Homesick: Webinar Series - Little Tokyo Service Center

Episode 1: The Homelessness Crisis & Its Impacts

Thursday, April 7, 2022  |  12:00PM-1:00PM

Episode 2: Compassionate community responses to homelessness

Thursday May 5, 2022 | 11:30AM-1:00PM

Episode 3: LTSC’s approach to combating the homelessness crisis

Thursday, July 14, 2022  |  11:30AM-1:00PM

Episode 3: LTSC’s Approach to Combating the Homelessness Crisis

How is LTSC working to combat the homelessness crisis? With help from our partner, Housing Works, we’ll discuss a large aspect of LTSC’s approach to homelessness–building permanent supportive housing. We’ll illustrate what permanent supportive housing looks like and why it works, and touch on compassionate outreach and services for people experiencing homelessness.

homesick episode 3


Takao Suzuki (he/him)

Director of Community Development

Little Tokyo Service Center

Takao Suzuki currently serves as the Director of Community Development for LTSC Community Development Corporation (LTSC CDC) and manages the Real Estate Development, Asset & Property Management, and Resident Services departments. He began his tenure at LTSC CDC 21 years ago as a community organizer through the AmeriCorps program and worked with Little Tokyo residents to increase their civic engagement. After joining the Real Estate Development Department in 2004, he oversaw the completion of nine projects consisting of approximately 300 housing units along with the Little Tokyo development of the California Japantowns projects. He currently serves on the board of the Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund, and Mercado la Paloma, Inc. He also serves on the Los Angeles County Development Authority’s Housing Advisory Committee, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council and NeighborWorks America’s Real Estate Advisory Committee. He holds a B.A. in Social Work from the California State University of Los Angeles and a M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California of Los Angeles.

Celina Alvarez

Executive Director

Housing Works

Celina Alvarez is a proud Tejana…(Texan/Mexican)….born and raised in rural West Texas where tumbleweeds and dust storms are plenty.  If you have ever seen the movie No Country For Old Men….that’s where she grew up.  A town with few traffic lights, a Wal-Mart, a Federal Prison, OIL, and lots of Catholics.  Upon graduating from college, Celina moved to LA to pursue a journalism degree but her life took a different turn.  Instead, she entered into the nonprofit sector in 1993 during the peak of the AIDS epidemic.  In 1999, she met Mollie Lowery who would, for 17 years, show her the ropes relevant to harm reduction and housing first principles.  Celina joined Housing Works in 2008 as one of the first members of the nationally recognized Mobile Integrated Services Team.  In 2015 she earned a bachelors degree in Social Work from CSULA and in that same year, she was promoted from the frontline into the Executive Director role at Housing Works.  In 2017 she obtained a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Antioch University Los Angeles.  As for the journalism dream…she enjoyed a seven year stint as a senior producer on 90.7FM, KPFK’s  Feminist Magazine.  Celina loves the aroma of freshly cooked food and a beautiful sunset.  Celina has a 27yo and 23yo and a vivacious 2 year old grandson.  She lives in beautiful Altadena with her partner and their dog Winston.

Stephen Saengpradap (he/him)

Housing Navigator

Little Tokyo Service Center

Stephen Saengpradap is a Housing Navigator at Little Tokyo Service Center and assists clients located in SPA 4 by moving them into housing.  Stephen is also a resident of Los Angeles and has many years of experience in assisting the unhoused.  Most recently, he served as a Shelter Case Manager for the First Presbytarian Church of Hollywood, but has also worked with AGS and The Center.  He has a Masters in Public Administration from Tseng College at CSUN.

Moderated by LTSC Board Member, Maria Cabildo (she/her):

Maria G. Cabildo is a Senior Advisor at Advancement Project California. Before joining Advancement Project California as a Senior Fellow in 2019, she was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University. Maria has held positions in the nonprofit, private, and government sectors. She co-founded the East LA Community Corporation in 1995 and served as its president and CEO from 1999-2015. Maria worked in LA county government from 2015-2017, first as Chief of Staff to Supervisor Hilda Solis and later as Director of Homeless Initiatives at the Los Angeles Community Development Commission-now the Los Angeles Community Development Authority. She has served as an appointee on state and local boards, including Los Angeles’ City Planning Commission and the California Housing Partnership board, where she served as its vice-chair. Maria has served on many nonprofit boards of directors, including the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Housing California, Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing, and A Community of Friends. She currently serves on the board of directors of Inclusive Action for the City and LA Voice Action.

She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Urban Studies from Columbia University, a master’s degree in Urban Planning from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, and a Certificate in Advanced Environmental Studies from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She is Chicana, born and raised in East Los Angeles.

Episode 2: Compassionate Community Responses to Homelessness

How are communities of color in LA addressing homelessness? What do compassionate community solutions look like? What can Little Tokyo learn from our neighboring homeless service organizations?

