrell Steinberg is the Mayor of Sacramento and was the Senate President pro Tempore in the California Legislature. He is one of Sacramento’s most accomplished public servants, serving the Sacramento community for over 20 years.
Steinberg represented California’s capital city in the California Legislature from 1998 - 2014 and was the first Sacramentan to serve as President of the Senate in over 125 years. Steinberg earned a reputation for confronting seemingly intractable problems and delivering results for California through consensus-building.
Elected to the Senate in 2006, Steinberg became President pro Tempore in late 2008, at the deep end of the economic downturn when the state faced an unimaginable $42 billion deficit. Two years later, he was honored with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award by the Kennedy Library Foundation in recognition of his leadership in bipartisan negotiations leading to the state’s fiscal recovery.
Throughout his entire career, Steinberg led the Legislature on numerous complex issues, including the 2009 and 2014 state water agreements, criminal justice reform, and reinvesting over a billion dollars in career technical education. He led the common-sense pension reform eliminating flagrant abuses of the system. He authored legislation to expedite the legal process for large-scale environmentally sustainable projects. Steinberg also teamed up with Republican lawmakers to eradicate frivolous lawsuits and improve the Americans with Disabilities Act while motivating businesses to accommodate disabled customers.

Steinberg has been a relentless advocate for mental healthcare, calling it “the under-attended issue in our time and in our society.” Heralded within the mental health community as the “most transformative figure mental health has ever seen,” Steinberg authored Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, creating a one billion-dollar system for dynamic mental healthcare in California. He continued his work by fighting to fund 2,000 new mental health crisis beds in the 2014-2015 state budget. He also passed legislation to mandate insurance companies to cover treatment of children with autism and related disorders.
At the local level, Steinberg played a key role in Sacramento’s downtown revitalization, obtaining state funding for a new courthouse, which is expected to create 1,800 jobs for the city. Steinberg also fought for state monies for career pathways to connect high school students to 21st century jobs, delivering millions of dollars to Sacramento area schools in the first round of funding. Since assuming office in December 2016, Steinberg has made inclusive economic development a key priority for the growing city and brought hundreds of millions of new resources to combat homelessness. His leadership has helped almost 25,000 people move from the streets to permanent housing.
Steinberg graduated from University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned a BA in economics, then earned a Juris Doctorate from UC Davis Law School. He went on to serve as an employee rights attorney for the California State Employees Association for 10 years before his work as an Administrative Law Judge and mediator. Steinberg served on the Sacramento City Council from 1992 to 1998, and as an Assembly member from 1999 to 2004.

Steinberg and his wife, Julie, have two grown children – a daughter, Jordana, and a son, Ari.

Darrell Steinberg

Mayor of Sacramento

Dr. Joseph Bishop
Dr. Bishop is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS) in the School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA. CTS conducts research that supports school systems and policymakers in their efforts to organize schools around the needs, interests, and talents of young people in a number of areas including school discipline and school climate, juvenile justice reform, student homelessness, students in the foster care system, school finance, and ensuring practices and policies take into account the needs of students of color inside and outside of school settings. Dr. Bishop has held a number of state and national educational leadership positions with the Learning Policy Institute, the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign with the Schott Foundation for Public Education, Opportunity Action, the Coalition for Teaching Quality, the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. He was formerly a governor-appointed member of the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC). Dr. Bishop has been featured on a number of digital and print media sources, including National Public Radio, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Education Week.

He is the lead author of the State of Crisis: Dismantling Student Homelessness in CA report that received national attention and new book Our Children Can't Wait: The Urgency of Reinventing Education Policy in America from Teachers College Press and podcast of the same name makes a compelling case for how education policy efforts must be reimagined to focus on dismantling historic inequities in health, education, housing, and the environment and the deeply seeded social patterns fueled by systemic racism.

Dr. Bishop earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy and Organizations from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Dr. Joseph Bishop

Executive Director and co-founder of the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS) in the School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA

Dr. Tyrone Howard
Tyrone Howard is a professor of education in the School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA. His research addresses issues tied to race, culture, access and educational opportunity for minoritized student populations.

Professor Howard is the author of several best-selling books, including "Why Race & Culture Matters in Schools" (Teachers College Press) and "All Students Must Thrive" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). He is a native of Compton, California, where he also served as a classroom teacher. Professor Howard is a member of the National Academy of Education and is an AERA Fellow.

