Shelter, Nutritious Food, and Health Care, are Human Rights

Housing 4 the Homeless (H4H) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to ending homelessness one person at a time.

We’re a group of social justice advocates who serve our unhoused neighbors. Our focus is older adults, many who are medically fragile, who make up 30% of the unhoused population in San Diego.

People who lose their housing come from all walks of life, some were essential workers who never had the opportunity to purchase property that provides the security so many of us rely on in our later years. Others have experienced a series of misfortunes, the loss of a partner, an accident, a health crisis. It doesn’t take much to deplete your savings, especially when you may be struggling with depression and anxiety associated with traumatic experiences and find it hard to think clearly. San Diego is the least affordable city in the United States, people on fixed incomes, many who have lived here their entire lives, are being priced out of the market. When we don’t have family or friends who can help us, it’s easy to lose everything very quickly.

That’s where we come in, in many ways we take the role of a family member or close friend and do whatever it takes to help people stabilize their health and find housing. This kind of engagement is especially important for older adults who often struggle with systemic barriers to care that rely on largely virtual environments. Once they start to experience cognitive impairment these barriers become insurmountable without help. They need personalized intensive support, the kind that very few organizations are able to provide, the kind of care that H4H specializes in.

Our Board

Dr. Leah Ben-Ami: (she/her) Leah is the former Director of Learning, Development, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) at Car Gurus. She is an advocate for co-creation, authentic and servant leadership, inclusivity, and reducing isolation through engaging virtual and hybrid experiences. She obtained her Doctorate in Higher Education from Northeastern University in 2019, focusing on the persistence of BIPOC men in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Prior to joining Car Gurus, Leah was the Director of Learning and Development at C Space, a customer agency focused primarily on consulting and market research for Fortune 1,000 clients.

Prior to C Space, Leah has worked at Northeastern University for over 17 years focusing on continuing adult education, mentorship, STEM, DEI, operations, and online learning.

Vanessa Davis: (she,her) Vanessa has over 15 years of experience in social services combined with lived experience as a former foster youth, a former licensed foster parent, and someone that has struggled immensely to overcome childhood trauma and abuse.  Vanessa entered care at the age of three, having upward of 16 placements before aging out of the system at 18 years old completely unprepared for adulthood. She experienced homelessness and hopelessness, but through perseverance, faith, and hard work, she slowly began to build a life for herself. She is currently working as a consultant and group facilitator for multiple organizations including Leah’s Pantry, Washington Snap-Ed, San Diego Office of Education, Homework SD, and Post Prison Chronicles Healing Circle. Vanessa spearheaded an effort with multiple nonprofit organizations, as well as the Clinton Health Foundation and the San Diego Foundation to create a Trauma Informed Code of Conduct to provide government agencies with a framework on how to support youth in building resilience and becoming healthy and empowered. This code of conduct has been adopted by 52 organizations in San Diego.

Dr. Aaron Meyer: (he, him)  Aaron Meyer, MD, is a psychiatrist who specializes in caring for people with severe or acute mental illness and behavioral health conditions. Dr. Meyer’s focus is on helping people who are hospitalized or in the emergency department for a mental or behavioral health condition. He has experience caring for the homeless and incarcerated and has an interest in social justice and its intersection with medicine and human health. Dr. Meyer completed a combined residency in family medicine and psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He earned his medical degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine and was awarded the Rodney Coe Distinction in Community Service. He is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Joanne Standlee, MSSW: (she,her) Joanne brings her professional knowledge of complex trauma and how it impacts us throughout course of our lives, to some of the most vulnerable people on the streets.  She is keenly aware of the intersectionality of vulnerabilities that often result in homelessness. With 18 years of business ownership, then 12 years in C level non-profit leadership, she brings a refreshing level of clarity and accountability to the management of H4H. Her in-depth knowledge of best practice helps guide H4H’s intensive approach to case management. Joanne earned a Master of Science in social work from the Columbia University School of Social Work.

Kathliene Sundt: (she, her) Kathliene brings her experience as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for Voices for Children since 2015 to her position on the H4H board. That along with her working with many unhoused friends over the years has given her direct exposure to the great need, and the ever-widening gap in services to meet the needs of our community members living on the streets.

John MacFerran Wilds: (he,him) John, a Seattle native, has spent his life in the music profession – as a performer and educator. His musical credits include 35 years in the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Opera Orchestras, as well as performing and recording with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony. In his “retirement” John Wilds is Trumpet Artist in Residence at San Diego State University School of Music and Dance.

John’s activism with the unsheltered population has its root in his upbringing. His mother was widowed when he was 15 years old and he was supported by a community of extended family. Later in his professional career, he has actively planned and presented musical arts and resources to under-served communities across the United States and Mexico with his non-profit group, Westwind Brass.

Aside from his professional contacts with under-served communities, John has a long-standing relationship with local unsheltered individuals through his 35 years of working in performance venues in downtown San Diego.