CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
In the Green Room

Executive Director of Housing California Lisa Hershey

Our Biggest Misconception About Homelessness Is That It Happens to Others

Photo by Aaron Salcido.

Lisa Hershey is the Executive Director of Housing California, a statewide nonprofit organization. Previously, she served as the Public Health Institute (PHI) program director for California Convergence, and worked as an advisor to the director and deputy director on Policy and Programs in the California Department Public Health. Before joining a Zócalo/AARP panel discussion titled “Are Housing Prices Destroying the California Dream?” at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in downtown Los Angeles, she talked about chocolate chip cookies, the freedom to say what you think, and misconceptions about homelessness.

Q:
What sound do you wake up to in the morning?

A:
My husband’s alarm.

Q:
What do you most miss about your time at San Diego State?

A:
Freedom.

Q:
Do you spend 30 percent or more of your income on housing?

A:
Yes.

Q:
What was the last book you read?

A:
Well, let me say what I want to read: The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein.

Q:
Where did you first learn to swim?

A:
I was four. At a swim club in Florida.

Q:
What’s the one dessert you can’t resist?

A:
Warm chocolate chip cookies.

Q:
What’s the biggest difference between working in a nonprofit and in state government?

A:
The freedom to speak my truth.

Q:
If money were no object, where would you buy a home in California?

A:
Laguna Beach.

Q:
What condiment comes closest to embodying you?

A:
Hot mustard.

Q:
Amazon Prime, Netflix, or Hulu?

A:
Netflix.

Q:
What’s the biggest misconception people have about homelessness?

A:
That it happens to others. That it’s not we or us. It’s those other people and it’s their fault that they are in that situation. That it wasn’t policies and conditions and systems that put them into that condition of homelessness.