Stephen David Simon, who runs Los Angeles’ Department on Disability, was appointed interim executive director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority on Thursday, Sept. 15, while the search continues for a permanent leader.
Simon will take over the position from Kristina Dixon and Molly Rysman, who had been serving as acting co-executive directors since April.
Simon has worked in government affairs and public policy advocacy for two decades. Besides the Department of Disability, he has worked at The Raben Group and as AIDS coordinator for the city.
“I’m humbled that the LAHSA Commission has entrusted me with leading the agency on its next steps toward tackling the homelessness crisis,” Simon said in a statement, “and I am honored to work alongside the LAHSA staff, external partners, and elected officials to assess the best practices toward decreasing the number of people in this unfortunate situation.”
LAHSA officials said they hope to have a permanent executive director in place by early next year, and are conducting a nationwide search.
LAHSA Commission Committee Chair Wendy Greuel said in a statement that she was “thrilled and thankful” to bring Simon aboard.
“We just announced that there are 69,000 people experiencing homelessness in L.A. County,” Greuel said, “and the quality of Stephen’s leadership experience, network, and drive to effect positive change is just what we need to continue leading the efforts of moving our unhoused Angelenos permanently indoors.”
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Dixon and Rysman will return to their previous roles at LAHSA. Dixon had been the chief financial and administrative officer, while Rysman was the chief programs officer.
“Kristina and Molly did a fantastic job during their leadership as acting directors and made remarkable strides along the way,” Greuel said. “They both exemplified admirable teamwork, dedication, and passion that surely did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
“We are happy to keep them involved in executive leadership as we co-work with our external partners on our future efforts,” she added. “I cannot thank them enough for their efforts over the last few months.”