Emily Uyeda Kantrim

Co-Founder & Interim Executive Director


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Emily Uyeda Kantrim has over a decade of experience directing ambitious nonprofit and government initiatives. As a co-founder and the first employee of Safe Parking LA in 2017, Emily designed and developed the programming that later became the best practices and benchmarks of all publicly funded safe parking programs in Los Angeles County.

In 2020, Emily left Safe Parking LA to direct the COVID Response Team for Los Angeles County and spearheaded efforts to provide pandemic services and basic survival support for the estimated 66,000 community members experiencing homelessness. As the COVID Response Director, Emily mobilized a 350-person field-based multidisciplinary team providing education, guidance, testing, and vaccinations to people living in shelters, encampments, and remote locations. This LA County initiative is considered the largest mobile COVID response in the United States, spreading across 4,800 square miles and providing 1.3 million in-field tests and 44,497 vaccinations.

Emily is sought after as a subject matter expert for national, state, and local governments, think tanks, and philanthropy groups. Emily has frequently served as an interview subject in local and national media with appearances on NPR National, LA Times, CNN, Daily News, Daily Mail, and Los Angeles Magazine. In addition, Emily’s collaborative research and writing has appeared in publications from American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Infectious Diseases, Archaopress, UC Regents, and the Rand Corporation.

A fourth generation Angeleno, Emily previously served as board chair of a volunteer-led homeless coalition in midtown LA, as co-founder and volunteer Executive Director for Hollywood Harvest, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Mid City West Community Council.

“At the confluence of the eviction tsunami, the multiple industry labor strikes, and the end of student loan forbearance, Safe Parking LA serves as an educator, advocate, and front door for people falling into homelessness for the first time. What we knew about housing insecurity before the pandemic has only been continually borne out in the subsequent data, strengthening our resolve to bring resources and options that shorten someone’s experience in homelessness by ending isolation, attending to the autonomy of our participants, and continuing to build out the robust temporary support that can identify pathways to stability in housing.”

Andrew Morales

Director of Programs


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Andrew Morales, Director of Programs

Andrew Morales joined Safe Parking LA with over 15 years of experience working in youth programs, homeless prevention and housing services, food program distribution, and domestic violence services in Southern California.

Prior to his role as Director of Programs at Safe Parking LA, Andrew spent 13 years at Human Options in Orange County where he started as the Children’s Program Supervisor and was later promoted to Residential Programs Administrator. He successfully revised residential programs policy and procedures to remove barriers to those seeking haven, emboldened policy around client safety and client experience, and led a team that secured federal funds for capital repairs needed to sustain the habitability of the emergency shelter.

Early in his social work career, Andrew led a team of children advocates where he was responsible for training employees on the effects of trauma on children, facilitating adult and children’s groups, and onboarding all new residential staff. The training he designed would go on to be implemented in the state-approved 40-hour Domestic Violence Training mandated for professionals in the field.

Andrew has a B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California at Irvine.

Carmela Carreno, CFRE

Director of Development


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In her current position as Director of Development, Carmela Carreno helps to build Safe Parking LA’s base of support and grow meaningful relationships in support of our mission. Her approach to fundraising is informed by a community-centric mindset grounded in equity and social justice. For Carmela, all who engage in strengthening the organization are equally valued, whether volunteer, staff, donor, or board member.

Carmela joined Safe Parking LA in 2022 with over 10 years of nonprofit fundraising experience advancing the missions of organizations such as United Way of Santa Barbara County, Just Communities Central Coast (formerly the National Conference for Community and Justice of the Central Coast), and Transition House in Santa Barbara. Her volunteer involvement and consultant projects includes support for groups working on tenants’ rights, voter education, immigration reform, human trafficking, and economic justice, where she specifically leveraged her professional knowledge of fundraising to help develop the capacity of grassroots organizations. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and a board member for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater San Fernando Valley Chapter, committed to ethical, best practice fundraising principles.

Carmela believes deeply in the vital role nonprofits serve in building healthier communities and advancing social change. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara, as well as a certificate in project management from UCSB Extension. A self-proclaimed extrovert, she loves staying active and spending time with others, most of all her daughter, Sasha, and her two sons, Alex and Nico.

Tamara Arredondo

Director of Operations


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As the Director of Operations, Tamara Arredondo brings a compassionate and collaborative approach to the internal operations of Safe Parking LA, ensuring our mission and values are fulfilled for staff and participants alike. She has a passion for creative and team-oriented problem-solving that resonates through her work.

