Shireen McSpadden, Executive Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing
Shireen McSpadden is the Executive Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing for the City and County of San Francisco. She was appointed by Mayor London N. Breed in April of 2021, after a nation-wide search.
Her experience and connection to communities will help the Department meet its strategic goals of serving our most vulnerable residents, including the critical work of delivering on the promise of the Mayor’s the Homelessness Recovery Plan. Shireen has over 30 years’ experience providing services to people with disabilities and seniors, in both the nonprofit and public sectors. In 2020, she was recognized for her anti-ageism work by Time Magazine, named as one of 16 people and groups fighting for a more equitable America. She has served on several boards and committees including the San Francisco Long Term Care Coordinating Council, the San Francisco Palliative Care Work Group, and the California Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
As a member of Governor Newsom’s Master Plan for Aging Stakeholder Committee, Shireen helped shape California’s Master Plan for Aging. She is also an executive board member, representing California, for the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Shireen was recently appointed by Secretary Mark Ghaly to California’s Disability and Aging Community Advisory Committee.
Shireen holds a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco.
Noelle Simmons, Chief Deputy Director
Noelle Simmons was appointed by Mayor London Breed to the position of Chief Deputy Director at the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing in May 2021. She brings with her 18 years of experience in public sector administration and 25 years of experience in designing, delivering, evaluating and advocating for social services and safety net programs.
Noelle transitioned into the Department after a 14-year tenure with the San Francisco Human Services Agency. From 2015-2021, she was the Deputy Director over the Economic Support and Self-Sufficiency Division. In this capacity, she administered benefits programs that touched the lives of over 200,000 low-income San Franciscans each year, including CalFresh, Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, General Assistance and Workforce Development Services. Until 2016, Noelle also oversaw the Agency’s housing and homeless programs, which later migrated to HSH. She played an instrumental role in the Agency’s implementation of the nationally-recognized JobsNOW subsidized employment program, the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, and Families Rising, a collective impact initiative that seeks to disrupt the intergenerational transfer of poverty. From 2007-2015, Noelle was the Agency’s Deputy Director for Policy & Planning, during which time she managed legislative affairs, special initiatives, interagency partnerships and strategic planning efforts.
Prior to her time at the Human Services Agency, Noelle served as the Budget Director for the City & County of San Francisco under former Mayor Gavin Newsom, overseeing the development and management of a $6.5 billion annual budget.
Noelle holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School at UC Berkeley. After many years living in San Francisco, she now resides in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children.
Emily Cohen, Deputy Director for Communications & Legislative Affairs
Emily Cohen serves as the Deputy Director for Communications and Legislative Affairs where she oversees internal and external communications, and legislative affairs.
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.
Cynthia Nagendra, Deputy Director of Planning & Strategy
Cynthia Nagendra, Deputy Director of Planning and Strategy, was recently appointed by San Francisco Mayor London Breed to the executive leadership team of San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. She brings over 15 years of experience in designing homeless response systems and programs. She has focused her career on effectuating systems change at all levels of government using outcomes-based analysis and program design, with the goal of preventing and ending homelessness and advancing housing justice. She has worked on homelessness policy, planning, data-driven program design and evaluation, advocacy, developing cross-sector partnerships, and research in dozens of communities across the country.
Most recently, Cynthia was the founding Executive Director of the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative (BHHI), a research and policy center at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) focused on homelessness, housing, and public health, where she built an organization of multi-disciplinary experts to provide research and equitable policy recommendations to strengthen the public sector’s response to the most critical issues facing unhoused people. Prior to leading BHHI, she was the Director of the Center for Capacity Building at the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), a leading national policy and advocacy organization. At NAEH, Cynthia worked closely with federal policy makers and local community leaders from across the country to design evidence-based policies and interventions to more effectively respond to homelessness. She designed and delivered technical assistance and capacity building to dozens of communities to educate policymakers, practitioners and thought-leaders on outcomes-driven system design, data and performance measurement, and program practices. She began her career in San Francisco providing direct services to people experiencing homelessness as a Program Manager at St. Anthony Foundation, a direct services organization and later, as a staff attorney at HomeBase, a HUD TA provider. She earned a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, where she worked on immigration, criminal justice re-entry, and women’s rights issues and a B.A. from Vassar College, where she majored in English.
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.
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