Board of Directors

Community Homeless Solutions is governed by a volunteer board of directors comprised of committed professionals and leaders from the local community.  

About our board

Community Homeless Solutions is governed by a volunteer board of directors comprised of committed professionals and leaders from the local community.  

Our board members are the fiduciaries who steer our organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as by making sure Community Homeless Solutions has adequate resources to advance its mission.

 

Members serve up to two three-year terms. Currently we have five individuals serving as board members, from a variety of backgrounds. To learn more about our board members scroll down or click on the names to the right.

Board News & Updates

Make a difference in our community and help us reach new goals.

Learn more about how you can become a volunteer board member with Community Homeless Solutions.

Board member picture of woman

Lisa Griffin Burns
President

Lisa Griffin Burns was pleased to join the Board of Community Homeless Solutions in April 2019, grateful for the opportunity to support this amazing nonprofit serving the most vulnerable in our community, especially the growing number of youth and families experiencing housing instability.

A longtime resident of Monterey County, Lisa received great joy in supporting students and families for 25 years through her professional work! She served for seven years as the Director of two community centers in Monterey, Casanova Oak Knoll and Hilltop Park Center, before leaving to focus her efforts on launching a new charter school in 2000. The International School of Monterey (ISM) is now a highly regarded public school located in Seaside offering the rigorous International Baccalaureate program for K-8 students throughout Monterey County. During her 18 years at ISM, Lisa provided expertise in Human Resources management, volunteer engagement, operations, and facilities / safety management as part of the ISM Administrative Leadership Team. She was particularly passionate about building community as a key tenet of her management style to ensure that all community members felt supported, recognized, and truly part of a uniquely caring ISM community.

It is this passion for community that Lisa applies to her nonprofit activism work since leaving the International School of Monterey. She became involved in housing affordability and homelessness issues after directly taking part in Monterey County’s 2019 biennial Point in Time (PIT) Count. Learning the staggering toll that the rising cost of housing, and the lack of affordable housing has had on families, youth, and older women newly experiencing homelessness in Monterey County has been pivotal to guiding her community engagement efforts.

In addition to serving on the board of Community Homeless Solutions , Lisa energetically embraces her community advocacy role in support of housing affordability and homelessness, foster youth, the nonprofit sector, and those in the cancer community. She serves as a CASA: Court-appointed Special Advocate for a foster youth in Monterey County; promotes housing affordability options, such as ADU construction, through participation in United Way’s ADU Advisory Committee ; volunteers to promote the COVIA Home Match program, pairing individuals needing housing with those with rental space in their homes, thereby addressing housing insecurity and isolation goals! She also serves on the Advocacy and Annual Nonprofit Awards committees with the Nonprofit Alliance of Monterey County , is an organizing member of Women's March Monterey Bay , and following beneficial Healing Touch treatments during a recent cancer diagnosis, she enthusiastically serves on the Board of the Healing Partners of the Central Coast (HPCC) .

Lisa holds a M.A. in International Policy Studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) and a B.A. in Business Management. Before moving to the Monterey Peninsula in 1989 to pursue graduate school, Lisa lived and worked overseas in the Middle East and Germany as the daughter of a diplomat, cementing a lifelong interest in travel and foreign affairs. Her hobbies include swimming, walking her dog, Rambo, bicycling/e-bike riding, gardening, kayaking, painting, and sky-diving! Lisa looks forward to bringing her enthusiasm, positivity, curiosity, and passion to her role as an CHSolutions Board member!

