To provide advice and counsel to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and its partners
in support of efforts that strive to end homelessness, as well as to ensure that the unique voice of those
with the lived experience of homelessness is incorporated throughout the Los Angeles homeless crisis
We value respect, timeliness, openness, integrity, honesty, kindness, and inclusivity.
To be completed by LAHSA staff and its partners looking to engage with people having lived experience in homelessness and are on LAHSA's Lived Experience Advisory Board (LEAB).
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Shalonda Battee is now a Community Outreach Mental Health Specialist for Mental Health of America Los Angeles and a Certified Peer Support Specialist. She is currently continuing her education to become a certified drug and alcohol counselor, as well as to receive her BA in social work. She personally experienced homelessness when deciding to exit an emotional abusive marriage. Shalonda believes that her own past experiences of homelessness and abuse were meant to bring her to the career path she never dreamed of pursuing, to support and advocate for others that are currently experiencing some of the same challenges she went through. She is a passionate advocate on breaking the stigma related to homelessness and mental health. One of her mottos in life is "Tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to try again." She also believes a smile a day and a hello could help the next person’s day. During her free time, she does outreach in her neighborhood by giving out snacks, hygiene kits, warm meals monthly, and helps locate resources in the community.
My name is Pamela Crenshaw. I am a volunteer advocate at the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority serving on the Lived Experience Advisory Board (LEAB). I am also an advocate with the Domestic Violence Homeless Service Coalition (DVHSC) at the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles, California. I am a graduate of the Speak Up Program at Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH).
Certified in Human services I am in this fight with many service providers to end homelessness by lobbying at national, state and local levels.
As a grandmother of seven I enjoy family time, picnics, deep sea fishing, creating my own line of body essentials, skin care, and candle making along with various crafting. I am currently taking classes on parenting and anger management to become certified by the state of California to teach court-mandated clients. Hopefully someday I will also finish my book, Housewife to Homeless, to give hope to those who have survived, those who are experiencing domestic violence, and those who are experiencing drug addiction and homelessness, in hope that they too will make a choice to change their life.
Kia Dupclay (She/ Her/ Hers) is a human rights advocate with the passion to end homelessness and human trafficking. As a survivor of both, she has dedicated herself to making changes within the community and legislation. As an electrical engineering major, Kia focuses on integrating technology and nonprofit to dismantle broken systems and assist in creating unconventional solutions to the way services are provided. Kia has won the Los Angeles County Building Bridges Award, S.C.R.I.P.T Award, Real Unsung Hero Award and has spoken across the country. She is the executive director of Free 2 Dream Big, an organization that provides outreach training and support for survivors of human trafficking. Her favorite saying is "Be like Nike and Just Do It!"
Debra Gatlin is a community health worker for the county of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health. She has a BA in Sociology, is a certified housing specialist, and a certified wellness recovery action plan facilitator, and has extensive training in intentional peer support. Debra has over 10 years of experience working as an administrative professional in different states across the country. Due to the 2008 recession, she lost her job with the Boeing Co. in Los Angeles. Despite exhausting all her resources, she was unable to find work and became homeless for 3 years. The traumatic experience of homelessness along with the lack of support made social services to direct her to the Department of Mental Health. She was later determined disabled by the Social Security Administration due to her mental health challenges along with permanent physical injuries. This allowed her to find housing and ignited her purpose of wanting to help people experiencing homelessness with mental health challenges. Debra became a Wellness Outreach Worker for the Department of Mental Health which led to a regular staff position as a Mental Health advocate and Case Manager. She has been working as a provider of homeless services for mental health consumers since October 2016, received her Housing Specialist Certification in 2017 and uses her behavioral health skills and training together with lived experience of homelessness to aid in housing homeless mental health consumers.
My name is Eric Gray. I wear many hats and one of my roles is a Housing Specialist for the Project 180 program. I spent over 16 years working with Project 180, with 9 years directly on Skid Row, trying to aid in the effort to fight recidivism and homelessness within our community.
I was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI during the early eighties. I moved to Los Angeles in the early 2000's to work in the entertainment industry as a bodyguard. New to the city and naïve to the cost-of-living barriers Los Angeles had in place, homelessness came knocking on my door even though I was employed. Shortly after my arrival I connected with a provider named Central Mental Health which would later be known as Project 180. During my time there I learned and gained a variety of tools to help aid my community. After transitioning from Security to Operations Manager to the Housing Specialist role while dealing with some traumatic life events, the silver lining was that my experiences gave me insight on how organizations like ours can truly aid the community.
Now within my new role at LAHSA on the Lived Experience Advisory Board, I plan to advocate tirelessly for the SPA 1 adult and family populations just as much as I helped everyone I served throughout my years on Skid Row and with Project 180. Having recently acquired a financial coaching certification, I strive to help bring financial education to those in need and give them tools to tackle the complexities of housing stability. My goal is to help shape a community that is supportive and empathetic to everyone within. I work towards achieving this goal daily not just for my peers and individuals I support, but for my family, which is my biggest achievement to date.
Being one of the many proud owners of the Green Bay Packers, I would like to end with a quote from the great Vincent Thomas Lombardi, "The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have."
My name is Martin Holguin, and I was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley. Living here all my life has given me a unique opportunity, to experience the changes that Los Angeles has gone through over the years. It saddens me to see what we have let our city become. We ignore what should not be ignored. I feel that we all have a responsibility in making sure that others that are not as fortunate as us can live without hunger, somewhere to call home and medical assistants when needed. Therefore I have asked to be part of "LIVE EXPERIENCE ADVISORY BOARD" (LEAB).
