Lisa Jones chosen as next CEO of San Diego Housing Commission
San Diego city leaders on Wednesday announced they have chosen Lisa Jones to be the next president and CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission, the agency that administers the city's homelessness and affordable housing funds.
Jones has worked at the commission for the past six years. As executive vice president for strategic initiatives, she oversees multiple contracts with nonprofits that provide shelter and services to the homeless community.
The Housing Commission has been without a permanent CEO for almost two years. Former CEO Rick Gentry resigned in February 2022 after leading the agency for 14 years.
City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera said at a press conference Wednesday morning that after a nationwide search, Jones was selected for her human-centered approach to housing and homelessness policy.
"We need more compassion in this space," Elo-Rivera said. "We need experience and savvy and expertise, no doubt. But doing that in a way that keeps in mind that we are, at the end of the day, here to serve people is what's most important. And Lisa's going to do so, so well in that."
Jones said she wanted to make more San Diegans aware of the Housing Commission and the resources it has to help people facing housing instability. Those resources include subsidies for rent and security deposits as well as case managers who can help people find affordable housing.
"I want to be a community connector to the people who need us the most," Jones said at a press conference Wednesday morning. "It's not always going to be easy. But we have the right people at our council. We have our partner in Mayor Todd Gloria. We have an executive leadership team that is excited and ready to do the work."
Recent data have shown many homeless San Diegans are moving off the streets and into housing — but that the number of newly homeless individuals is outpacing those exiting homelessness.
Ryan Clumpner, one of the commission's board members, said he appreciates that Jones always tells policymakers and the public the unvarnished truth.
"Lisa Jones … tells us the truth about how many people are sleeping on our streets (and) how many people ask for shelter but we don't have sufficient shelter to offer them," said Ryan Clumpner,. "And she tells the truth, perhaps most importantly, when we make mistakes, and tells us what we can do to learn from and correct those mistakes."
The City Council is scheduled to vote on whether to confirm Jones' appointment on Dec. 12. One of her first challenges as CEO will be navigating the controversy surrounding a proposed homeless shelter on a 5-acre property just west of San Diego International Airport.
Mayor Todd Gloria says the site, called the "H Barracks," could provide a safe place to sleep for between 300 and 700 homeless San Diegans, moving them away from the city's sidewalks, parks and freeways. But the proposal has faced fierce opposition from residents in neighboring Point Loma.