Who We Are

Members are the driving force of SDHF, but it is the Board of Directors and staff that are at the core of its effectiveness and leadership. Directors may serve two consecutive three-year terms. They are elected by the membership at the SDHF’s annual meeting.

2017 – 2018 Board of Directors

Matthew Jumper, San Diego Interfaith Housing Foundation, President 

Over the last twenty years, Matt has directed an award-winning nonprofit corporation, San Diego Interfaith Housing Foundation (SDIHF), in the development and management of approximately 1,200 units of affordable senior and family housing.


Nicholas Hamilton, Red Capital, Vice-President

Nick has been a managing director at Red Capital Group for 20 years and brings a wealth of experience to the affordable housing sector.


Paul Shipstead, Wells Fargo Community Lending & Investment, CFO

Paul’s career spans over 15 years in the affordable housing industry, having financed some of the most exciting and important affordable housing developments in California.  Developments have included housing offering comprehensive tenant services to various populations.


Kwofi Reed, LISC San Diego

As Program Officer/Underwriter, Kwofi coordinates LISC’s $250 million in annual lending to help support affordable housing, economic development and community projects in LISC’s 30-plus urban markets throughout California, Arizona, Washington State and Texas.


John Seymour, National Community Renaissance

John has 27 years of development and community-based experience and has been with National CORE 17 years and has assisted in the production of more than 4,000 units including five mixed-use projects at a total development cost of over $500 million.


Lori Holt Pfeiler, San Diego Habitat for Humanity

Lori has demonstrated true commitment to San Diego with over 25 years of community involvement.  Elected to the Council of the City of Escondido in 1992, she continued her service as Mayor there for three terms.


Bree Wong, SWS Engineering, Inc.

Bree has been in the civil engineering & development field for a number of years which has enabled her to acquire vast knowledge of local & federal governing agencies’ standards and requirements and Southern California’s changing need for sustainable development and green technologies.


Sylvia Martinez, Community HousingWorks

Sylvia has twenty years of experience in housing and community development throughout California.  She has directed the development of over 500 affordable units, with five onsite childcare centers, and numerous community and economic development projects.


Rebecca Louie, Wakeland Housing Corporation

With nearly 15 years of experience in the affordable housing industry, Rebecca Louie is a leader in affordable housing development in our region, with an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of planning, building and operating housing for low-income residents in California.


Ginger Hitzke, Hitzke Development Company

Ginger is a first-generation real estate developer and has 21 years of experience in the field of affordable housing development. She has participated in the development of over 1,500 apartments and affordable homes totaling more than $430,000,000 in real estate activity throughout California.


Nicki Cometa, Affirmed Housing Group

Nicki brings a wealth of senior financial management experience to Affirmed Housing Group having worked over 26 years in the construction and homebuilding industry. She has worked for both public and private corporations with revenues ranging from $10 million to over $500 million.


San Diego Housing Federation Nominations and Elections Procedures

The San Diego Housing Federation annually, during the first quarter of the year, conducts an election for open seats on its Board of Directors. Pursuant to the Bylaws, the Governance and Nominations Committee select a slate of candidates to present to the Membership during its annual election. The slate is selected from all eligible candidates, subject to the limitations set forth in the Federation Bylaws (hyperlink to Bylaws) and as consistent with the goals established by Governance and Nominations Committee annually. All Federation members in good standing are invited to submit their qualifications as a candidate for Board membership.

The Federation Board of Directors consists of eleven members. The Federation Bylaws require that no fewer than six Board members represent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that develop and/or operate affordable housing or provide support for affordable housing developers. Of those, no less than four seats must be occupied by nonprofit organizations that develop affordable housing. The remaining positions may be filled with any member in good standing.

In addition to the requirements established by the Bylaws, the Federation Governance and Nominations Committee has established criteria to assist in the selection of the slate of candidates to be presented to the Membership. It is the goal of the Governance and Nominations Committee to nominate a slate of potential directors that will promote diversity (including, but not limited to ethnic, geographic, and professional diversity) on the Board of Directors. In addition, the Committee strongly weights candidates’ demonstrated commitment to the Federation (i.e., committee participation, financial support, or other commitment).

Those elected shall take office on April 1 of the applicable year.


SDHF staff is the “face” of the organization seen most frequently in the media, before City Councils, and in discussions with other coalition partners.

Stephen Russell, Executive Director

SteveRussell_HeadA 2005 graduate of the NewSchool of Architecture & Design, Stephen has a 20-year history working in community and economic development in the Mid-City region of San Diego. He served as Executive Director of the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement District, where he was responsible for implementing an economic development strategy for an aging commercial district. He later served as an advisor to then-San Diego City Councilmember Toni Atkins on issues related to redevelopment, infrastructure financing, small business support, and the City’s General Plan (the “City of Villages”.)

Since then he has served as volunteer board member and President of the City Heights Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing affordable housing, employment opportunities, and quality neighborhoods in the community of City Heights. Stephen has served on the NewSchool Foundation Board since 2009 and as President of the Board since 2011.

