A fourth generation Angeleno, Emily Uyeda Kantrim works to address large-scale and pervasive societal inequities with innovation and creativity grounded in our communities. They have over a decade of experience directing ambitious non-profits initiatives—building programs from the ground up, leading a diverse workforce of 350 medical and specialized staff, and as a problem-solver from direct client service to governance and bureaucracy. Emily has a demonstrable record of building collaborative and imaginative partnerships with coalitions, corporations, and governments, using creativity, data, and storytelling to translate mission and vision into project action, and navigating the political landscape with positive, results-driven advocacy.
As the first employee of Safe Parking LA in 2017, in addition to providing direct service to clients and vehicle dwellers, Emily designed and developed program logistics to meet risk management, fiscal sponsor, insurance, security, service contract, lot owner, client needs, and specifications that later became the best practices and benchmarks of all publicly funded safe parking programs in Los Angeles County.
Emily has conducted hundreds of hours of community engagement regarding vehicular homelessness and upstream solutions like safe parking programs and has provided subject matter expertise to national, state, and local governments, think tanks, and philanthropy groups.
Emily left Safe Parking LA in 2020 to direct the COVID Response Team, the county-wide coronavirus pandemic response and basic survival support for the 66,000 population experiencing homelessness across Los Angeles County by creating a 350-person mobile 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 1.3M in-field tests and 44,397 vaccinations.
Prior to working in the homelessness and social services sector, Emily was appointed as the founding program manager for the Armenian Ethnography and Archaeology endowed research program at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, establishing the research program and physical archive based on permanent loan and endowment through extensive donor outreach and relationship-building with the goal of creating new knowledge for the public, as well as accessibility to existing academia through bilateral cooperation.
Emily’s volunteer work has been honored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 2019 as “Volunteer of the year—sowing seeds of kindness.” In 2020, Emily co-founded and served as volunteer Executive Director for Hollywood Harvest, a grassroots effort to bring fresh produce and culturally appropriate basic food staples to homebound seniors living in affordable housing in the Hollywood area. This project has been made permanent through partnership with the Hollywood Food Coalition.
From 2016-2019, Emily served as the youngest female of color on the Mid City West Community Council, one of 99 official neighborhood councils in the City of Los Angeles as publicly-elected representative body connecting the neighborhood to the services & guidance of the city. They were subsequently appointed to the city-wide Funding Equity Working Group.
Emily has frequently served as an interview subject in local and national media with appearances on NPR National (KPCC & KCRW), LA Times, CNN, Daily News, Daily Mail, Los Angeles Magazine, etc. In addition, Emily’s collaborative research and writing has appeared in publications from American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Infectious Diseases, Archaeopress, UC Regents, and the Rand Corporation.
“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.”