Heather Averick selected as new Housing and Human Services director

October 19, 2023 11:22 AM

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Oct. 23, 2023) — City Manager David White announced the appointment of Heather Averick as director of the newly established Housing and Human Services Department.

A Santa Monica resident, Averick brings more than 15 years of combined experience in affordable housing and working with underserved individuals. Most recently, she served as the director of supportive housing for San Diego-based affordable housing developer Affirmed Housing, where she oversaw 19 operating permanent supportive housing communities across California.

“Heather has the background, expertise and passion our city needs to bring even greater focus on the City Council priority of addressing homelessness and ensuring that everyone in Santa Monica has an opportunity to thrive,” White said. “One of her first and most important tasks will be to facilitate the completion of our Homelessness Strategic Plan, along with advancing affordable housing projects and continuing to support the city’s social services safety net.”

Averick began her career as an attorney before transitioning to the housing and human services sector. Before joining Affirmed Housing, she served as executive director and staff attorney for nonprofit homeless advocacy group Think Dignity and executive director for food assistance nonprofit Harvest of Hope Pantry. She has also worked as a consultant for various nonprofits in such areas as operations, program development and implementation, strategic planning, fundraising and development support.

The Santa Monica City Council established the Housing and Human Services Department in June with the approval of the 2023-2025 biennial budget, at the same time creating a new Recreation and Arts Department — dividing the functions formerly combined under the Community Services Department.

Among other goals, the move aimed to allow a point of organization for homelessness services and programs, enabling the city to implement programs and services that result from Measures CS and GS, which provide additional tax revenue dedicated to city efforts around affordable housing and homelessness.

Other priorities for the new department include addressing the recommendations of the homelessness study conducted by an internal auditor, as well as providing core focus and leadership on an array of housing, education and social services programs.

“This is my community. I'm honored to be joining a department and team that has worked tirelessly to support our most vulnerable,” Averick said. “I look forward to being a part of their devoted efforts to invest in the community’s basic needs for education, housing and stability.”

Averick graduated from University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, public relations and Spanish and holds a juris doctor from California Western School of Law.

Averick will join the city effective Nov. 13, with an annual salary of $248,700.

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