Dr. Tyrone Howard

Professor of education in the School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA

Ericka Lesley
Ericka Lesley stands as a tireless equity advocate, dedicating over a decade to amplifying the voices of the unheard and underserved within the community. As the current Chair of the Santa Monica Rent Control Board, she ensures that the concerns of our unhoused neighbors find a prominent place at the decision-making table.
Ms. Lesley’s commitment extends to her role as Chair of the Santa Monica Rent Control Board, and the Santa Monica Black Agenda, where she actively fosters a vision that places the spotlight on dismantling the systemic injustices of racism. With an unwavering dedication, she has served the community in various capacities, including Co-Chair of the Education Committee of the Santa Monica/Venice NAACP, a lifetime member. Her contributions also extend to serving as Chair of the Intercultural Equity & Excellence Committee, Chair of the Parent Connection Group, and valuable membership in the Westside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Committee, among other impactful roles.
Furthermore, Ericka has worked as a Community Health Specialist, ensuring underrepresented communities receive the resources needed for equitable health care. Her journey is marked by a passion for justice, a commitment to community welfare, and an unyielding belief in the power of collective action. Ericka Lesley's advocacy resonates as a beacon of hope, actively shaping a future where systemic inequalities are addressed, and the voices of every community member are not only heard but elevated to create positive and lasting change.

Ericka Lesley

Chair of the Santa Monica Rent Control Board

Grace Roberts Dyrness
Grace Roberts Dyrness is a private consultant in local, grass roots, community development. She has retired from the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California where she taught in the areas of public service in an urban setting, social context of planning, and sustainable communities. She is currently a senior researcher at the Hub for Urban Initiatives in Pasadena, CA. Grace makes her home in Costa Rica and California, but travels frequently to South East Asia and East Africa. Her approach has been to use advocacy planning and participatory approaches to engage people in communities in order to envision their own future and chart a path towards it. She has a graduate degree in Urban Anthropology from the Ateneo de Manila University and a doctorate in planning and development studies from the University of Southern California.

Grace Roberts Dyrness

Consultant

Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom is the Governor of California, former Lieutenant Governor of California, and former Mayor of San Francisco.
Newsom is widely recognized for his willingness to lead – repeatedly developing, advocating, and implementing innovative and groundbreaking solutions to some of our most challenging issues. On a wide range of topics including same sex marriage, gun safety, marijuana, the death penalty, universal health care, access to preschool, technology, criminal justice reform, and the minimum wage, Newsom stuck his neck out and did the right thing, which often led to sweeping changes when his policies were ultimately accepted, embraced, and replicated across the state and nation.
Newsom’s top priorities for his administration are tackling our state’s affordability crisis, creating inclusive economic growth and opportunity for every child, and standing up for California values — from civil rights, to immigration, environmental protection, access to quality schools at all levels, and justice.
Governor Newsom is married to Jennifer Siebel Newsom. They have four children: Montana, Hunter, Brooklynn, and Dutch.

Gavin Newsom

Governor of California

Hugo Soto-Martinez
Hugo Soto-Martínez was born and raised in Los Angeles. His parents immigrated here and worked as street vendors for most of his life to give Hugo and his five siblings more opportunities than they had in Mexico. After his dad became disabled, Hugo started working at a non-union hotel at the age of 16 to help out his family. Shortly before graduating college, he joined with his coworkers to form a union – earning better working conditions and respect on the job.

Hugo spent the last 16 years at UNITE HERE!, organizing with mostly immigrant women in the hotel industry to win healthcare, higher wages, and anti-harassment protections.

After winning his election in 2022, he became the only renter on Los Angeles City Council and helped pass the strongest package of tenant protections Los Angeles has seen in a generation. He’s currently working on legislation to improve LA’s housing inspection system, and strengthen our rent stabilization ordinance.

Hugo Soto-Martinez

Coming Soon

Iziko
IZIKO is a child welfare advocate working to make local, statewide, and national policy changes. With a commitment to working towards a more equitable child welfare system for all youth and a passion for amplifying the voices of young people in all aspects of their work, IZIKO believes that the voices of those with lived experience are essential for meaningful change. IZIKO specializes in cross-nonprofit organizational work, and uplifting youth voice and expertise in bureaucratic settings to bring valuable perspectives. In their role as a member of the Los Angeles Opportunity Youth Collaborative and the National Foster Youth Institute, and through their employment with California Youth Connection, IZIKO works to develop and implement statewide advocacy campaigns to raise awareness of the needs of youth in not only the foster care system but in intersecting systems. They also work to build relationships with key policymakers, directors, and decision-makers.