Tamara has over 12 years’ experience within and alongside the nonprofit sector, primarily working with small teams and improving processes. Her career path includes various administrative roles, largely within the arts and culture space working with organizations such as Phamaly Theatre Company and Access Gallery in Denver, Colorado. She was most recently the Project Manager at Ligature Creative guiding design and development projects with nonprofits across the country. She brings strong strategic leadership and systems enhancement focus with a human-centered approach, believing that trust is the ultimate building block.

Tamara has an unshakable commitment to effecting positive change and commits spare time to No Us Without You, an LA-based organization providing food stability for undocumented hospitality workers. She also finds fulfillment in immersing herself in the arts and music scene, hiking with her pup, Edie, and going on globe-trotting adventures with her human partner, Justin.

Originally hailing from Kansas City, Tamara has a BA in Business Administration from Truman State University.

Linard Williams

Lot Operations Supervisor


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Linard Williams recently joined safe parking LA as the Lot Supervisor in early September of 2022. His leadership experience and over 15 years of management development and coaching will assist in the infrastructure required to successfully expand program services to assist in ending homelessness. Linard will be a force in supporting the expansion and building of various programs and services in the upcoming future. He became a member of the vision that replicates never giving up on an uphill battle of homelessness.

Linard enjoyed the last two years working in the nonprofit sector of a startup organization, Infinite Health. His leadership assisted in the organization of building a program that served the second largest school district in Los Angeles County. He helped develop the program serving over 110,000 Pandemic Response Lab (PRL) weekly tests to support health and safety issues. He looked forward to students continuing their school academic and sports programs while testing schools all over the Los Angeles region daily.

Linard Has a Bachelor of Science in Business with a certificate in General Management from the University of Phoenix. He was born in the southern state of Arkansas, in a city named Little Rock. He transplanted to California and made his home in Orange County. He loves both his sons and two grandchildren. His hobby is fixing and working on classic cars. His first passion is playing golf.

Faviana Gonzalez

Executive Assistant


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Being in love with the idea of giving back her whole life, Faviana joined the legal and non-profit sector in 2016. Staying true and local to her Angeleno roots, Faviana recently joined the Safe Parking LA team to work on bridging the housing needs where she calls HOME.  With over 6 years of administrative and strategizing experience, she brings with her a broad understanding of administrative support and communication as she understands that no single approach is right for every individual or circumstance.

Outside of the office, she enjoys working directly with her San Fernando Valley Community to bring resources to their unhoused and Latin community. Faviana is also involved with organizations, such as, Autism Speaks, A Skate Foundation; Border Kindness; and Casa Collective where she has a deep and personal connection. Her passions go beyond helping our human community as she continues to support the Best Friend Animal Society and other similar organizations like Save The Meow Meow’s, both of which offer sanctuary and care for homeless animals. Being an animal lover, Faviana shares Buster (woof) and Ezio(meow) with her partner, Casey. Staying true to her inner child, Faviana loves traveling and immersing herself in new experiences while creating infinite memories.

Favorite Sayings:

Be the change you want to see in the world.

I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.

DEI metrics

  • BIPOC led organization (Executive Director is Latina)
  • 25% of the advisory board is BIPOC
  • 50% of the executive committee of the advisory board is BIPOC
  • 1 advisory board member has lived experience
  • 88% of our staff is BIPOC

View the Strategic Plan.

advisory board

Scott Sale, MD

Co-Founder & Chair

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Scott Sale MD was a practicing internist in St Louis, Mo until 1999 when he and his family relocated to LA for his wife’s career. Scott continued to practice medicine in Los Angeles on a part-time basis until 2013.

Starting in 2004 he joined the board of New Directions, Inc which he chaired from 2012-2014.

In 2008 he started mentoring with Imagine LA and eventually joined and chaired the Board. Through his work at these 2 organizations and his synagogue, Leo Baeck temple, he became interested in people experiencing homelessness who lived in their vehicles. He founded Safe Parking LA with his Leo Baeck colleagues, Pat and Ira Cohen in Nov 2016 and was the Executive Director until May 2020. He has served as a Neighborhood Councilman for 3 years in the Mid City West area and is now very interested in supporting the Life Ark concept.

