Abigail Stewart-Kahn, Interim Director
Abigail Stewart-Kahn is a dedicated social worker, public servant and innovative leader with 20 years of deep expertise in executive management, strategic planning, philanthropy, external affairs, program development and direct service. Her career has been shaped by an unwavering commitment to creating change with and on behalf of vulnerable communities and individuals through clinical intervention, system enhancements, impact programs and advocacy work.
In 2017, Abigail joined the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) as the Director of Strategic Partnerships with a focus on strategy, culture development and partnerships, in support of HSH’s mission to make homelessness rare, brief and one time. Abigail expanded her role in 2019 to include communications and public affairs before her appointment in 2020, by Mayor London N. Breed, to her current position as interim Director of HSH, where she manages a $300 million dollar budget and leads a staff of over 100 along with over 50 provider partners.
Since 2017, the department has achieved multiple strategic goals by:
- Helping more than 5,500 people exit homelessness through housing, rent subsidies, and family reunification programs
- Sheltering more than 15,000 people
- Maintaining housing for over 9,000 people in HSH-funded housing each night
- Conducting over 19,000 outreach encounters
Abigail’s focus on system improvements, community awareness, education and direct services is rooted in her early career as a social worker. She received a BA in Psychology and Religion from Swarthmore College and earned her MSW from Columbia University School of Social Work.
Abigail and her family live, work and attend school in San Francisco and consider themselves committed residents of the City.
Gigi Whitley, Deputy Director for Administration and Finance
Gigi Whitley manages the HSH division responsible for Finance, Contracts, Information Technology, Human Resources, Facilities, and Data and Performance.
Gigi has worked in San Francisco government since 2006, starting in the Mayor’s Budget Office as both an analyst and as Deputy Budget Director. From 2009 to 2014, she served as the Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, implementing the City’s first Housing Trust Fund and protecting more than $100 million in local affordable housing funding after the 2012 dissolution of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. During her tenure, she also worked on funding strategies for the HOPE SF Initiative and the plan to transform public housing in San Francisco. Most recently, she served as the Deputy Director for Administration and Finance at the Office of the Assessor-Recorder.
Gigi holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. Prior to joining the public sector, she spent her early career as a local newspaper reporter in the Washington, D.C. area.
Dedria Black, Deputy Director for Programs
Dedria Black manages all programs for HSH in the Homelessness Response System including Temporary Shelter and Outreach, Coordinated Entry and Problem Solving and Housing, and Housing Ladder. She joined HSH in the Fall of 2019.
Dedria began her career working with young people experiencing homelessness. Since that time, she has spent her career working with highly vulnerable populations. She has extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of program development, change management, process improvement, criminal justice, mental health, and leadership in the public and nonprofit sectors.
In addition to several substance abuse and business certifications, Dedria holds an Associate’s Degree in Public Administration, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and Human Services, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Paralegal Studies, an MBA specializing in Organizational Development and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology. She is a veteran of the United States Army and the Georgia Army National Guard.
Emily Cohen, Interim Director of Strategy & External Affairs
Emily Cohen serves as the Interim Director of Strategy & External Affairs where she oversees internal and external communications, legislative affairs, and guides strategy for the department.
Prior to rejoining HSH in March 2020, Emily served as Mayor Breed’s Policy Advisor on Homelessness where she focused on local, state, and federal policy to expand and improve the local Homeless Response System. Before joining the Mayor’s office, she was the Manager for Policy and Special Projects at HSH from 2016-2019. In this capacity, she managed government affairs at the local, state, and national levels for the Department. Emily also supported the communications and community relations work of the Department, as well as serving as the Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing, Opportunities, Partnerships, and Engagement (HOPE) under Mayor Ed Lee.
In addition to her government experience, Emily has worked as a provider of homeless services for adults and families in San Francisco and as a homeless policy advocate in Massachusetts. She has worked to end homelessness since 2004 and is committed to improving the way homelessness is addressed locally and nationally.
Emily has a B.A in Politics from the University of San Francisco and an M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University. When she’s not working, she enjoys running, hiking, backpacking, and being outdoors.
Irene Agustin, Director of Coordinated Entry and Problem Solving
Irene Augustin joined the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing in February 2020 as the Director of Coordinated Entry and Problem Solving. In her role, she ensures that all people experiencing a housing crisis are quickly identified, assessed, referred, and connected to housing and assistance based on their strengths and needs with fair and equal access. Additionally, she oversees problem-solving resources to prevent people from entering the Homeless Response System.
Irene has over 20 years of experience working with vulnerable populations and spent the last decade working specifically on homelessness. She has experience in all aspects of homeless services that span the continuum of care. Her areas of expertise are in establishing sustainable systems, process improvement, and resource development.
Irene has extensive nonprofit experience including homeless and human services organizations in both St. Louis, Missouri and Phoenix, Arizona. She began her career in the public sector and was selected to lead the Homeless Services Division for the City of St. Louis. She was later appointed Director of Human Services by St. Louis Mayor, Lyda Krewson.
Irene holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Creighton University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Saint Louis University. Empowering individuals and families is at the heart of her personal and professional mission and she is committed to the prevention and end of homelessness for people in San Francisco.
Mecca Cannariato, Director of Outreach and Temporary Shelter
Mecca Cannariato is the Director of Outreach and Temporary Shelter with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Originally from San Diego, she has over two decades of work experience in social services in both nonprofit and government sectors all in San Francisco. Mecca began at Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic, where she assisted in triaging youth and adults living with mental health, substance use, and complex medical diagnoses. She has also worked at Positive Resource Center and Lutheran Social Services, running housing sites, such as permanent supportive housing, substance-use treatment programs, and a domestic violence safe house. Most recently she worked for the Department of Public Health as the Program Director of the Windsor Hotel in the Tenderloin. During that time she worked with a multidisciplinary team of case managers and nurses to ensure formally homeless clients have a safe and healthy place to call home.
Mecca has dual graduate degrees from San Francisco State University; a Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis on Urban Public Policy, and a Masters in Social Work with an emphasis on clinical work. She has served in a volunteer capacity on the Board of Directors of TARC, Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center, Coalition of Clinical Social Work, and the Northern CA Chapter of the American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work. Mecca very much enjoys working for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing and values its focus and dedication to ending homelessness.
Salvador Menjivar, Director of Housing
Salvador Menjivar currently serves as the Director of Housing for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. In his position he oversees a portfolio of over 8,000 units of Permanent Supportive Housing and hundreds of housing subsidies under the Rapid Rehousing Program. He also oversees the Housing Ladder program and leads both the Family and Youth Implementation teams within HSH.
Prior to HSH Salvador spent 11 years in the position of Executive Director at Beneficial State Bank Foundation, a socially responsible bank specializing in providing loans that promote affordable housing, renewable energy and financial services in low-income communities. From 1997 to 2007, Salvador served as Executive Director of Hamilton Families in San Francisco, where he pioneered Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing programs for homeless families and individuals. He became a passionate advocate for housing solutions for low income and homeless people during his time as Housing Director and Service Director at Catholic Charities. Salvador holds a degree in Economics and Politics New School University in New York and an M.B.A from the University of San Francisco. He has received several awards, including a local award from the Full Circle Fund for innovation in the development of affordable housing, and a National Achievement Award from the National Alliance to End Homelessness for his work on ending homelessness for families and children. During the last two decades Salvador has served on several Boards of Directors and City Commissions in the cities of San Francisco and Berkeley