They are also a skilled community organizer and leader. They have experience working with diverse groups of people to build coordination and campaigns for change. Dedicated in developing the leadership skills of young people, they have worked with several youth-led organizations to develop and implement important advocacy campaigns.

Iziko

Core Organizer & Community Advocate

James Coleman
James Coleman currently serves as Mayor for the City of South San Francisco, and was elected in 2020 as the city's youngest ever and first openly LGBTQ+ council member in the city's history.

James believes that housing is a basic right, and to meet that vision local government needs to have a direct role in producing the affordable housing we need. On the city council, James led the passage of South San Francisco's Measure AA, authorizing the city of SSF to build or acquire social housing. In the next 15 years, South San Francisco is projected to receive over $125 million in commercial linkage fees to be used for affordable and social housing. Last year, James took part in a Social Housing Delegation to Singapore and Hong Kong to learn about their robust social housing programs. His number one priority as Mayor is to deliver affordable housing for the families who need it most, and help his community achieve a vision of housing for all.

James Coleman also serves on the boards of the San Mateo County Housing Endowment and Regional Trust (HEART), HOPE (Housing Our People Effectively) Interagency Council, and Peninsula Clean Energy.

James Coleman

Mayor for the City of South San Francisco

Jamie Court
Jamie Court is the president of Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit public interest group that, since 1985, has exposed, confronted, and changed corporate and political injustice -- saving Americans billions of dollars and improving countless lives. www.ConsumerWatchdog.org

Jamie has led dozens of major corporate and political campaigns to reform insurers, banks, technology companies, oil companies, utilities and political practices. Capitol Weekly, naming Jamie to its “Top 100” list of unelected movers and shakers in California politics, wrote, “Court has made a career of battling all comers in the interest of the public, and his take-no-prisoners approach has earned him plenty of enemies.”

Jamie’s most recent battles include fighting to protect affordable homeowners and renters’ insurance in California, enacting and implementing a price gouging penalty on California oil refiners, and protecting California’s ban on oil drilling within a half mile of a community.

Jamie Court

President of Consumer Watchdog

Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda has spent the last several decades fighting for Indigenous peoples' rights, economic justice, LGBTQ rights, protesting the War, gender equality and more.

Now, she continues to lead the charge on the climate emergency via Fire Drill Fridays, the national movement to protest government inaction on climate change which she started in October 2019 in partnership with Greenpeace USA, and the Jane Fonda Climate PAC, which is focused on defeating political allies of the fossil fuel industry. She is the author of several books, including the most recent, What Can I Do: My Path from Climate Despair to Activism. Fonda continues to fight for the most vulnerable among us, consistently pointing out the intersection between the myriad of causes.

Jane Fonda

Actress & Activist

Jeff Green
Jeff Green is the associate director of the Inland equity Community Land Trust. Born in Fontana California, Jeff graduated from University of California in Riverside with a degree in History.

Jeff Green served in the U. S. Coast Guard Presidential Ceremonial Honor Guard. Rooted in the Inland Empire, Jeff Green received thank yous in Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California's Inland Empire for researching and identifying authors to include in the anthology and in No Place for a Puritan: The Literature of California's Deserts. Jeff Green is also co-owner of Particle 64, a tech crew that hosts Amplify so organizations can manage civic engagement and election campaigns.

Jeff started as a community organizer with California Partnership in 2017. One of the original founders of and now serving as the associate director of Inland Equity Community Land Trust, he does policy research, grant writing, accounting, website and communications. Jeff also serves on the board of the LULAC Community Service Foundation and is a board member of LULAC Council 3190.

Jeff Green

Associate Director

Jimmy Gomez
Congressman Jimmy Gomez proudly represents California's 34th Congressional District, one of the country's most diverse and culturally rich districts. In the 118th Congress, Congressman Gomez sits on the Ways and Means Committee. He serves as an Assistant Whip of the Democratic Caucus and Deputy Whip for the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). Congressman Gomez is the Founder and Chair of the Congressional Dads Caucus and Congressional Renters Caucus. He is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and Future Forum.

Prior to his election to Congress in June of 2017, Congressman Gomez served four and a half years in the California State Assembly, where he served as Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. In the Assembly, Congressman Gomez distinguished himself as a proven national champion of paid family leave and combatting climate change. He became a key figure in authoring landmark legislation to address public health, environmental justice, water conservation, access to education, civic engagement, campaign finance disclosure, LGBTQ+ rights, and affordable housing.