Robert Norris

Past Chair

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Formerly a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Vice President of the Century Housing Corporation in Los Angeles California for eleven years. Century Housing has produced over 14,000 units of affordable housing in the Los Angeles area. At Century Housing Corporation, his areas of responsibility were Century Community Training Program (an all-construction trades pre-apprenticeship training program) the Century Learning Initiatives for today afterschool tutorial program in affordable rental housing, First time Homebuyer Counseling Services, and More Than Shelter for Seniors.

Robert is a combat veteran with service in the U.S. Marine Corps in Viet Nam., served on the Board of Directors of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and LINC Housing. Robert has been honored for his role in assisting the development and opening of the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery on the former Fort Ord in Monterey, California.

Robert has undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Black Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey Indonesian Language Long Course. He has a master’s degree in Organizational Development and has completed the City of San Diego Management Academy for Senior Executives.

Robert is a recipient of the White House Community Drum Major Award for his work with the Faith Based Community. His hobbies are reading fiction and non-fiction, playing golf, and listening to Jazz.

Tim Wilson

Vice Chair

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Being a business builder and entrepreneur his entire career, Tim has worked across industries – Automotive, Hospitality, Loyalty – and across analog and digital worlds. He understands getting his hands dirty and getting things done.

And when it comes to the philanthropic endeavors in his life, Tim has embraced the same ‘get things done’ philosophy. Whether it is starting an in hospital after school program for children with cancer (Ooch-Too-Nite) helping kids attend overnight camp when they couldn’t afford it (AMICI) or participating in 12 hour golf marathons to raise money for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Tim’s focus in Canada was helping kids be kids.

When he moved to Los Angeles in 2015, that focus shifted to a need that he saw every day going to work – homelessness. Starting as a volunteer talking to clients in 2019, Tim eagerly accepted the opportunity to join the Advisory Board of Safe Parking LA in 2020 and is honored to be the first Board of Directors Secretary when their 501(c) 3 status is confirmed later in 2022.

Ellen Sloan


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Ellen worked for over 20 years in finance, investments, and accounting at Bank of America, City National Bank, and Price Waterhouse.  Additionally she has been a serial entrepreneur and intrapreneur and understands the ups and downs along the journey to entrepreneurial success.

Ellen is an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate Social Entrepreneurship program.  She recently co-created a new course on Digital Advocacy.  She has also been a coach and mentor for Episcopal Social Enterprise Academy and serves on one of their advisory boards.

She is on the Advisory Council for REDF, a venture philanthropy organization that invests exclusively in social enterprises.  She is a past member of the Santa Monica Social Service Commission and volunteers for Bread & Roses and Food Forward.

Sheyda Bautista-Saeyan

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Sheyda has over 10 years of experience in and around the healthcare industry. She currently leads health plan partnerships at a mental healthcare and technology company, Headway. Prior to that, she managed 15 Davita dialysis centers across southern Los Angeles. She also has a background in management consulting and corporate strategy. She received her AB from Brown University and MBA from The Wharton School.

While originally from Boston, Sheyda is now a west coast convert, enjoying all that California has to offer from amazing hiking trails to the diverse set of cuisines to indulge in.

Sheyda joined the Safe Parking LA board to become involved in the community she now proudly considers home, and her mission is to ensure each and every program participants has the opportunity to attain stable housing.

Daniel Behrendt

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Daniel Behrendt is a highly accomplished professional with over 15 years of experience in Go-To-Market (GTM) Partnerships, end-to-end Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), and building Strategic Revenue Channels. His expertise spans various sectors, including digital marketplaces, e-commerce, MarTech, AdTech, FinTech, and Enterprise SaaS. Daniel’s career includes roles in both corporate and venture-backed startup environments.

As Secretary, Daniel provides leadership on Safe Parking LA’s Executive Committee. His commitment to social impact, specifically addressing homelessness, poverty, and food insecurity, is strongly evident in the ways in which he is involved with his community. He currently serves as Chair of Culver City’s Committee on Housing and Homelessness and volunteers with RevHubOC, the LA County’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, and the Measure K Oversight Committee for Culver City Unified School District.

Daniel received his BA from the University of California, Berkeley, an MBA from INSEAD, and a JD from the University of California, Davis. He is passionate about leveraging his extensive network, legal expertise, financial acumen, and general management skills to contribute to Safe Parking LA’s efforts in addressing homelessness. Outside of work, Daniel loves to play soccer and spend time with his family.

