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Santa Monica Hires LA's Top Advisior on Homelessness to Fill New Post

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By Jorge Casuso

January 26, 2018 -- Alisa Orduña -- who currently is in charge of homeless policies for the City of Los Angeles -- will assume a similar post in Santa Monica, City officials announced Thursday.

As the Senior Advisor on Homelessness to City Manager Rick Cole, Orduña will help coordinate efforts across City departments, as well as participate in policy and resource discussions with regional governments.

Her monthly salary will be $10,937

Alisa Orduña
Alisa Orduña addresses volunteers during Thursday night's homeless census (Courtesy City of Santa Monica)

“Homelessness has become our most urgent challenge," said Cole, who made the announcement during Wednesday night's annual homeless count. "Alisa has the extensive knowledge, relationships and passion to make a difference by mobilizing our entire community’s resources and energy.

“We can’t solve homelessness in 8.3 square miles," Cole said, "yet Santa Monica is determined to continue to lead on this regional challenge."

Orduña's post was approved by the City Council last fall after the 2017 homeless census showed a dramatic jump in the number of people living on the streets and in temporary shelters ("Santa Monica City Council Approves New Post of Senior Advisor on Homelessness," September 13, 2017).

The 26 percent jump to 921 individuals, up from 728 people in 2016, reflected a region-wide trend ("Santa Monica Homeless Count Mirrors Los Angeles County Increase, Officials Say," June 1, 2017).

Orduña will "build on her experience" heading LA's homeless policy since 2015, officials said.

In LA, she led Mayor Eric Garcetti’s homeless cabinet, coordinated City department action plans and worked with community partners and the Los Angeles Police Department.

A Southern California native, Orduña has worked in housing, homeless and social services for nearly two decades, officials said.

“Santa Monica has long been an innovator in the field of homelessness services," Orduña said, "and I look forward to advocating for new resources to help bring the best ideas to scale so that together we can address this crisis within the city.”

Orduña starts February 5 and will report to Deputy City Manager and Director of Policy Anuj Gupta.

More than 120 candidates applied for the post.


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