Congressman Gomez attended Riverside Community College before receiving a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and an M.A. in Public Policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He lives in Eagle Rock with his wife Mary and son Hodge. He is a lifelong fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jimmy Gomez

Congressman

Josh Fox
Josh Fox is best known as the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning writer/director of GASLAND Parts I and II (HBO). He is internationally recognized as a spokesperson and leader on the issue of fracking and extreme energy development. In 2017, he was awarded his third Environmental Media Association award for Best Documentary for his latest film, HOW TO LET GO OF THE WORLD AND LOVE ALL THE THINGS CLIMATE CAN’T CHANGE (HBO), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016, toured the world theatrically and was released on HBO in June 2016. In 2017, he produced, co-directed, and co-wrote AWAKE, A DREAM FROM STANDING ROCK (Netflix) with indigenous filmmakers Doug Good Feather and Myron Dewey, which premiered on Netflix and toured to hundreds of locations around the world.

In 2023, Josh premiered THE EDGE OF NATURE at the Byron Bay Film Festival, winning Best Environmental Film there. The film also won the F. Lammot Belin award at the NEPA Film Festival. The film will have its USA Premiere at La Mama, NYC, as a performance project in June 2024. He also completed THE TROUBLE WITH REBEKAH JONES, about the Florida data scientist who was raided and jailed by Ron DeSantis for exposing the state’s hiding of COVID data after a successful Kickstarter campaign. He is working on FOSSIL, a six-part history of the Fossil Fuel industry for Balcony 9 productions, THE YEAR OF WOLF, the fight to preserve wild wolves in the USA, for the BBC, and THE WELCOME TABLE, a film on people displaced from Climate Change for HBO. These films are slated for release in 2024/2025

In 2018, Fox created THE TRUTH HAS CHANGED, a solo performance, book, and film about misinformation, propaganda, and psycho-graphic targeting aimed at manipulating our current media and political ecosystem. In the performance, he tells of his extensive frontline reporting with an emphasis on the smear campaigns waged against him for nearly a decade by the fossil fuel industry. The project has toured to over 25 cities in the US and Europe, including The Public Theater, The Walker Arts Center, and RADIAL SYSTEM 5 in Berlin, and has been seen by thousands of people in support of dozens of progressive, environmental, and grassroots organizations. THE TRUTH HAS CHANGED is Fox’s first book, published by Seven Stories Press. The feature film version of THE TRUTH HAS CHANGED was released in 2021. In 2018, he co-founded the AWAKE MEDIA FELLOWSHIP for Indigenous youth with leaders Stephanie Cassidy, Doug Good Feather, and others.

Due to Josh’s extensive work in environmental activism and reporting, he was appointed to the Democratic Platform Committee in 2016 by Bernie Sanders. Working with Bill McKibben, Nina Turner, Ben Jealous, Russell Greene, Dr. Cornel West, and others, Josh worked to pass a historic climate amendment to the Democratic Platform, which addressed carbon pricing, the phasing out of natural gas power plants, community involvement, and adopting the Keystone XL climate standard for all federal energy projects. In addition, Josh has worked with many state, local, and federal elected officials to create bills that phase out fossil fuels and set goals towards 100% renewable energy development.

His work raising awareness on climate change, fracking, and renewable energy earned Josh the 2010 Lennon/Ono Grant for Peace, given by Yoko Ono. He co-founded The Solutions Project with Mark Ruffalo, Mark Jacobson, and Marco Krapels, and he was an advisor to Artists Against Fracking, Damascus Citizens, and many other organizations involved in the successful fight to ban fracking in New York State and the Delaware River Basin. Fox’s films have toured to hundreds of cities worldwide, helping to form the global movement against fracking.

Fox is a journalist most recently seen in Rolling Stone, Daily Beast, and online with Now This, AJ+, and Huffington Post. His viral reporting from Standing Rock has been seen by over 40 million people online.

He is also the founder and producing artistic director of the International WOW Company, a film and theater company that he founded in 1996 that has performed across the US, Europe and Asia. Josh has written/directed/produced five feature films, six short films, and over twenty-five full-length works for the stage, which have premiered in New York, Asia, and around Europe. For his theatre work, Josh has received five grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, numerous prestigious MAP Fund Grants, a Drama Desk Nomination, an Asian Cultural Council fellowship, and an Otto Award, among others. The New York Times has hailed him as “one of the most adventurous impresarios of the New York avant-garde,” and Time Out NY called him “one of downtown’s most audacious auteurs,” citing his “brilliantly resourceful mastery of stagecraft.”