Ori Blumenfeld

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Mr. Blumenfeld is Senior Counsel at Levinson Arshonsky & Kurtz where he focuses his practice in all areas of complex bankruptcy and insolvency, corporate restructuring, distressed assets, acquisition and disposition, and related litigation matters. In terms of his corporate bankruptcy expertise, Mr. Blumenfeld has represented debtors, trustees, and both secured and unsecured creditors in bankruptcy courts. In addition, a substantial portion of his work consists of serving as general or special counsel to federal and state receivers appointed to general equity, Family Code, rents and profits, Health and Safety Code, and regulatory receiverships, as well as bankruptcy trustees, and other fiduciaries. He has significant civil litigation experience defending and prosecuting actions on behalf of receivers and businesses. He also provides legal counsel for partition referees, successor trustees, and provisional directors in matters involving property and business disputes.

Mr. Blumenfeld has been recognized by Super Lawyers and Law Dragon for his achievements in Bankruptcy Law.


Mr. Blumenfeld received his B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley, and his Juris Doctor from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law.


From 2014-2021, Mr. Blumenfeld previously served as a Commissioner on the Human Relations Commission for the City of Beverly Hills.


Mr. Blumenfeld also serves on the Board of Managers for the University of West Los Angeles School of Law.


Mr. Blumenfeld loves to travel, scuba dive, and all things soccer.

Nancy Hammerman

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Nancy Hammerman is a Senior VP at Sutton Capital Partners, a technology investment banking firm. Nancy heads up research and marketing and is also the co-founder of the Recurring Revenue Conference –an annual technology conference bringing together multiple industry leaders focused on the subscription economy.

Since 2008 Nancy has coached entrepreneurs for the Social Innovation Fast Pitch Competition; for Manhattan BeachTEDx; CNN Heroes: for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Living Progress Challenge, for the United Way Homelessness Challenge and TechStars LA. Nancy serves on the board of the Women Founders Network and is the producer of Tech&Homelessness: A Call to Action. Her past activities have included serving on the board of the Harvard Business School Association of Southern California and Social Venture Partners.

Victor Hinderliter

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Victor has dedicated himself to serving people experiencing homelessness since he arrived in Los Angeles in 2008. Over the past 14 years, he has overseen a variety of homeless programs, from homeless street outreach to interim and permanent housing programs. He played integral roles in the development and expansion of the County’s Coordinated Entry System and Coordinated Outreach System, which serve as the foundation of delivering homeless services in LA County.

As the Acting Director of the LA Homeless Services Authority’s Access and Engagement Department, he oversaw the daily deployment of 200 outreach workers providing life-saving services to unhoused individuals across the County during the COVID pandemic. In his current role as the LA County Department of Health Services Director of Street Based Engagement, his teams bring medical and behavioral health services directly to encampments and other unsheltered settings across the County.

Victor is passionate about leveraging his experience, knowledge, and relationships to support Safe Parking LA’s crucial work in helping people living in their cars find safety, solace and a pathway back into their own homes. He in turn is supported by his amazing wife Korinne and two beautiful children, Caleb and Carmen.

Gregory Kushner

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Gregory Kushner founded Lido Advisors in 1999 with the goal of ensuring that his clients are “fiscally fit” with a healthy financial portfolio in all areas of their lives. Kushner works with investments and strategy for ultra-high net-worth investors and family offices to provide objective and personal financial solutions and multi-generational planning. In addition to his current role as Chairman, Kushner continues to serve client relationships as an investment advisor representative of Lido, including all aspects of managing their wealth.

Prior to founding Lido Advisors, LLC, Kushner founded Lido Consulting, Inc., in 1995 to provide consulting services for family offices. Services include implementing best practices within the family office structure, extending to all facets of running and maintaining a family office. The firm provides resources on several topics important to the effective management of wealth. Lido Consulting hosts many “invitation-only” events every year where Kushner acts as Conference Chairman and moderator. Topics include investment strategy, economic outlook, risk management, family office creation and management, charitable giving, asset allocation, and updates regarding the impact of government and political activities impacting the ultra-high net worth community.

Kushner discovered a passion for sharing his financial knowledge in 2009, when he hosted a weekly radio show about investing and personal finance on KABC 790AM in Los Angeles that ran until 2010. He was the Keynote Speaker at the AM 870 Wealth Summit (February 2018) and has periodically been a host of financial shows on the same channel. Recently, Kushner discovered a new platform for sharing his insights with the public by becoming a Forbes Finance Council contributor. Kushner also speaks regularly on issues relating to the management of substantial wealth throughout Southern California. Kushner also is a featured speaker annually for Pepperdine University’s Certificate in Financial Management for the Family Office program including courses on due diligence, investment policy statements, and asset allocation.

