Her title is not homelessness czar, but Stacie Spector has been hired by Mayor Kevin Faulconer to act in that general capacity as his new senior advisor for housing solutions for the city of San Diego.
The Los Angeles native and resident of Carlsbad has been a consultant in the areas of strategic planning, management and communications for a broad range of clients for more than two decades, and held a number of positions, including deputy communications director, in the White House under the Clinton-Gore administration.
Spector said her job will be to coordinate, unify and create a comprehensive strategy to reverse the trend of rising homelessness in the country’s eighth largest city, which is ranked fourth in the U.S. for homeless residents with more than 8,700 sheltered and unsheltered individuals.
“I want to take a holistic approach,” said Spector. “[City Councilmember] Todd Gloria has done a great job, and there’s no shortage of groups involved—the Continuum of Care, Alpha Project and Bob McElroy, Father Joe’s, the county. This is a unique time to bring this all together.”
Why create this job now and why offer it to Spector?
“We’ve invested money under the current administration, but we’ve continued to see the number of homeless people grow,” says mayoral spokesperson Craig Gustafson. “This was about finding the right person. She doesn’t have homeless stuff on her bio, and that’s a positive. She’s coming in with no preconceived notions.”
Spector, a Democrat, will report directly to the Republican mayor. She said she told the mayor they probably have different political backgrounds and that’s she’s more liberal on social issues but said they are both generally fiscally conservative.
A partial list of her past consulting clients includes: HBO, The ACLU, The Broad Foundation, Voter.com, Busby for Congress and Step Up Women’s Network.
“I’m generally brought in to launch or fix a big project where a lot of people need to work together,” Spector said.
From June 2013 to June 2015 she was vice president of strategy and external relations for Nutrition Science Initiative. Prior to that she was chief communications officer at The Salk Institute and associate vice chancellor at UC San Diego.
The new senior advisor job with the city of San Diego is a “passion project” Spector said. “There are real people on the street who need help. This should be a passion project for everybody.”