Glazer names Contra Costa County’s Lavonna Martin Woman of the Year

Honored for her dedicated service to the homeless as Director of Health, Housing & Homeless Services for Contra Costa County

Lavonna Martin. From her LinkedIn profile.

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Contra Costa, announced Thursday that he has named Lavonna Martin as 2021 State Senate District 7 Woman of the Year. Martin is the Director of Health, Housing, & Homeless Services for Contra Costa County Health Services, in charge of providing services to those without a home to live in – a rising crisis during the Pandemic.

“Lavonna’s selfless leadership and passionate advocacy for those in need have been a lifeline to so many people who have suffered on the streets, especially during the Pandemic,” Senator Glazer said. “She is worthy of this award in every respect.”

Lavonna Martin has worked in homeless services for her entire career, beginning at the Homeless Prenatal Program in San Francisco and then, for the past 21 years, at Contra Costa Health Services.  She began her work with Contra Costa County as the Deputy Director of Homeless Services, eventually became the Chief and when the Health, Housing and Homeless Services Division was formed in 2016, was named Director.

As Director, Lavonna manages a homeless service delivery system that includes street outreach, respite and emergency shelters, independent living programs for transition-age youth, and permanent supportive housing for adults, youth, and families and received an annual compensation package including salary and benefits of over $244,000 in 2019, according to Transparent California.

During the last year in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Lavonna and her team procured 5 hotels (633 rooms) to provide non-congregate shelter options to persons experiencing homelessness at highest risk of COVID-19. Nearly 1702 individuals and families have been served in these hotels to date. More than half (54%) have had a positive exit to other housing or substance use disorder treatment programs.

Lavonna’s division has worked hard to improve the health and hygiene conditions of those living outside during this crisis. Under her leadership, hand-washing stations and porta-potties have been mobilized and stationed to better support persons living outside in the cities of Martinez, Antioch, Concord, Walnut Creek, San Pablo, Pittsburg and Richmond.

To support the basic needs for unsheltered persons, the Division’s CORE team has remained operational and has provided food packs, cloth and non-surgical masks, hand sanitizers, and solar battery chargers so that our unsheltered community could charge cell phones during Shelter In Place.

Previous winners of the Woman of the Year award for the 7th State Senate District were:

  • 2020 – Valerie Ariosto, 2020 Olympian Softball, Pleasanton
  • 2019 –  Margaret Liang, President Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Tri Valley Chapter, Dublin
  • 2018 – Alissa Friedman, President/CEO Opportunity Junction, Antioch

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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