Expert succeeds Mercedes Márquez as new Chief Housing/Homelessness Officer.

Lourdes Joins LA’s Housing Effort

Lourdes Castro Rámirez

On Oct. 2, Lourdes Castro Ramírez, Secretary of the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, was appointed by Mayor Karen Bass as the incoming Chief Housing and Homelessness Officer in the Mayor’s Office.

The appointment comes during the unprecedented approach to confronting the homelessness crisis, where more than 17,000 people have been brought inside – an effort led by Mercedes Márquez, the Administration’s current Chief of Housing and Homelessness Solutions, according to a statement from the Mayor’s Office.

The appointment comes as a planned transition due to federal retiree rules. Secretary Castro Ramírez will begin her appointment Nov. 6. Chief Márquez will continue her work with the Office of Mayor Karen Bass as a Senior Adviser to ensure continuity and expand momentum to bring unhoused Angelenos inside with urgency.

“We must continue our momentum and progress in confronting the emergency of this homelessness crisis, and I am excited to be bringing Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez to continue our transformative work on this issue,” Mayor Bass said. “I want to thank Mercedes Márquez for all of her tireless work and dedication to this work, and I look forward to working with Lourdes as we expand our efforts and continue to move the needle forward in confronting the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.”

 “I’m grateful to Governor Newsom for entrusting me to help realize his vision on housing, homelessness, civil rights and consumer protections. And I’m proud of our statewide team that launched unprecedented efforts to address the housing shortage and solve homelessness through new policy initiatives and funding investments,” Lourdes Castro Ramirez said. “I am honored to join in Mayor Bass’ efforts to continue this work, bringing my experience and passion for urgent, collaborative and transformative solutions to Los Angeles, the place that welcomed my family when we immigrated from Mexico, and the place where I found my calling and honed my community planning, housing and leadership skills.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Lourdes Castro Ramírez to serve as Secretary of the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency in March 2020.

Castro Ramírez currently serves on the California Strategic Growth Council, the California Housing Finance Agency Board, the Governor’s Military Council and co-chairs the California Interagency Council on Homelessness. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, she led the state’s response and recovery efforts to keep people housed and served on the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery to rebuild a more equitable, sustainable and resilient economy.

Castro Ramírez has held notable and prominent positions, including her appointment by former President Barack Obama to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Public and Indian Housing; President and CEO of the San Antonio Housing Authority; Director at the L.A. City Housing Authority overseeing rental assistance and resident development programs; and serving as University Health System Foundation President in San Antonio.

Castro Ramírez is a member of the UCLA Luskin Public Affairs Advisory Board. She has served on several community and national boards, including the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, and AmeriCorps, and received the 2019 Community Partner Award from the San Antonio chapter of the American Institute of Architects for chairing the Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force. She is the recipient of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality’s 2020 Ray of HOPE award and 2020 San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee.

Castro Ramírez earned her Master’s degree in urban planning and a Bachelor’s degree in political science and Chicano studies at UCLA.

Welcome to the team, Lourdes!