As an actor Josh performed frequently in Japan. His credits include Emperor and Kiss, the Yomiuri Shimbun award-winning production by Rinko Gun written by Yoji Sakate in 1999. He also performed with Pappa Tarahumara at the New National Theater and the Setagaya public theater in WD parts 1-4 and The Sound of Future Sync. Josh was also a Hotel Grand Asia collaboration member at the Setagaya Public Theatre in 2004. He was an Asian Cultural Council fellow to Japan from 1999-2000.

Josh’s first narrative feature film, Memorial Day, by Jim McKay and Michael Stipe’s C—Hundred Film Corp and Paul Mezey’s Journeyman Pictures, opened at IFC Cinemas in February 2009 after an explosively controversial premiere at the CineVegas film festival.

GASLAND premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010, where it was awarded the 2010 Special Jury Prize for Documentary. In June 2010, it premiered on HBO to an audience of 3 million homes and was seen by over 250,000 audience members in its 250-city grassroots tour. The film was nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary and won a 2011 Emmy for Best Non-fiction Director, among numerous other awards. For many, this film was their introduction to the extreme energy extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” Legendary actor Jane Fonda once remarked that GASLAND “woke me up” to the impacts of fracking and the climate crisis overall.

GASLAND Part II premiered on HBO on July 8th, 2013, won the 2013 Environmental Media Association award for Best Documentary, the Best Film at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, and was given the Hell Yeah Prize from Cinema Eye honors.
www.joshfoxfilm.com

Josh Fox

Writer & Director

Karen Bass
Karen Bass is the 43rd Mayor of Los Angeles and the first woman and second African American to be elected as the city's chief executive. With an agenda focused on bringing urgency, accountability, and a new direction to Los Angeles, she has started her term with a focus on housing people immediately and increasing safety and opportunity in every part of Los Angeles.
A daughter of our city, Mayor Bass was raised with her three brothers in the Venice/Fairfax neighborhood and is a proud graduate of Hamilton High School. After serving as a front-line healthcare provider as a nurse and as a Physician Assistant, Mayor Bass founded the Community Coalition to organize the predominantly Black and Latino residents of South L.A. against substance abuse, poverty and crime, and to pioneer strategies to address the root causes behind the challenges faced by underserved neighborhoods.
She then went on to represent Los Angeles in the State Assembly and was elected by her peers to serve as Speaker, making her the first African American woman to ever lead a state legislative body in the history of the United States. Her time in leadership intersected with the Great Recession, and she was honored with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for reaching across party lines and making tough decisions to keep the state from bankruptcy while protecting vital services.
While representing Los Angeles and Culver City in Congress, Mayor Bass helped protect small businesses during the pandemic, created policy to drive local jobs from federal infrastructure funding, and led the passage of what the Los Angeles Times called “the most significant child welfare policy reform in decades.”
Mayor Bass earned her bachelor's degree in health sciences from CSU Dominguez Hills before graduating from the USC Keck School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program and earning her masters degree in social work from USC.
Mayor Bass’s oldest daughter Emilia planned to follow in her mother’s footsteps working for social change. The Mayor continues to be inspired by Emilia and her son-in-law Michael’s passion for life. She has three other children, Scythia, Omar and Yvette, and two grandchildren, Michael and Henry, who live in the Los Angeles area.

