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About our speakers:
Clarissa Montenegro is the Property and Development Supervisor for the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara. Clarissa grew up in Los Angeles County and moved to Santa Barbara 14 years ago after graduating from California State University Monterey Bay with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities and Communications. She also holds a Master of Legal Studies degree from the Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law. Clarissa has been with the Housing Authority for over 13 years, and immediately found her passion and purpose in the Housing Authority’s Mission and Vision of providing affordable housing while demonstrating compassion and respect for the people and community they serve. She is inspired everyday by her colleagues at the Housing Authority and the residents and clients whose lives have changed from having a place to call home. When not at the Housing Authority, Clarissa can be found spending time with her husband Brian and her newly rescued French Bulldog, “Penny”.
John Polanskey is the Director of Housing Development for the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara (HASBARCO). John was born in Washington, DC and grew up in DC and the DC suburbs. John moved to California to complete college and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Business Administration from Biola University in La Mirada.
John has developed affordable rental housing with HASBARCO for the past 26 years. During his tenure, HASBARCO has developed partnerships that have resulted in the construction or rehabilitation of over 1,200 affordable housing units. An additional 450 affordable housing units are in the development pipeline or under construction. While John finds locating sites, obtaining approvals, securing funding and constructing and/or rehabilitating permanent supportive housing rewarding, the favorite part of his job comes when he sees families of all sizes moving into the safe, decent, affordable, permanent housing from having lived in their cars, in shelters, in encampments, or in unsafe or overcrowded conditions.