With help from our partners at Wesley Health Centers, Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) and Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), we’ll explore some of the creative grassroots solutions to homelessness taking place in communities of color in LA, discuss the importance of centering compassion as we respond to the homelessness crisis, and touch on values that might guide LTSC’s approach to homelessness in Little Tokyo.

homesick webinar episode 2

Dr. Keith Terasaki (he/him)

Chair, Board of Directors

Wesley Health Centers

Dr. Keith Terasaki was born and raised on the west side of Los Angeles, the son of Paul and Hisako Terasaki. He attended UCLA for college and medical school, and received further medical training in interventional radiology at LA County-USC Medical Center and Stanford University.

After his medical training, Dr. Terasaki worked in Northern California for 8 years, then moved to Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. He was the chief of radiology there for 10 years, and is currently assistant chief of radiology at Kaiser Sunset.

Dr. Terasaki is on a number of non-profit boards, including Little Tokyo Service Center, Colburn School of Music, Wesley Health Clinics, Metropolitan YMCA, UCLA Life Sciences and UCLA Japan Center. He also serves as chair of the Terasaki Family Foundation and Terasaki Research Institute.

Dr. Terasaki met his wife, Cecilia, while at Stanford University. They live on the west side and have two grown children, Paul and Susie.

Amy Turk, LCSW (she/her)

Chief Executive Officer

Downtown Women’s Center (DWC)

Amy Turk, LCSW, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC). Amy has held leadership positions in the field of social work and homeless services since 2001. Amy began her tenure at DWC in 2013 as the Chief Program Officer, where she administered all DWC’s programs and social enterprise. In 2018, Amy served as DWC’s Chief Innovation Officer, providing leadership in the development and implementation of new organizational projects, and fostering vital relationships with community partners in efforts to end women’s homelessness. Appointed as CEO in early 2020, Amy has grown revenue by 15%, created a new three-year strategic plan, and is deepening DWC’s focus on social justice. In the 12 years prior to joining DWC, Amy progressively took on more responsibilities to assist women experiencing homelessness from case management to serving for seven years as Director of Daybreak, a project of The People Concern. Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Pepperdine University and a master’s in social work from California State University, Los Angeles.

Steve Diaz (he/him)

Deputy Director

Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN)

Episode 1: The Homelessness Crisis & Its Impacts (Thursday, April 7 2022)

What causes homelessness? Who are the unhoused? How does homelessness impact communities?

With help from our partners at Inner City Law Center and People Assisting the Homeless, we’ll discuss causes of homelessness, dispel myths and stereotypes, hear experiences from a formerly unhoused person, and acknowledge the variety of impacts the homelessness crisis has on communities.

homesick episode 1

How you can help:

  • We need your help gathering signatures for the United to House LA ballot initiative. The initiative would generate revenue to build affordable housing and reduce homelessness within Los Angeles. It would fund the construction of 26,000 affordable homes within the first 10 years, and help 475,000 renters stay in their homes each year. Together, we can reduce homelessness, build more affordable housing and keep people housed.

Deon Turner (he/him)

Public Policy Advocate

Inner City Law Center

Recently earning his Master’s in Education, Deon yearns to explore passions at the intersection of public policy and law. Given Deon’s dynamic educational and experiential trajectory, he seeks to employ a social and economic justice framework aimed at sparking civic engagement at the grassroots’ level. Thus, he has become well-versed in federal, state, county, and city policy analysis while assessing how program implementation affects our diverse communities and constituencies. He is thrilled to launch his career in public policy with Inner City Law Center in hopes of leveraging a platform to construct an authentic, inclusive, and collaborative Los Angeles community. In his spare time, Deon is enthusiastic about fitness – perpetually searching for different hiking or biking trails. He finds his spark and inspiration through nature. You can often find him enjoying a good read along the shorelines of Santa Monica or Manhattan Beach.

Bibiana Rosalia (she/her)

Philanthropy Associate

People Assisting the Homeless

Bibiana Rosalia is a Casa Heiwa resident, serves on Little Tokyo Service Center’s Board of Directors, works as a Philanthropy Associate for PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) and is a sound healing practitioner. Her sound healing practice is called The Sacred Sounds. Additionally, she has been a soprano in The Urban Voices Project choir ensemble for almost 3 years, currently serves on their Board, and is an alumnus of the Street Symphony Daniel Chaney Voice Fellows program. She is passionately dedicated to sharing the healing power of music with others and with helping our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

Grant Sunoo (he/him)

Director of Community Building & Engagement

Little Tokyo Service Center

Grant Sunoo is the Director of Community Building & Engagement for Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC). He oversees LTSC’s creative placekeeping, community planning, and community organizing efforts. Through this work, Grant and his team partner with other Little Tokyo stakeholders to advance the community’s vision for their neighborhood. Prior to joining LTSC, Grant was Deputy Director at Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD), an organization that focused on housing, workforce development, education, and supportive services for transition-aged youth in the Vernon-Central neighborhood of South Los Angeles. In nearly 20 years of working in Los Angeles’ non-profit sector, he has extensive experience in affordable housing development, coalition building, leadership development, program implementation, and organizational development. Grant earned an MA in Urban Planning from UCLA and a BA in Asian American Studies from CSUN.

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