SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole has chosen Alisa Orduña as Senior Advisor on Homelessness to coordinate the community’s comprehensive efforts to fight homelessness in the region. Cole introduced Alisa Orduña at the Santa Monica Homeless Count on January 24. Orduña is currently the Director of Homelessness Policy for the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a position she’s held since 2015.
Orduña has been on the front lines of homelessness and social services for nearly two decades in the cities of Los Angeles and Philadelphia and was selected from a competitive applicant pool of more than 120 candidates for the position.
According to a press release Canyon News received from Constance Farrell, Public Information Officer for the city of Santa Monica, Orduña comes to Santa Monica to fill a new position that the City Council approved last fall in response to the large increase in homelessness across Los Angeles County.
“Homelessness has become our most urgent challenge. Alisa has the extensive knowledge, relationships and passion to make a difference by mobilizing our entire community’s resources and energy,” said City Manager Rick Cole. “We can’t solve homelessness in 8.3 square miles, yet Santa Monica is determined to continue to lead on this regional challenge. Because homelessness affects everyone, our goal is to mobilize everyone in our community to join together to ensure no one in need goes without help and our public spaces are safe for everyone.”
As Los Angeles’ Director of Homelessness Policy, Orduña led Mayor Garcetti’s homeless cabinet, coordinated City department action plans, engaged community partners, and worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to increase service connection among unsheltered homeless residents. She has worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders, including Business Improvement Districts, faith-based organizations, persons with lived experience, academic institutions, the veteran’s community, and neighborhood councils.
Orduña served in community and government affairs for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, where she worked to increase resources for permanent supportive housing. Before returning to Los Angeles in 2011, she worked for a Philadelphia homeless services organization providing emergency shelter, supportive affordable housing, workforce development, and early childhood education to homeless families.
“I look forward to joining the City of Santa Monica team to address the issue of homelessness,” said Orduña. “Santa Monica has long been an innovator in the field of homelessness services 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.”
As the Senior Advisor on Homelessness, Orduña will engage the growing array of Santa Monica stakeholders participating in developing and implementing solutions in the city’s homeless efforts. She will ensure the city is participating in policy and resource discussions with county and regional partners, while facilitating coordination across city departments.
“Alisa brings extraordinary heart and integrity to everything she does,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Her leadership and expertise have helped us get thousands of people off the streets and into permanent housing — and her optimistic spirit has inspired so many Angelenos to get personally involved in helping our homeless neighbors rebuild their lives. We’ll miss Alisa’s energy and expertise, and wish her all the best in her new assignment.”
Orduña graduated cum laude from Xavier University of Louisiana with a BA in English and a Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburg. She also has a Master of Psychology degree and is pursuing her Doctorate of Philosophy focused on Community, Liberation, and Eco-Psychologies from Pacifica Graduate Institute.
Her new position will begin on Monday, February 5, and she will report to Deputy City Manager and Director of Policy Anuj Gupta. Her monthly salary is $10,937.