MEET THE PHC TEAM
Carla Praglin comes to Project Homeless Connect with 10 years of experience as a Program Manager, Social Worker, and Case Manager working to support individuals, youth, and families in San Francisco. Most recently, she was the Director of Case Management at Compass Family Services working with families experiencing homelessness. She is a San Francisco Native and is invested in making San Francisco a livable city for everyone and preserving its diversity. Her partner and their two kids now live in the Excelsior where he grew up. Carla is excited to be part of PHC Team because of their reputation for collaboration, innovation and responsiveness to the needs in the community.
Sierra Loya, new to the Bay Area, originally hails from San Antonio, Texas. Sierra received her B.A. from The University of Alabama. During which time she interned for a California-based nonprofit and served as a San Antonio Youth Ambassador –where she first began working with communities experiencing homelessness. Sierra recently received her Master’s Degree from Yale Divinity School. There she served as a Communications Director of a university community group. Sierra is thrilled to be a part of the PHC team, because she believes in its goal to effectively provide resources and value the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
Executive Assistant, PHC; Programs Assistant, Simply the Basics
Sam Gast brings experience from both the policy and direct service sides of the homelessness crisis. He conducted mental health policy research at the Oregon Health and Science University and most recently supported youth experiencing homelessness directly as a street-based counselor here in San Francisco. In addition to being a Reed College graduate and Andrew Mellon Post-Baccalaureate Research Fellow, Sam has experienced chronic pain that led to housing instability first-hand. He came to appreciate that people arrive on the street honestly and cares deeply about humanizing this experience. At birth, this San Francisco native weighed in at a whopping 10 pounds – “Thanks Mom!”
Emily was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri before moving to southern California and earning a BA in Psychology from Pomona College. During college, she worked with Jumpstart and developed a passion for community outreach while providing educational support for preschool students from low-income households. After graduation, she moved to San Francisco and worked in sales and public health research before joining the PHC team in 2013.
Director of Services
Services Coordinator, Drop-In Lead
Originally from Venezuela, Mariela has been living in the States from 2003. She has a BA in Social Communications with a concentration in video journalism. Mariela has been passionate about human rights and social justice since volunteering in the slums of Caracas and then working with San Francisco’s most disadvantage communities. Mariela also carry a Certificate as Mental Health Peer Counselor obtained in 2011. She is very excited with the opportunity to work with Project Homeless Connect to continue with her social mission!
Service Coordinator; Dental/Denture Lead
Originally from upstate New York, Leah is passionate about human rights and social justice issues. She has over four years of experience working with vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ youth, domestic violence survivors, refugees and populations at risk for HIV/AIDS. Leah earned her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Social Behavior and Community Health from SUNY-Albany. She is also a certified yoga teacher. Leah is excited to serve homeless communities in San Francisco through her work with Project Homeless Connect.
Service Coordinator; Vision Lead
I was born and raised in San Francisco California. I first started out in non-profit as a childcare provider, and after seeing such a homeless crisis in this city I wanted to get more involved with helping and how I can help and make a difference in my community. I worked in Shelter programs for a while before coming to PHC. I have over 10 years of experience working with our diverse and vulnerable population, I’m also very passionate about human rights and social injustice. I’m very proud to work in an organization that is always working towards change and making a difference, not only are we providing a service but quality service and I think that is what makes all the difference.
Service Coordinator; Hearing Lead
Originally from New Jersey, Brittany received her M.A in Crisis and Trauma at Tel Aviv University. Living abroad for the past few years, both traveling and working, Brittany has gained experience through teaching in Thailand and supporting at-risk individuals and refugees in Tel Aviv. Brittany has dedicated her life to social development and justice and hopes to bring a sense of equanimity to those in need.