Dr. Ryan J. Smith (Courtesy photo)

Dr. Ryan J. Smith has been appointed to serve as president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph Center, one of the largest grassroots organizations in Los Angeles County focused on providing housing, mental health, job training, and other vital services to underserved communities.  The appointment is effective on March 1.

Smith has 20 years of experience in nonprofit management. Currently serving as an Affordable Housing Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles, he brings management, systems change, and community engagement experience to his new role.

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Previously, Smith served as the chief strategy officer for Community Coalition.  Also, he managed the successful Make LA Whole antipoverty campaign, securing over $200 million in city funds for high-need communities.

“I am humbled and excited to join the incredible team at St. Joseph Center,” said Smith.

“I hope to build upon its incredible legacy, fostering an environment where outreach and engagement, housing, mental health, and job training programs are always at the heart of our work.”

“Dr. Smith is a visionary with a proven track record of success. With a lifetime of work focused on equity, he is the smart, mission-focused leader St. Joseph Center needs to advance the agency’s efforts in homeless services,” said Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum, CEO of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and the former president/CEO of St. Joseph Center.

Before his tenure at Community Coalition, Dr. Smith served as interim CEO and chief external officer for L.A. Unified’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, an organization supporting over 15,000 students and their families.

St. Joseph Center is an inclusive, diverse force for change, working to provide underserved, low-income families, as well as homeless men, women, and children of all ages, with the inner resources and tools to become productive, stable, and self-supporting members of the community.

For almost 50 years, St. Joseph Center has been at the forefront of supporting unhoused men and women across Los Angeles. Last year, St. Joseph Center connected over 2,400 individuals with housing, provided over 45,000 hours of mental health care, and served over 46,000 hot, nutritious meals to homeless men and women at their Bread and Roses Café.

A report from the USC Price Homelessness Policy Research Institute found that a homelessness outreach effort led by St. Joseph Center in the summer of 2021, Ocean Front Walk Encampment to Homes Project, was able to “move 93% of its clients into permanent housing — far above the normal rate than standard outreach programs,” said the report.

“In the days ahead, I plan to work side-by-side with the incredible team of staff and volunteers at St. Joseph Center, partnering with the community at large to meet the needs of our underserved neighbors,” said Smith.

Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Doctorate of Education from UCLA, and is a recipient of both the National Annie E. Casey Children and Family Fellowship, and the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs.