Welcome to our Virtual Event

Join Housing Works’ Executive Director, Celina Alvarez, in a streaming roundtable discussion with Val Zavala (KCET), Peter Lynn (former ED of LAHSA), Roland Palencia (L.A. CARE), and Saba Mwine (Corporation for Supportive Housing) as they look to the idea of revolutionary leadership to address systemic racism within the Homeless Services realm. Also featuring performing artists, Housing Works’ frontline staff, Housing Works participant, artitst and activist, Andy Ledesma, and honoring the Immaculate Heart Community

Event Date: Sunday, June 28, 2020

Event Time: 5:00 p.m. PST

Location:   The comfort of your own home.

Tickets: This event is FREE and open to the public


Adam Conover

Host of Adam Ruins Everything and Nickelodeon’s The Crystal Maze


Introduction by Celina Alvarez, Housing Works’ Executive Director

Honoring the Immaculate Heart Community (IHC) on their 50th Anniversary. Housing Works’ Founder, Mary Kirchen, and president of IHC, Karol Schulkin, discuss the work of the organization as well as the founding of Housing Works in 2003.

Interviews from Housing Works’ Front-Line Staff: William Jackson, Monique Jordan and Maria de Jesus Gomez discuss the work they do, how COVID-19 has impacted them and where they see the organization going in the future.


Housing Works’ Participant, Andy Ledesma, discusses empowerment and finding his true passion after being housed.


A Panel of Leaders in the field of Homeless Services discuss Revolutionary Leadership: moderated by Val Zavala (KCET) and featuring Celina Alvarez (Housing Works’ Executive Director), Peter Lynn (former ED at LAHSA), Roland Palencia (L.A. Care) , and Saba Mwine (Corporation for Supportive Housing).

*Also, featuring music by Jamal Lamont, appearances from Adam Conover, and Spoken Word by Bikbaye Inejnema

2020 Panel Attendees

Calling to light the sytemic racism imbued throughout the homeless services sector. This panel brings together leaders to discuss the radical leadership nessecary to impact revolutionary change within the system.

Saba Mwine

Saba Mwine (She/Her/Hers) has over 16 years of experience spearheading projects throughout our nation that measure, investigate and enforce equal access to housing based on multiple protected classes. Saba has played numerous roles from project designer and civil rights investigator to management consultant and educator. Since starting with CSH in July 2017, she established CSH’s first racial equity initiatives via fundraising, designing grant programming, developing and delivering training content and guiding community initiatives. Saba is also a professional actor and theatre arts professor and is committed to using arts as a tool in healing racial trauma and shaping community spaces. Saba also directs CSH’s Los Angeles Supportive Housing Institute—an intensive that brings developers, service providers and property managers together as teams to plan new high quality supportive housing projects throughout Los Angeles County.

Peter Lynn

Peter Lynn is a public servant who has worked in low income housing and homelessness for the past 20 years. He led the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority for five years through 2019, a period of tremendous change for the lead agency of nation’s largest Continuum of Care, growing funding levels from $75 to $402 million, and transforming the organization from a passthrough contract administrator to the central strategic partner in LA’s collaborative addressing homelessness. He grew LA’s federal homelessness grant funding portfolio 65% to $130 million. Peter focused LAHSA on evidence-based practices, on implementation of LA’s coordinated entry system, and lifting up the interconnected roles of housing affordability and systemic racism as key drivers for LA’s homelessness crisis. Prior to LAHSA, he ran Section 8 for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), doubling the size of HACLA’s homeless programs to more than 14,000 units, and reducing barriers to access for some of the city’s most challenging, service-intensive populations.

 He served on several regional and national bodies addressing homelessness including the National Alliance to End Homelessness Leadership Council, Mayor Garcetti’s Homelessness Cabinet, and the Home For Good Leadership Team. An advocate of interagency cooperation, he works to strengthen the collaboration between jurisdictions, departments, agencies and organizations assisting the homeless throughout the Los Angeles Continuum of Care.

Val Zavala

Val Zavala spent 30 years as a broadcast journalist at KCET public television in Los Angeles winning numerous journalism awards, including 19 L.A. Area Emmy® Awards. She retired in 2018. During her time at LA’s preeminent PBS station she served as a reporter, anchor, producer and V.P. of News and Public Affairs. For much of that time she was also anchor of Life & Times and executive producer/anchor of SoCal Connected. She covered a broad spectrum of Southern California issues including politics, education, healthcare, environment, demographics, the economy, arts and culture.

She currently serves on the board of the combined KCET and PBS SoCal broadcasting company. She lives in Altadena with her artist-husband Mark and dog Casey.

Roland Palencia

Roland Palencia was born and raised in Guatemala. He is the Community Benefits Director and a corporate trainer at L.A. Care Health Plan, the largest public health plan in the nation. He is the former Executive Director at Clinica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero and Equality California. Other executive positions have included Regional Director at The California Endowment, and Chief of Operations and Vice-President at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

 He has received numerous awards acknowledging his decades of activism and advocacy on behalf of marginalized and underserved populations, including the diverse Queer communities, undocumented immigrants, and the uninsured. In 2001, he was honored as a “Local Hero” by KCET (a public station) and Union Bank of California.

 In the early 1980s, he became one of the early founders of the LGBTQ Latin@ movement in the greater Los Angeles area. He has been featured in a number of books and publications such as “Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians” by Stuart Timmons and Lilian Faderman (2006). “Central Americans in Los Angeles” by Rosamaria Segura (2010); and “The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle” by Lilian Faderman (2015). A 165-page Master thesis by David Guzman, M.A., CSUN, records his life journey as a Guatemalan refugee and community activist. He is also the Executive Producer of “TransVisible: Bamby Salcedo’s Story,” a documentary depicting the life and activism of Bamby Salcedo, a nationally renowned transgender Latina activist.

 He is a Board member of the ONE Archives Foundation, the longest existing LGBTQ organization in the U.S., and Treasurer of Teatro Akabal Theatre, a socially conscious theater group collective.

 He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from UCLA and is a former Lecturer at California State University Northridge (CSUN) in the Central American Studies Department. He is a Masters of Humanities candidate at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Montecito, California (August 2020).

 His greatest pride is being a mentor to future generations of progressive activists.

Celina Alvarez

Celina Alvarez is the executive director of Housing Works. Alvarez was first introduced to nonprofit work in 1993 during the peak of the AIDS epidemic.  1999 would be the year her world lens would shift as this was the year she met Mollie Lowery at LAMP Community in Skid Row who taught her about the value of harm reduction and housing first principles.

Celina joined Housing Works in 2008 as one of the first members of the nationally recognized Mobile Integrated Services Team.  MIST serves individuals experiencing chronic homelessness—doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes—to move them off the streets and into housing.  Since 2002, Alvarez has played a key role in contributing to the implementation of best practice strategies within the realm of permanent supportive housing.

In June 2015, she earned her bachelors in Social Work from Cal State Los Angeles, and in July 2015, was promoted to Executive Director of Housing Works. In 2017, Alvarez obtained a Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Antioch University Los Angeles.

Celina loves the aroma of freshly cooked food and a beautiful sunset.  Her passion is to walk alongside those who are striving to regain control of their own lives–one person, one life, one relationship at a time.  Celina has two adult children and one grandson.  She lives in beautiful Altadena with her partner and their dog Winston.



Bikbaye Inejnema

Bikbaye Inejnema is a cultural activist, healer, teacher,
transformational facilitator, spiritual advisor,
consultant, writer and recording
artist from Chicago, IL. He received a B.A. of Sociology from Rust

College. Bikbaye has studied, traveled and taught abroad extensively
over the past twenty years and has
thousands of individuals in the spiritual/healing arts. 
Bikbaye is the founder of Conscious Youth Global Network and Conscious Youth Global Movement,
which are both youth based initiatives serving
youth locally and nationally. Bikbaye is also the founder of the Reconciliation &
Reunification Sacred
Gathering, a
yearly gathering of indigenous elders, youth, leaders, mentors and healers.

Jamal Lamont

Vocalist, vocal coach, composer, and songwriter Jamal Lamont is known to have a smooth yet powerful voice. Born and raised in Columbia, Maryland, Jamal now resides in Los Angeles. He has worked with Dave Chappelle, the Supa Lowery Brothers, Faith Evans, and Fergie. Jamal has been a recurring performer for some of the most popular venues in Los Angeles including Sofitel Hotel, Peppermint Club, Hotel Café, and the Sayers club. He is also the lead singer for the corporate band Boogie Agenda. Jamal is currently the resident host for The Pocket LA, an open mic and featured artist event. Jamal’s latest success includes his single called “Good Life” which is available on all music streaming platforms. The music video for his song “Good Life” is also on YouTube.

