Alexa Johnson - Executive Director

Alexa Johnson has been with the Housing Resource Center since 2017. She received her Bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology in 2013 at California State University, Monterey Bay and her Master’s in Applied Anthropology at San Jose State University in 2017. During her studies, her passion and driving force was to understand how culture affected the education of immigrant children in an American classroom setting. In studying for her thesis, she began to understand the housing indifferences that were present in Monterey County and wanted to be a part of the solution in connecting families to housing and more promising prospects. During her time at HRC, she has seen tremendous growth in staff and program services.  Alexa is excited to see how HRC will adapt to future community needs and become even more impactful to the residents we serve.


Juana Garcia - Bookkeeper

Juana Garcia has worked for the Housing Resource Center since September 2016 as Program Assistant and was promoted to her current position as Bookkeeper in 2017. Ms. Garcia is a powerful force in the workplace and uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage her peers to work hard and succeed.


Valerie Akano - Case Manager

Valarie Akano has been a case manager with the Housing Resource Center of Monterey County since July 2022. She received her Associate of Arts as well as  earning her a Certificate of Achievement in Administration of Justice from  Hartnell College. She began her career as Victim  Advocate, working with juveniles and adults from vulnerable populations.

 In 2019, she joined the Housing Now agency in Santa Cruz County, working with the Bringing Families Home project. Her career goals are to continue empowering, removing barriers to permanent housing  and reducing childhood trauma brought on by homelessness.


Matilde Peña - Case Manager

Matilde Peña has been the program assistant at the Housing Resource Center since 2018. Before joining HRC, she worked for the City of Salinas for 8yrs. When she was a reaction specialist in the department of Parks and Recreation Centers, she was assisting the youth, elderly and families with everyday resources. She would advocate for families and ensured they had food, school supplies and other needs.  During her time working with HRC, Matilde has continued assisting families and individuals by providing them resources and is always looking for ways to continue helping the community. 


Eliza Costa - Housing Specialist

Eliza Costa has been a Housing Specialist at Housing Resource Center of Monterey County since 2018. She is a native "Houstonian" and has been in California since 2003.  Eliza has over 25 years of experience in various capacities of social services, most of which have been as a social worker. She earned a Bachelors in Social Work and her Masters in Liberal Arts at the University of St Thomas in Houston, Texas. Eliza has held numerous positions throughout her career revolving around mental health, HIV/AIDS, and various social work roles within Harris County Hospital District for over 10 years. Additionally, Eliza became a certified - Alcohol and Drug Counselor and went on to work within both inpatient and outpatient drug and rehabilitation facilities. In 2003 , Eliza made her way to California and worked at - San Andreas Regional Center (SARC) - where for over 10 years  she held the role of Case Manager, working for clients with disabilities. 


Cynthia Flores - Housing Specialist

Cynthia joined HRC in November 2021 as a Housing Specialist. She's had 4 years experience in the housing industry as a leasing specialist for a huge corporate real estate agency that owned properties throughout the US from San Francisco to New York. She had the opportunity to learn about the housing market and work with a diversity of families. Helping families became rewarding to her. She loves helping others, and our community. As housing has become a huge issue in our communities she strives to help others to obtain housing and be able to have a place to call home.


Emily Garnica - Housing Specialist

Emily received her Bachelors of Arts in Human Communication from CSU Monterey Bay back in 2020. She has been working in the housing industry since 2016, starting as a loan officer assistant. She began working as a Housing counselor in 2018, where she learned to help others understand their rights as renters and/or landlords. She also provided education and understanding of both the federal and state Fair Housing laws. She is a certified mediator. She loves to help others, it brings her lots of joy and satisfaction to know she made someone's day.


Carisma Gonzales - Housing Specialist

Carisma joined the Housing Resource Center team in July 2022. She received her bachelor's degree in Collaborative Health and Human Services at California State University of Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. During her last year of internship at CSUMB she was hired at her place of internship for Housing Authority County of Monterey (HACM). There she served as the property manager for five years at Pueblo Del Mar (PDM), a transitional housing for families in recovery. At PDM she worked closely with the Coalition of Homeless Service Providers, Sun Street Recovery Services, Department of Social Services and Adult Probation. Carisma's extensive work background in Real Estate and Property Management coupled with her experience at HACM and education has led her to a career helping families find housing.


Violet Orozco - Housing Specialist

Violet joined the Housing Resource Center team February 2021. She received her Office Administrative Assistant Certificate with Central Coast College in 2012. Towards the end of her schooling, she got the opportunity for an internship with GEO Group where she held several positions throughout her 9 year career with them working with moderate to high risk offenders on adult supervision. She had the opportunity to help individuals reintegrate back into the community, obtain/maintain employment and helped them learn new skills to change antisocial behaviors. Along the way, she also learned the need for affordable housing with this population and was excited to work with HRC to continue to help others and families in need.


Juanita Ruvalcaba - Case Manager

Juanita Ruvalcaba has been a case manager at HRC for 18 years. She has always felt compassionate to the homeless in her community. On the weekends and in her free time, she enjoys reading books and being with her family.


Deonna Brown - Case Manager

Deonna Brown has been a case manager since July 2021. She graduated from University of North Carolina at Pembroke with a Bachelors in Social Work in 2019 and is currently working on her Masters degree. She has always had a passion to help and has worked with multiple populations. Her career started in the Child Welfare System, where she strived to ensure children were safe and help parents reach their full potential. She prides herself on being able to help the community and is hoping to leave her mark at HRC.


Espie Hinojos - Case Manager

Espie Hinojos has been a case manager at the Housing Resource Center since 2015. She studied at Hartnell Community College and has over 25 years experience working with the homeless population. During that time, she has worked closely with our Monterey County partner agencies and has strived to understand the needs of our homeless community and to better assist our families.