According to my geographical location I represent SPA 3. SPA 3 covers from Diamond Bar to Pasadena and everything in between. According to the 2020 count there was 4555 people who was experiencing homelessness. With 3027 unsheltered, 3615 individuals, 940 family members, 283 families. I do not know what the 2022 count will be yet. My goal while in this position is to help these numbers reduce considerably.
How do I plan to accomplish this, by visiting the streets and listening to those who best know what is working and not? Finding out what is needed to help them get back into society and become a productive individual. Not giving excuses on why people have not received help, like the one I here too often, "they don’t want help." I find the ones that do not want help is because the system that supposed to help them has failed them. For those who are suffering from mental problems, find them help and not make them wait three to four months. Most of all, take the responsibility of my actions.
I have been blessed with a beautiful and caring wife, three wonderful and successful children. Spending time with my wife is all the pleasure I need in life. Watching my children grow into the fine ladies and gentlemen they have become is something that a parent hopes for
In closing, I would like to thank LASHA for this opportunity. I know that a great responsibility comes with accepting this position. I am looking forward in working with the other new members in accomplishing great things in the next two years. If you would like to know if you are in my spa just look on the LASHA website. Remember, it takes all of us to make a difference even in the smallest way.
Gloria Johnson is a passionate homeless services expert in advocacy for the most vulnerable populations not limited to the developmentally delayed, elderly, substance abuse, mentally ill, DV, and re-entry.
As one of the Co-Chairs from LAHSA Lived Experience Advisory Board since 2017, Gloria is also a member of the CES policy council where she provided imperative feedback that shaped policies, and or program design. Gloria is a proud graduate from CSUDH with a Bachelors's in Sociology with a minor in Communications. Gloria is a family survivor of homelessness and now work in the homeless system as a Housing Case Manager. She has more than 14 years of experience providing client-centered services and in the last couple of years, she has assisted in securing permanent housing for more than 130 clients, with a 95% housing retention beyond 1 or more years.
Gloria is a State Assembly 2018 Impact Award recipient.
In Gloria's spare time she enjoys learning about new innovative ways to end homelessness while blending the outlook from a client, and a service provider perspective.
A biography is pending
Shawn Pleasants (He/Him/His) is an independent advocate for unhoused people in Los Angeles.
He serves on several boards and advisory committees, including Lafayette - A Bridge Home Advisory Council; St. James Episcopal Church Soup Kitchen Dreaming Council;
K-town For All; the Legal Needs Assessment for People Living With HIV-AIDS Community Advisory Committee; and LA Older Adults System Modeling Stakeholders Group.
Shawn is a former banker and entrepreneur with an economics degree from Yale, who was unhoused in Los Angeles for 10 years until June 2020.
He joined the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ Shelter Improvement Initiative and their online program "Everyone In – Stories from the Frontline."
Since then, he has been featured in CNN and the LA Times, and interviewed by KCRW, KCCP, LAist, among others.
Since completing the Careers for a Cause, he is a sought-after speaker, offering insight, advice, and sharing his first-hand experiences in an effort to effectuate meaningful,
sustainable policy changes for the unhoused and the housing-insecure residents of Los Angeles County.
I am an advocate for homeless single adults who may need harm reduction regarding Substance Use, Mental Health and/or Physical Health Needs.
I represent Service Planning Area 4 and am also a Certified Peer Specialist.
My goal is to break stigmas that will facilitate a closer-knit Community for all Cultures.
One of my biggest achievements was relocating from Chicago to Los Angeles to recalibrate my life and to pursue my love for art and social work.
A quirky fact about me is that I am a self-taught roller skater. I am an abstract sand and glitter artist and I love to facilitate group meditation, cook, sing, and write poetry.
As Executive Director of External Affairs, Orlando Ward coordinates strategic partnerships, community relations and private fund development activities for all Volunteers of America Los Angeles (VOALA)
programs throughout Greater Los Angeles. He’s charged with media relations, crisis management and corporate communications.
With a long-held belief that "an engaged community is a healthy community," Ward leads by example: he currently serves as the Co-Chairman of the Central City Association’s Public Health and Safety Committee
and is active in the Los Angeles Central Providers’ Collaborative. He serves on the Los Angeles County DPSS Commission and has served on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Special Committee on Homelessness,
the Affordable Housing Commission of the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County task force for the Prevention and Reduction of Homelessness, the BringLAHome Ten Plan to End Homelessness, and is a past Board member of Skid Row Development Corporation.
Before coming to VOALA, Ward was VP of Operations overseeing all programmatic activities and operational areas at The Midnight Mission in Los Angeles.
On staff for 12 years, Ward directed the strategic planning of governmental, public, community and media relations for The Mission.
He worked in association with the Office of the President and the Office of Development and created The Midnight Mission’s Office of Public Affairs.
In 2004, Ward was honored as one of the Treasures of Los Angeles by the Central City Association and the LA business community,
and in 2005 was named one of the Faces of Change by Los Angeles Alternative magazine. Ward has held upper management and sales positions with the Xerox Corporation, the Eastridge Group, and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. A native of Southern California, he attended Stanford University, and resides in the city of Corona with his wife and three children.
In addition, Ward calls on his extensive experience designing and operating programs to end individual homelessness as he directs two of the largest homeless shelters in Los Angeles County operated by VOALA
and continues to aid his expertise towards the fight against homelessness.
Zue has 20 years of lived experience in homelessness and navigation of services. This includes five-year experience as a SPA 7 services provider.
Her expertise and knowledge focus in areas of domestic violence, substance abuse, transitional TAY, DCFS, DPSS, Legal Aid, just to name a few. She is also familiar with HMIS and CES,
housing navigation, and the process to obtain services. Zue is here to be a voice for those who have experienced and are currently experiencing homelessness.