HOMELESS COURT TEAM & STEERING COMMITTEE

The hub of the Homeless Court in San Diego is the Steering Committee. Acting similar to a Board of Directors, the Steering Committee provides the direction and policy for HCP, provides regular training to member Provider agencies, and approves new Providers to become HCP referring members.

Rob Smith

ROB SMITH

Steering Committee Chair

Robert has worked in workforce development since 2000 serving primarily justice involved populations.  He joined the Center for Employment Opportunities in 2015, providing a comprehensive suite of job readiness services to those impacted by criminal justice history to help individuals avoid the cycle that often leads the back to incarceration by creating opportunities to find and retain employment. Over the past two decades he has worked across the US, London, Ireland and Scotland assisting formerly incarcerated people, programs and systems.  His passion and dedication is fueled by his own lived experience of cycling through the justice system and wanting to break the cycle.
Email: rsmith@ceoworks.org

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MATT WECHTER

Public Defender Homeless Court Team & Court Liaison

Matt Wechter is a Deputy Public Defender with the San Diego Office of the Public Defender. As a member of the Public Defender Homeless Court Team and Steering Committee, Matt acts as a liaison between the Superior Court, District Attorney, City Attorney, and Homeless Court Providers (HCPs); in this capacity, he represents San Diego's homeless population during monthly homeless court sessions and orchestrates and executes the annual Homeless Court @ Stand Down, San Diego's annual 3-day homeless veteran event.  Matt is also an active member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, which provides policy guidance and technical assistance to replicate the ABA/San Diego HCP model in jurisdictions across the country. At heart, Matt is a technology junkie - leveraging high-tech solutions where possible to support efficiencies with tight resources and to serve as many clients as possible.
email: matthew.wechter@sdcounty.ca.gov

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DAN FORSBERG

Steering Committee Co-Chair

Dan Forsberg has worked at the VA San Diego Healthcare System since 2010 and has been involved with Homeless Court since 2014. He works as a social worker in the Veteran’s Justice Outreach program. The purpose of the Veteran Justice Outreach (VJO) Initiative is to avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration among Veterans by ensuring that eligible justice-involved Veterans have timely access to VA mental health and substance use services when clinically indicated, and other VA services and benefits as appropriate.  Part of Dan’s role is to facilitate Veteran access to the San Diego Homeless Court and support treatment to address the underlying issues related to homelessness.
email: daniel.forsberg@va.gov

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MANUEL BEDARD

Steering Committee Member

Manuel Bedard is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Level Two who in his capacity as the Program Secretary for the Salvation Army helps addicted adults to work towards recovery and lasting fulfillment.
Before starting as the Program Secretary, a position he has held for four years, Manuel worked for five years as a Lead Counselor. As the result of the work Manuel does he is now a member of the Homeless Court Steering Committee, served as the sole facilitator of the Clean Plates program for the City of San Diego and continues to provide services to veterans through his association with VVSD as a case manager on the drug Medi-Cal program.
email: manuel.bedard@usw.salvationarmy.org

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JOHN BRADY

Steering Committee Member

With lived homeless experience, an MBA in Marketing & Operations, and an entertainment background, John brings a unique set of skills, passion and perspective to the Steering Committee and the community. From the very beginning of the choir John has been an active advocate for the unsheltered in the San Diego area. In this role he has become educated in many of the issues that are relevant to our homelessness crisis on a national and local level. His work had led to him becoming a media voice, cited in The San Diego Union Tribune, The Huffington Post, NBC 7 and The Voice of San Diego among many other media outlets. John is also a regular speaker at conferences, community groups and governmental bodies. Additionally, he is responsible for production planning, choir communications and event execution.
email: jbrady@voicesofourcity.org

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KELLEY GEBBIE

Steering Committee Member

Kelley is a Housing and Resource Specialist at Catholic Charities’ Rachel’s Women’s Center, a day center that provides a safe social environment for homeless and low-income women. She has an extensive background connecting homeless and very low income individuals with housing and behavioral health resources. She has been with Rachel’s for 13 plus years helping marginalized women put their lives together. As an advocate, she is on the board of A New PATH, Parent’s for Addiction Treatment and Healing helping to transform archaic drug policies with therapeutic treatment rather that incarceration. They lead the county in training and distribution of Naloxone, reversing the effects of accidental overdose. She has been involved with the San Diego Homeless Court for over 10 years.
email: kgebbie@ccdsd.org

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Paul Armstrong

Steering Committee Member

Paul Armstrong is a native of Albuquerque New Mexico.  He served for over twenty years in the United States Navy as a Supply Corps Officer and a Chaplain. 

 

He went to work at The Salvation Army after his retirement from the Navy.  He served as the San Diego County Social Service Director.  He was then able to transition to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless where he served as the Chief Programs Officer.  In May 2020 he transitioned to the San Diego Rescue Mission where he currently serves as the Vice President for Programs.

 

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of New Mexico.  He has earned his Masters in Business Administration from Brenau University, Masters of Divinity from Bethel Seminary and his Masters in Social Work from University of Southern California.

email: parmstrong@sdrescue.org

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Carlos Cuervo

Steering Committee Member

Carlos Cuervo is a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor with McAlister Institute. He has worked as a counselor and as Case Manager and Program manager for the residential detox program and the Sobering Center for McAlister. He is currently a Homeless Outreach Coordinator for McAlister. He has worked closely with many agencies involved with substance use and homelessness over the past ten years including law enforcement agencies.

email: carlos.cuervo@mcalisterinstitute.org

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Shivonne Ayala

Steering Committee Member

Shivonne Ayala, a native New Yorker, joined the United States Navy in 2000 and served for 12 years, both active duty and as a reservist.  Her military employment included Aviation Maintenance Administration, Navy Recruiter, and Logistical Support Specialist, earning the rank of E5.  She was stationed in Norfolk, VA, Great Lakes, IL and currently lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and 2 children.  Mrs. Ayala currently serves as the Executive Assistant to the President & CEO and Executive Vice President & COO for Veterans Village of San Diego.  She is also a Navy spouse for 17 years to her active-duty husband who has been serving in the Navy for the last 23 years.  Mrs. Ayala holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Business Administration.  In her free time, she enjoys the beaches, pools, shopping, movies, cooking, playing sports and spending time with her family.

email: shivonne.ayala@vvsd.net

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RAYMOND SAIGH

Steering Committee Member

Ray has been a member of the Homeless Court Steering Committee since the summer of 2017. Ray is responsible for holding Homeless Court every other month at Father Joe's Villages. Ray is the Manager of Employment Services at Father Joe's Villages. Ray has been working for non-profits for 26 years. He started working for Disabled American Veterans in 1994, and then moved to Father Joe's Villages in 2003 as Supervisor of Employment Services. As Manager, Ray is responsible for assisting the Homeless to become job ready and obtain employment. The Employment and Education Services department, which Ray is the manager, offers job ready classes like Computer, Resume, Interview and Application. Ray enjoys working at Father Joe's Villages, whose mission is to prevent and end homelessness one life at a time. Father Joe's Villages achieves this mission by providing outcome-based programs in the spirit of the CREED, Compassion, Respect, Empathy, Empowerment and Dignity.
email: raymond.saigh@neighbor.org