Prior to joining the Federation as its Executive Director, Stephen was a member of the firm Platt/Whitelaw Architects, Inc., a full-service architecture firm specializing in sustainable design.

Laura Nunn, Policy Director

laura nunnAs the San Diego Housing Federation’s policy director, Laura plans, directs, and coordinates development of policy positions as well as government and legislative affairs. Previously, she worked at U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s San Diego district office working on federal level issues related to housing, health, veteran affairs, and social programs. She also interned at former California State Senator Denise Ducheny’s office. Laura holds a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from University of San Diego and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish from SDSU.

Sarah Buchanan, Director of Events and Membership


Sarah Buchanan, our Director of Events and Membership, has 10 years of experience navigating deadlines and orchestrating complex event schedules.

An adept problem solver, Sarah possesses the ability to quickly change course and acclimate seamlessly to new environments and responsibilities.  She is able to see the big picture without losing sight of the details and excels at translating our members’ creative needs into action.  Working with the Presidents and Vice Presidents of companies such as Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM), Creative Group, Inc, and Creative Counsel her role played a large part in keeping the companies on track during hectic times.

Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Native American Studies from the University of Oklahoma.  She is passionate about all things creative and loves supporting others in their creative endeavors.  An Oklahoman by birth, a Chicagoan by choice, and a recent transplant to San Diego, Sarah truly feels at home here in the City in Motion.

Outside of work, you’re likely to find her exploring San Diego, relaxing at the beach with her dogs (and friends or family), singing at a local karaoke spot, or generally finding the beauty and humor in life.

Sneha Craig, Office Administrator

sne photo (2)Sneha Craig is the part time office administrator at San Diego Housing Federation. She is a Massage Therapist and also works at Fern Street Circus, a non- profit teaching circus skills to youth in City Heights.

Sneha enjoys life with her husband, 2 dogs, 5 chickens, 3 rabbits and likes to paint in her spare time.

Abigail Shneyder, Education Programs Assistant, LISC AmeriCorps Member

Abigail Shneyder is the newest member of the San Diego Housing Federation team. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, she graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in History in the Spring of 2017. Fresh out of college, she decided the best way to feed her passion for social justice and community development was through an AmeriCorps service term, learning from the best in the non-profit world. Heading toward sunny skies and a thriving network of non-profits, she could not be more thrilled to be serving as the LISC AmeriCorps member for SDHF!

Previously, Abigail honed her community engagement skills as President of a community radio station during her college years back in Connecticut. She has also perfected her “radio voice” (which she mostly employs as a party trick these days). In her free time, she enjoys learning new languages, having double-majored in Italian Studies at Wes, and is currently learning Mandarin Chinese. She hopes her new language skills will help her with ordering lots of yummy food on Convoy Street, where you can usually find her on the weekends.

Mehrsa Imani, Resident and Community Organizer

Mehrsa Imani is the Resident and Community Organizer at San Diego Housing Federation. Her passion for social justice and strengthening community life started at a young age, when her Indian-Persian family migrated as refugees to United States in 2004. Since then, she has been driven by her desire for service. In 2014 she pursued and completed her undergraduate studies in Urban Studies with minor in Urban and Regional Planning at UC Irvine. She then moved to San Diego to serve full-time as a regional coordinator for a non-profit program which aims to develop the capacity of young adolescents, of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, to take charge of the well-being of their communities. Simultaneous to her services, she interned at City Heights Community Development Corporation, supporting the effort of a resident group called the Built Environment Team in enhancing the health and safety of their community. Through these experiences she realized her interest in increasing community engagement and empowering local residents to contribute to social change.

Mehrsa is excited to now focus her energy on affordable housing in San Diego, and to learn to channel the diverse talents and insights of the community in addressing this pressing need.

Blake Nachtsheim, Research Assistant

Blake Nachtsheim is Research Assistant at San Diego Housing Federation. He grew up in Reno, Nevada and moved to San Diego in 2012 to attend San Diego State.  He plans to graduate in the spring of 2017 with a Bachelors in Business Management with a specialization in Entrepreneurship.  Blake became interested in social business and non-profit management while attending SDSU and hopes to one day create a company that can give back to the community.

Blake also works for the student disability services on the SDSU campus. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, skiing, exploring the great outdoors, reading and watching Kung Fu movies.

Amanda Kilian, Intern

Amanda is currently a senior at California State University, Long Beach and will be graduating with her B.A. Political Science in spring 2018. In the past she has worked for the YMCA where she developed her passion for non-profit work and commitment to strengthening community. Her interest in public policy and affordable housing grew through her research into California’s housing crisis. Her passion for affordable housing is what made her want to learn more from the professionals in the field that are advocating on behalf of Californians.

In her spare time Amanda enjoys exploring National Parks, traveling and road trips big or small. Her most memorable road trip was her 3,000+ journey from southern California to Boston.