Andy Ledesma

Andy Ledesma is a Chicano artist whose career has spanned more than three decades. He was introduced to the emerging mural movement and Chicano art scene in the 80’s and started painting murals in 1986. The majority of his pieces reside in the Highland Park and northeast Los Angeles areas. In 1992, Ledesma founded Charming Devil Studios, which would produce the first self-published comix ‘zine out of East Los Angeles entitled, “Welcome to La-la Land” that featured many emerging Chicano comix artists, as well as a paper mache studio.

In 2002 he relocated to Southeast Texas where he served as the Director of the Texas Artist Museum in Port Arthur Texas from 2004- 2007. His studio in Texas focused on paper mache fabrication and design and was featured in several Mardi Gras floats. His work at the museum included creating a summer art program that recruited college art majors from Lamar University to teach art classes. The program grew from 25 to 105 students and continues to this day.

Ledesma recently returned to Los Angeles and is re-establishing Charming Devil Studios in Echo park and developing a reboot of La-La Land.

Housing Works Staff

William Jackson       Maria de Jesus Gomez      Monique Jordan


In the spirit of cultivating hope, we would like to honor the following organizations and individuals as heros, leaders, and advocates in the field of supportive housing.




Peter Lynn

The Tom McGuiness Community Leadership Award is presented each year to individuals or groups that embody the spirit of community and respect for each person as we do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to fulfill our mission to create housing options for people with limited resources. Tom was a founding board member of Housing Works; the extraordinary example of his spirit is memorialized in this award.

Peter Lynn is a systems changer. From his time overseeeing Section 8 at Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) to Executive Director at LA Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), Peter is an ally who makes himself available and accessible. When Housing Works noted a systemic issue and proposed a solution that made sense, Peter made sure to shepherd it through. He speaks truth and is a true advocate for everything Housing First and Harm Reduction. 

Honoring Housing Works founders: The Immaculate Heart Community

In 1970 approximately 300 women, who were formerly members of a Roman Catholic Religious community, formed and inaugurated The Immaculate Heart Community In Los Angeles. This new group was established as an ecumenical community welcoming women and men, married, partnered, single, straight, and LGBQT people.

This community, a Non-profit for Public Benefit Corporation, has developed and founded many social service organizations, educational endeavors, community development opportunities, and has partnered with many other agencies for the support of human development.

 The Goal Statement of the Immaculate Heart Community:

 “We, the members of the Immaculate Heart Community, rooted in Jesus the Christ and united with the people of God, commit ourselves to build relations in society which foster access of all persons to truth, dignity and full human development, and to strategically change practices and situations which impede such access. With reverence for all creation in our choice of work and living style and in our use of time, talent and money, we hold ourselves accountable to God and one another for effecting this goal and supporting one another in this effort.”

 2020 is the 50th Anniversary of the Immaculate Heart Community. Members currently live and work in nine states and in Canada.

For more information:  www.immaculateheartcommunity.org






Your contributions are invaluable to the impact we create each day in the lives of those we serve. Celebrate neighbors with us–individuals and families who have been chronically homeless and struggling with prohibative mental illness– as they obtain and sustain permanent supportive housing.

Housing Works Circle

  • Logo on Virtual Event Program

Engagement Sponsor

  •  Logo on Virtual  Event Program

Permanent Housing Sponsor

  • Logo on Virtual Event Program
  • 5 minute chat room with staff member and participant 
  • +Logo on HW Website
  • Logo on virtual step and repeat

Rentention Sposor

  • 5 minute chat room with Robert Morrison and guest participant
  • Logo on Virtual Event Program
  • Logo on HW Website
  • Logo on Virtual Step and Repeat

Title Sponsor

  • 5 minute chat room with Celina and guest participant
  • Logo on Virtaul Event Program
  • Logo on HW Website
  • Shout out at Virtual Event by Adam Conover
  • Logo on Virtual Step and Repeat

Don't Be Shy

If we didn’t answer all of your questions, feel free to drop us a line anytime.

For Event information and inquiries contact Greg Richardson, Events by One. Email: housingworks@eventsbyone.com
310.659.5517 office
// 310.659.5527 fax

For Sponsorship information and inquiries contact Erica Arthur. Email: earthur@housingworksca.org

Housing Works California

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