The BHHI Lived Expertise Advisory Board is a group of 9 advisors from across the state of California who represent a range of lived or living experiences of homelessness—from rural and urban communities, living sheltered and unsheltered, young and old, in families and single. Our board members are integral advisors to UCSF BHHI staff in the development, implementation and dissemination of the CASPEH in the following ways:

  • Reviewing survey questions and in-depth interview guides
  • Developing Outreach and Community Engagement Strategies
  • Interpreting Survey Findings
  • Co-Writing Dissemination Materials
  • Co-Presenting Study Findings to local and national audiences
  • And much more!

 

Lived Expertise Advisory Board Members

Homelessness is not the end all be all, it's not the only thing that you are, this is not a label you have to wear. It's just a circumstance you got to push through. At the same time though, [I have had] the luxury of moving past this. That's why I make sure that no matter how long I've gone through something, I'm informing people about what the process was. So that way they can see a human behind the numbers and the [behind the] names on the files.

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Sage Johnson
Sage Johnson
Lived Expertise Advisory Board Co-Chair

I believe so strongly in affirming the dignity of humans. The word human levels the playing field. It doesn't matter if you're housed or unhoused, or if you're a white person, or a BIPOC person, we're all human. And it means that we each have value and we have worth and we need to treat each other in that way. I'm just using it as a way to remind especially the community members that are so hateful toward homelessness solutions that these people are human! They're just like you. You have a need for food and water every day and to use the bathroom, they have the same needs. Like there's no difference between you and them other than you being housed and getting those basic essential needs [met] every day.

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Claudine Sipili
Claudine Sipili
Lived Expertise Advisory Board Co-Chair

Understand that it’s all about having the interest, the courage, the persistence and the respect to talk with homeless and other people. Not at, not to, not talking over, but talking with them. I learn a lot more about how I might be of help by asking them - people are more of an expert on their life than I am, and are generally already doing many things successfully.

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Ludmilla Bade
Ludmilla Bade
Lived Expertise Advisory Board Representative

My heart is unable to rest knowing that there are still so many people -  growing numbers of people - who are still in the situation that I was in, and their circumstances won't change unless we change our policies on a whole. We have to do that from a place of education and experience. It’s important for me to be able to share my experiences and knowledge, kind of like it's a responsibility. I have a responsibility to share that I made it through a gauntlet. I was really fortunate, but now I need to help pave the path for other people. I want to share ideas of where I see there are failings, and prop up areas that made the difference for me.

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Jesica Giannola
Jesica Giannola
Lived Expertise Advisory Board Representative

My platform is always that you'll never hear of anyone ever saying: “when I grow up, I want to be homeless.” Or “I want to have an addiction or physical challenge or disability that makes me vulnerable.” Or “I want to live on the street where I'm not welcome.” Or “I want to cause harm, or disrupt my family, friends and society.”  Not one [person]. You never hear that. I just want to point that out. Many people are looked down upon because they became homeless. Just ask [them] the question, “what caused you to become homeless?” [That’s] really what’s needed.

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DeForrest Hancock
DeForrest Hancock
Lived Expertise Advisory Board Representative

I want to disrupt the foster care system and how it traditionally serves my peers. I'm not always all for [traditional institutions], you know, but I do choose to collaborate and occupy space with them to try to change some of the things that are broken within the system and maybe disrupt the system as a whole, and create a whole new way in which we serve young people. Anytime we're able to shift power to those with lived experience and have those closest to the issues be the biggest part of the solution, [that's a good thing].

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Dontae Lartigue
Dontae Lartigue
Lived Expertise Advisory Board Representative

People call unhoused people “those invisible people.” We're going to remain invisible if people keep on calling us invisible . So, my way of trying to kill that language of invisible people is [by saying] we are no longer invisible. We are going to stand up and we're going to shout and you are going to see us. You're not going to hide us behind some wall in an alley anymore. We're here and we're going to stand up.

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Dez Martinez
Desiree Martinez
Lived Expertise Advisory Board Representative

I know how it feels. I know that not giving up in doing the work besides sitting their praying for you know a miracle to happen. When you believe in something, then you have something to look forward to and something to stand for. And that's why I say it doesn't matter what belief you have, I'm going to promote it. I'm going to push it as hard as I can to help you understand that we don't give up on that [hope and belief] because once you do, you give up on yourself.

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Priest Martinez
Priest Martinez
Lived Expertise Advisory Board Representative

I think there's very few opportunities for people who are marginalized to be able to elevate themselves above what is considered to be their station. And I saw through the project description [of the CASPEH] that this could be an opportunity for people to not just be a number, but to be a life and for that to impact how people began to make decisions about what to do with money and resources and space as it relates to folks who have no control over those things. And that's super important to me. It's super important to provide words and a vision to people so that they can live that life that they imagine.

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Robynne Rose-Haymer
Robynne Rose-Haymer
Lived Expertise Advisory Board Representative

Questions? 

Kara Young Ponder, PhD
Director of Community Engagement & Racial Justice, Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative 
Email: Xnen.Lbhat@hpfs.rqhude.fscu@gnuoY.araK