Formerly Landlord Liaison Partnership

Santa Barbara Homeless Shelters Housing Team

Our Team

Karen Nielsen, PHS Executive Director

Karen has over 15 years of experience in nearly every aspect of multi-family property ownership and 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She has owned, designed, and managed several apartment buildings, hotels, and a food service business. Karen also has a unique perspective on the issue of homelessness, having been homeless as a child with her parents in Denmark on and off for a number of years. Today, she is a proactive, innovative, and influential leader with an ability to get things done and to care about people while she is doing it.

Alma Harmsen, Executive Assistant

Alma has over 12 years of administrative experience and 15 years of experience in the financial industry. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, in a community that had a large homeless population and high levels of violence and poverty. Though they were not homeless, her family depended on programs like CalWORKs to get by, and in many ways, she can relate to the struggles and resilience of our clients. Her heart has always been in the social service industry, and she is thrilled to be part of PHS’s growth and success.

Sylvia Rubalcaba, Case Manager for CalWORKs Clients

Sylvia has 16 years of experience working with low-income communities providing advocacy and case management for food, shelter, and basic needs. She previously worked for Community Action Commission Santa Barbara for six years and then with Community Action Partnership: San Luis Obispo for 10 years as a family advocate.

Maria Lopez, Housing Navigator

Maria has previously worked as a property management director for eight years, where she served as a liaison between tenants and landlords. She supervised several multi-unit family complexes where she was involved in the tenant selection process. Through her years of experience in this field, she has a thorough understanding of obstacles that people who are homeless face.