Karen Bass

Mayor

Larry Gross
Larry Gross is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES). He has been with CES for over 50 years, since its inception in 1973. CES is grassroots, multi-racial, multi-ethnic tenants' rights organization serving low and moderate-income renters throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
CES is committed to organizing tenants to fight to ensure tenants' rights and preserve affordable housing.
Under Larry’s leadership:
• CES has led campaigns to win rent control in the cities of Los Angeles and West Hollywood; • CES led efforts to incorporate the City of West Hollywood and elected CES tenant leaders to the City Council; • CES was instrumental in enactment of the City of L.A.'s Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP), Systematic Code Enforcement Program (SCEP) and Primary Renovation Ordinance (PRO), which address slum housing conditions and housing code violations;
• Currently, CES is one of four L.A. City contracted Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP) tenant outreach organizations, and the sole organization contracted by L.A. Housing Department to provide outreach, education and assistance to tenants living in at-risk government assisted housing;
• CES assisted four tenant HUD subsidized associations in purchasing their complexes, which tenants now operate and control as permanent affordable housing.
Larry is currently the President of the Los Angeles Board of Animal Services Commissioners. Former Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Larry to the Commission in February 2014 and current Mayor Karen Bass has kept him on.
Larry is the elected Regional Director of the California Democratic Party (CDP). In 2013, Larry was appointed by former California Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian as an Assembly District Delegate to the California Democratic Party for the 46th Assembly District. In January 2015 and again in January 2017, Larry was elected and re-elected as a delegate for two year terms. He was re-elected as the CDP Region 12 Director in 2019 and 2021, and, currently as CDP Region 14 Director in 2023.
Larry was a California Public Utilities Commission appointee to its Low-Income Oversight Board (LIOB) 2012 to 2020.
Larry was a member of the L.A. City Housing Crisis Task Force and served as the chair of its State of Existing Affordable Housing Sub-committee in 1999-2000.
Larry was appointed by the Mayor and Chairperson of the L.A. City Council Housing and Community Development Committee to serve on the Advisory Committee for the Study of the Economic Impact of Major Rehabilitation Evictions.
Larry was a member of then L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti's initiated Slum Housing Task Force in 2001.
Larry was an appointee to the seven-member tenant-landlord Oversight Committee of the “Economic Study of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance and the Los Angeles Housing Market” in 2009.
Larry was a member of the Board of Directors of the ACLU/Southern California, from 2012 to 2015. Larry also serves on the Board of the statewide tenants’ rights organization Tenants Together.

Larry Gross

Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival

Margot Kushel, MD
Margot Kushel, MD is a Professor of Medicine at University of California San Francisco, and Division Chief and Director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, and Director of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative. She is a practicing general internist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Margot's research focuses on the causes and consequences of homelessness and housing instability, with the goal of preventing and ending homelessness and ameliorating the effects of homelessness and housing instability on health. She speaks at a local, state, and national level about issues of homelessness, and frequently provides testimony to legislative bodies. She received her AB from Harvard College, her MD from Yale and completed residency, chief residency, and fellowship in internal medicine at UCSF.

Margot Kushel, MD

Professor of Medicine at University of California San Francisco

Maribel Nunez
Maribel Nunez is the Executive Director of the Inland Equity Community Land Trust. Maribel is the 1st generation daughter of an immigrant family. She was born in Bellflower, CA.

She is the 1st member of her family to graduate from high school and the 1st member of her family to graduate from college. Maribel earned a Master’s degree in History from Cal State L.A. While teaching History at Riverside Community College, she became the Inland Empire organizer with California Partnership in 2010. She became the executive director of California Partnership in 2016 and has transitioned California Partnership into the Inland Equity Partnership to focus on the Inland Empire.

The work has further focused on the two main drivers of poverty in California, housing and healthcare costs. The Inland Equity CLT is an initiative to address the costs of housing, and her work for a single-payer health care system is to solve the disparities in health care.

Maribel Nunez

Executive Director of the Inland Equity Community Land Trust

Mark Ghaly
Dr. Mark Ghaly was appointed Secretary of the California Health & Human Services Agency in early 2019 by Governor Gavin Newsom.

In serving California, Dr. Ghaly has the privilege of working with partners across sectors and disciplines to improve the lives and life chances of ALL Californians. This has been especially true during our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Ghaly is a primary care pediatrician who continues to use his clinical and community experiences, working in California’s health care safety net system, to inform a whole person, whole community, approach to integrating services so they are equity-anchored and person-centered for ALL, but especially the most vulnerable Californians.

Dr. Ghaly holds the deep belief that together our collective efforts can not only serve Californians well today but set us on a path where ALL Californians have a brighter and healthier future.

Nothing he does can be done well without the support of his wife, Dr. Christina Ghaly, and his 4 young children.

Mark Ghaly

Secretary of the California Health & Human Services

Michael Weinstein
Michael Weinstein co-founded Aids Healthcare Foundation and serves as its President. Since 1986, Mr. Weinstein has been a leader in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Before becoming involved in HIV/AIDS related issues in the 1980s, he was a Businessman and Graphic Designer. He serves as a Director of bioLytical Laboratories Inc. Mr. Weinstein served as the Co-Ordinator of the Stop the AIDS Quarantine Committee and then as an Executive Director of the Los Angeles AIDS Hospice Committee. In 2001, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Whittier College for his career achievements.