Kushner earned a Bachelor of Science degree (cum laude) in Business Administration from USC (1978). Kushner is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant (inactive). Kushner is active in the community, volunteering his time as well as serving as a Director and Chief Financial Officer of a private family foundation called the Tech Sgt. Jack Kushner Ret’d Foundation, that provides substantial grants to veteran’s causes throughout the United States. In 2020, the foundation made grants over $350,000 for veterans causes.

Mellonise Shorter

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Mellonise has a Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Technology with a minor in Mathematics and Asian-Pacific Studies. Mellonise’s current role is the Educational and Learning Technology Manager at EF Academy in Pasadena, overseeing the campus’ technology needs and staying current on technological advances. Before her current position, Mellonise worked in various educational settings as an educator, tech leader, esports coach, and 911 dispatcher for the California Highway Patrol.

In 2018, due to a lack of career opportunities and support, Mellonise and her son became homeless. She exhausted all her means, leading her to a point where it seemed like she had nowhere else to turn. A close friend of hers helped her discover Safe Parking Los Angeles. Her time as a participant in SPLA changed her life and helped her get back on her feet. As her life began to improve, she made it a point to give back to the organization that changed her life.

In her free time, Mellonise enjoys being a mom, traveling, dancing, mentoring, and volunteering.

Josh Steinberg

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Josh is the Chief Operating Officer at Swipe Out Hunger, where he is responsible for leading the organization’s operations and technology as they pertain to its mission to end college student hunger. Josh has a passion for understanding the sociopolitical and economic underpinnings of societal inequities. Out of school, he worked for the Illinois Department of Public Health where he helped write legislation advocating for healthy communities throughout Illinois. Prior to joining Swipe Out Hunger, Josh served as Program Director at Tzedek America, supporting teens to understand the issue of homelessness through visiting organizations in Skid Row and speaking with members of the unhoused community. Josh also serves as a mentor through All Tech is Human and is Co-Founder of the Internet Society, LA & Southern California Chapter.

Josh is inspired by SPLA’s mission to provide safe overnight parking and a path to housing for residents of Los Angeles and is excited to apply his non-profit operations background to helping SPLA grow.

Matt Wersinger

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I am originally from  Rochester, NY,  and went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where I earned my BFA in film production. Upon graduating, I worked as a television news editor and warzone field producer during the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 before relocating to Los Angeles. There, I shifted into commercials and feature films as a production manager and location scout before moving into my current position of television commercial producer. My work has garnered multiple industry awards including two Emmys.

Outside of my film work, I’m a black belt and part time instructor of Brazilian jiu jitsu. I’ve dedicated considerable time to serving my community over the years, starting before college as a volunteer firefighter and EMT. More recently, I was elected to the Del Rey Neighborhood Council for four terms years including two as President, and was the Board Chair for two years of the Western Regional Alliance of Councils. I remain active as a Land Use Committee member in Del Rey and am honored to be a Board member of Safe Parking Los Angeles.


Ira Cohen


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Ira Cohen’s long and varied retail career has taken him from Macy’s to Mervyns to Trader Joes where you may remember hearing him on Trader Joe’s radio commercials, “…this is Ira Cohen of Trader Joes!”.  He traveled throughout the world to change the product assortment there from primarily Wine, alcohol and cheese to a varied selection including produce, expansion of the frozen category, many new fresh products, flowers and more.

Since his retirement and along with his cherished wife Pat and friend Dr. Scott Sale, he founded Safe Parking, L.A. aimed at helping the approximately 16,000 homeless individuals who live in their vehicles.  A veteran, drafted at the age of 21 and served during the Korean War, the Safe Parking Lot at the VA is particularly close to his heart.  Ira is a graduate of Adelphi University on Long Island has two children, two grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Pat Cohen


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Pat Cohen has had a multi-faceted career beginning as a travel agent and then finding her stride in public relations where she specialized in the political arena. She moved on to Real Estate and later owned and operated her own replica Jewelry Store in Beverly Hills, Lanciani.

Together with her husband and fellow board member Ira Cohen and friend Scott Sale, she founded the non-profit Safe Parking, L.A. which manages parking lots that provide a safe haven for the homeless who live and sleep in their vehicles. Safe Parking and its wrap-around services have changed the lives of many formerly homeless individuals. Pat and her husband of over 25 years reside in Los Angeles and continue to support various charities in the Greater Los Angeles area.

the history of Safe Parking LA