 
Board member picture of man

Eric Johnsen

Vice President

Eric Johnsen, MBA, serves as the Board Vice President of Community Homeless Solutions and has been actively involved since 2008 previously as Treasurer and President. He brings over 20 years of experience in working with senior executives and Board members for numerous industries in the areas of insurance, banking, business and strategic planning.   Eric has been actively involved for many years with non-profit organizations and churches with particular focus on the needs of homeless and youth.  He was instrumental in helping introduce and implement Central Coast Respite Center, which CHS manages, in partnership with three local hospitals for homeless men and women coming out of acute care stays. He also sits on the Advisory Board for the National Healthcare for Homeless organization with focus on respite care programs.  Eric has also been engaged as an advocate and convener of communities interested in implementing Tiny Home villages for housing homeless, farm workers, ex-prisoners, students and other applications. Mr. Johnsen sits on the Community Outreach Advisory Board at Shoreline Church which helps organize community outreach efforts to local homeless individuals and integrating efforts between local churches and faith communities engaging in solving local community issues. Mr. Johnsen graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor’s degree in health care administration, a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Seminary and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California.

 
Icon of person missing image

Shirley L. Dickinson, MD

Secretary

Shirley was welcomed to the board of Community Homeless Solutions in July 2014. After graduating in 1984 from the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, she completed her residency in Family Medicine in Ventura. During this time she had the opportunity to provide services to the homeless in Bakersfield. She was a tremendous asset in the opening of Central Coast Respite Center, sitting on the development committee and now as part of the medical review team for potential clients. No stranger to Monterey County's homeless, she served on the faculty of the Family Medicine Residency program at Natividad for 13 years and was a physician for Clinica de Salud in the mobile medical van. During this time she was instrumental in changing lives of the chronically homeless, giving comprehensive medical services while truly caring for each individual she attended. Currently she is a family medicine physician at Plazita Medical Clinic in Watsonville. Having received Board Certification in Sleep Medicine in 2004, she is now also on staff at the Montage Sleep Disorder Center. Shirley has been a volunteer physician for the Monterey Compassion Pregnancy Center and the Kindred Center.

 
Woman smiling at camera

Cheryl Camany 

Board Member

Cheryl Camany has served the communities of Monterey County for 30 years as an educator. She is currently the Homeless Liaison and manages the Family Resource Center of Salinas City Elementary School District that serves over 3,100 homeless students as well as their district’s foster youth. Additionally, she has committed herself to raising awareness about the plight of the homeless student population in Monterey County while also volunteering on several boards and commissions, including board member, YOSAL (Youth Orchestra Salinas-­‐El Sistema/USA) board member, Community Homeless Solutions (formerly Shelter Outreach Plus), member of the Leadership Council for Lead Me Home-­‐ Game Plan for Housing Homeless in Monterey and San Benito Counties, volunteer for the Monterey County Homeless Census, educator for the National Steinbeck Center Community Advisory Committee and Children’s workshop, Monterey County Ag Education Farm Daypresenter, and many more. Cheryl’s efforts were instrumental in accomplishing the Winter Warming Shelter in Salinaswhich is funded by the City of Salinas and Monterey County, and operated by Community Homeless Solutions. She is there on a regular basis ensuring that needed services are available for homeless individuals and families accessing the emergency shelter. She has assisted in reorganizing the system and bringing the Salinas interfaith community on board to provide dinner at the shelter seven days a week. Cheryl refers to the Salinas shelter members as family. She has in her work with families and as a volunteer helped hundreds of homeless parents and children one by one. Cheryl is an example of going above and beyond the call of duty to help youth, adults, and families in need.

 
Woman with long hair board member

Dr. Donna Smith 
Board Member

Donna is currently the Program Coordinator for the Monterey County Office of Education’s Homeless Children and Youth Services Program.  She began her career in the Bay Area as an elementary school teacher and has continued her work throughout Monterey County as a teacher, principal, and administrator for new teacher programs, school safety, special education, and special projects. 

 

She received her Master’s Degree and Administrative Credential from San Francisco State University and a Doctorate Degree from the University of LaVerne.  She is a commissioner for the Monterey County Community Action Partnership, a member of the Leadership Team for the Coalition of Homeless Service Providers, and a member of the support committee for the Youth Action Board.  She joined the Community Homeless Solutions Board of Directors in 2021.

 

Donna is a mother and step mother to five young adults.  She enjoys traveling with her youngest son, Connor, hiking, and loves anything to do with animals and the environment.