Michael Weinstein

President and Co-founder, Aids Healthcare Foundation

Michael Lighty (2024)
Michael Lighty has organized, advocated, and developed healthcare policy nationally and in California for 30 years. He is a founding Fellow of the Sanders Institute. Lighty was the director of public policy at the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, where he worked for 25 years. He is currently the President of Healthy California Now, the single-payer coalition in the Golden State, representing the National Union of Healthcare Workers. In 2023, he co-wrote and led the campaign to pass SB 770, which establishes a process to achieve a unified healthcare financing system in California. Lighty is a contributor to “America at Risk: Public Policy and Health in the US” in The Lancet as a member of The Lancet Commission on Public Policy and Health in the US. He serves on the boards of People’s Action Institute and the Martin Luther King, Jr Freedom Center.

Michael Lighty

Fellow, The Sanders Institute

Paul Kumar
Paul Kumar is a public policy and strategic campaign consultant working throughout California and nationally on legislative, electoral, and union organizing efforts at the crossroads of behavioral health and affordable housing advocacy. As a consultant to the National Union of Healthcare Workers, he played a key role in drafting SB 855, California’s nation-leading expansion of behavioral health parity rights, and SB 221, California’s pathbreaking guarantee of timely access to follow-up appointments for individuals in ongoing courses of behavioral healthcare, and devised the regulatory strategy that resulted in the state’s record $200 million settlement with Kaiser Permanente over that HMO’s egregious behavioral healthcare failures. As a consultant to the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, he is playing a leading role in finalizing both ACA-1, a state constitutional amendment to lower the voter approval threshold necessary to pass local affordable housing bonds, and a $10-20 billion Bay Area regional affordable housing bond measure, both headed for the November 2024 ballot. These critical projects come after twenty-five years in staff and elected roles leading the health policy and government affairs programs of major healthcare workers’ unions on both coasts.

Paul Kumar

Strategic Campaign Consultant

Pramila Jayapal
A former Washington State Senator and a lifelong organizer for immigrant, civil, and human rights, Representative Pramila Jayapal was recently re-elected to Congress for a fourth term serving Seattle and surrounding communities. In 2016, she became the first South Asian American woman ever elected to the House. She came to the United States alone at the age of 16, and went on to start the largest immigrant rights organization in Washington state before becoming one of only two dozen naturalized citizens serving in Congress today. As the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Representative Jayapal is the lead sponsor of the Medicare for All Act, the College for All Act, the Housing is a Human Right Act, the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, and the Roadmap to Freedom immigration resolution. She currently serves on the Judiciary and Education and Workforce Committee. Congresswoman Jayapal lives in Seattle with her husband Steve.

Pramila Jayapal

Representative

Rachel Stein
Rachel is the Directing Attorney of Public Counsel’s Audrey Irmas Gender Justice Project. Prior to her role as Directing Attorney, she was a Senior Supervising Staff Attorney with Public Counsel’s Children’s Rights Project.
Rachel has been with Public Counsel for many years, initially joining the organization in 2012 as a staff attorney with the Adoptions team in the Children’s Rights Project (CRP) and most recently returning in 2020 to lead the Transition Age Youth (TAY) team in CRP. As the TAY team supervisor, Rachel helped expand the team and she supported the team in providing holistic, trauma-informed legal services to system-impacted youth in the areas of housing, family law, public benefits, traffic tickets, and name change and gender marker correction petitions. Rachel also led the TAY team’s housing policy work. In partnership with community-based coalitions and the office of Supervisor Hilda Solis, Rachel helped secure the passage of a Board of Supervisors’ motion that created contingency plans to help house the 1300 youth who were facing “the Extended Foster Care cliff” as they exited foster care from LA County in December 2021. Rachel has particular expertise in the areas of public benefits and housing for system-impacted youth. Prior to transitioning to public interest work, Rachel practiced employment law, first at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP and then at Fox Group Legal (21st Century Fox).
Rachel is both a lawyer and a social worker, having received her JD from the University of Michigan Law School in 2006 and her MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work in 2007. She received her undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College in 2001, and she clerked with the Honorable Cormac J. Carney in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California after completing graduate school.

Rachel Stein

Directing Attorney

Ro Khanna
Congressman Ro Khanna represents California's 17th Congressional District in the heart of Silicon Valley. He was proud to co-chair Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign and is working to uphold progressive values. He fights for an economy that invests in American workers, affordable housing, Medicare for All, a $17 minimum wage, and free public college and vocational school.

Ro has made it his mission to address the rising costs of housing, which are making it impossible for families to buy a home or cover the cost of rent. He introduced the Stop Wall Street Landlords Act to stop corporate investors from buying up single-family homes because ordinary Americans shouldn’t have to compete with Wall Street to buy a home. Ro has also led the charge to build new, affordable housing units and protect manufactured housing communities. He is honored to speak at The Sanders Institute Gathering on this critical issue.

He has written two books on manufacturing and technology: Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America's Future and Dignity in a Digital Age.

Ro Khanna

Congressman

Rob Reynolds
Robert Reynolds grew up in Westfield, Massachusetts, and joined the Army as an Infantryman at 17 years old and served from 2006 to 2010, deploying to Iraq in 2007 when he was 18 with the 10th Mountain Division 4-31 Infantry out of Fort Drum New York. After the Military, Robert moved to California in 2012 and worked as a firefighter with Cal Fire in San Luis Obispo and then Riverside County from 2012 to 2017. In 2018, Robert started experiencing trouble with PTSD symptoms which led him to travel to the West Los Angeles VA to be a part of the PTSD Combat Track program offered at the Domiciliary. Through a series of unfortunate events, Robert was able to experience firsthand some of the many barriers that Veterans face when approaching the VA for much needed services. It was through these events he encountered the unhoused Veterans on San Vicente Blvd, just outside the gates of the VA. The discovery of 40+ Veterans, some of them combat Veterans, sleeping outside of the VA grounds on the street coupled with learning about the history of the VA land and the many years of misuse, Robert became fueled with a drive to help these Veterans gain accessibility and equity within the VA system as well as to ensure that the land that was deeded to the U.S. government in 1888 as a Soldiers Home was restored for that very purpose today. Robert was able to successfully work as a liaison between the unhoused Veterans on San Vicente Blvd., the stakeholders in the community surrounding the VA, law enforcement and the leadership of the West LA VA to get the Veterans inside of the gates and into what is now known as CTRS (Tiny Home Village). Robert continues to dedicate himself to advocating on behalf of the unhoused Veteran population in Los Angeles and will continue until every Veteran is housed and has equal accessibility to their home at the West LA VA campus.

Rob Reynolds

Coming Soon

Sarah Mahin
Sarah Mahin serves as the Director of Housing for Health at the LA County Department of Health Services where she oversees a full continuum that provides housing and services to over 45,000 vulnerable county residents each year. Sarah brings a wealth of experience administering public funding and coordinating policy responses across various levels of government. Her previous roles include the Director of Policy and Systems at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Regional Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ national program office, and as Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. Sarah started her work in homelessness and housing nearly 20 years ago working as a community-based provider and advocate at the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless.

Sarah Mahin

Director of Housing for Health at the LA County Department of Health Services

Saket Soni
Saket Soni is a labor organizer. He is the founder and director of Resilience Force, the voice of the rising workforce rebuilding America after climate disasters. He is also the author of The Great Escape: A True Story of Forced Labor and Immigrant Dreams in America. The book, about America’s first climate resilience workers, was called “a must-read” by the New York Times, and named a Best Book of 2023 by the Times, Amazon, and NPR.

Saket is a recognized national expert on the intersection of climate, workforce, and racial justice issues. He was profiled as an “architect of the next labor movement” in USA Today, chosen as a 2022-23 Aspen Institute Fellow, and was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business for 2022. His work was the subject of a major New Yorker feature story in November 2021.

Saket Soni

Founder and Director of Resilience Force

Tara Ford
Tara Ford currently serves as the Interim Directing Attorney for Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project, having previously served as the project’s Senior Counsel. Tara has focused her career on working with children and their families to safeguard their rights to education, special education, health care, and mental health care. She has long worked to protect the rights of children and families when they are involved in the dependency system, with the goal of keeping families together. She has also partnered with Native American children, families, and Tribes – litigating cases focused on education, ICWA, and voting rights.
Tara was the Co-Founder of Pegasus Legal Services for Children, a non-profit law firm serving children and their families in New Mexico. In 2016, Tara authored “Pegasus Legal Services for Children: Taking Stock of a Rebellious Non-Profit Practice in New Mexico,” published by the Clinical Law Review. She is a child welfare law specialist in NM certified by the National Counsel for Children.

Tara Ford

Directing Attorney