Joey Harrison is the in-district Block by Block Operations Manager for the Temescal BID’s maintenance services, where he provides responsive, dedicated, high quality service to the Temescal BID, and takes the lead for specialized services and projects. Prior to Temescal, Mr. Harrison held the position of Team Lead for the Ambassador team in Downtown Berkeley.
Mr. Harrison's background includes years of experience and training, working with individuals experiencing mental health issues, substance abuse issues and homelessness. Utilizing his multilayered experiences, as part of the Temescal BID Pilot Community Engagement Program, Mr. Harrison, along with the ambassadors, engage with all members of the Temescal Community and provide a sense of hospitality, safety and assistance to deal with quality of life issues, as well as providing a welcoming presence in the Temescal District.
Temescal has seen a significant improvement in community relations, as a direct result of implementations and concepts fashioned by Mr. Harrison. Mr. Harrison has made huge strides within the Temescal community, and beyond. He has developed an interactive and diverse network of community partners with which he works.
Joey utilizes his experience and training to increase communication and build relationships with all members of the Temescal Community.. Mr. Harrison provides training on how to compassionately and respectfully interface with persons experiencing homelessness and mental health issues. He has developed a focused de-escalation training session for businesses and their staff. His training's and methods of approach have led to improved business relations.
The Village of Love was created because Joey recognizes that only as a community, can we begin to make a change. He sees the Village of Love beyond the Bay Area and California. The Village of Love is making a difference, one neighborhood at a time.
Joey Harrison, Executive Director and Founder of the Village of Love.
Jerri Forriest comes to The Village of Love with an extensive background in administrative and business organizational development. Ms. Forriest's experience includes Patient Coordinator of a Medical Facility, Operations Manager of a Medical Career School, Office Manager of a WIC (Women Infants and Children) Clinic, Executive Administrator for a Healthy Start Clinic and Operations Coordinator for Run With Us, a social and life educational travel group for women in recovery; or who have experienced trauma.
Ms. Forriest has organized numerous Community Events to inform, educate and unite. Jerri has facilitated and hosted The Annual WIC Community Baby Shower, Shower of Knowledge, Healthy Start PIC Academy, The Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Workshop, Pillow of Peace Outreach, Toys for Tots with the New Orleans Marines, and countless other events.
Jerri believes that all humans are equal and therefore entitled to basic human rights, no matter where or how they live. She advocates to treat others as you would want to be treated.
"I am here, even if you pretend you don't see me".
Jerri Forriest, Director of Operations of The Village of Love.
Mr. Burruss has been managing people and programs for over 30 years. He enjoys training employees and tapping into their unknown potential. He believes people are the greatest asset that an organization can have.
Mr. Burruss’ personal goal is to show love, dignity, and respect to each and every person he meets. Mr. Burruss also understands the importance of mentoring the next generation of leaders. After serving our country in the United States Army, he graduated from San Jose State in 1992, with a degree in Business Management.
For over 10 years, Allbert has been involved in Urban Placemaking and is committed to eagerly serving the community.
Albert Burruss, Regional Director of The Village of Love.
As Program Director, Mr. Scott is responsible for multi program management, staff development, team building and providing motivational leadership. Mr. Scott discovered his passion for Community Organizing, while serving as a lead organizer with the Black Organizing Project. Mr. Scott utilizes those organizational skills to build relationships with community organizations and provide street outreach throughout encampments and neighborhoods.
Having been unsheltered himself, Raj has "lived experience" and genuinely understands the battles and struggles associated with being unsheltered.
“I believe in progress and not perfection, therefore I show grace to individuals from any and every walk of life because that same grace was shown to me.”
Raj Scott, Alameda Program Manager
For over 25 years, Mr. Gorham has worked in the field of addiction treatment and counseling psychology. His primary focus has been working with homeless individuals, those diagnosed with mental disorders and individuals who are incarcerated.
Mr. Gorham is the former Executive Director of Options Recovery Services and developed the Options Recovery Services clinical program in Berkeley, CA., which now operates multiple sites within Alameda and Contra Costa counties. He established a specialized program for individuals suffering from substance use disorders and moderate to severe mental health disorders, in conjunction with Alameda Behavioral Health Services. He also founded the Addiction Recovery program at San Quentin State Prison.
Tom has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with the State of California Board of Behavioral Sciences and is a Certified Substance Use Disorder Counselor CADPT.
As an active and participating member of his community, Tom serves on several Advisory Board Committees, including California Association of Drug and Alcohol Counselors, National Association of Drug and Alcohol Counselors, University of California Peoples Park, and San Carlos Foundation.
Tom Gorham, Therapist.
Shifra de Benedictis-Kessner is an economic development professional with over 13 years working in the East Bay. Shifra works for the City of Oakland Economic Development Department, and previously led the Temescal Telegraph Business Improvement District as Executive Director for six years, managing diverse programs to create a beautiful, welcoming, and prosperous commercial district, including district-wide cleaning and maintenance, marketing, and a homeless outreach program. Shifra came to the Temescal district from the Downtown Berkeley BID, where she worked as Program Assistant and then Marketing Manager for four years, managing and implementing the BID's events, marketing programs and strategic communications. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a bachelor degree in Public Policy and Hispanic Studies. Shifra brings her expertise in non-profit management and data-driven decision making, as well as her experience co-creating a homeless outreach program with Joey Harrison for the Temescal BID, to her role on the Village of Love Board.
Bay Area Rapid Transit
Fremont Bank, General Manager
Area Agency on Aging Division Director at Contra Costa County
RN, MSN, PHN, CWOCN, FNP-BC at Alameda Health Systems
and AHS's Mobile Health Clinic
Substance Abuse Counselor
Executive Director of EIKON, an Oakland-based nonprofit and church focused on empowering under-served and unsheltered people in the East Bay
A Staggering Rise in Homelessness
Report: Oakland Is Home To Over Half Of Alameda County’s Rising Homeless Population (July 23, 2019)
OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — The numbers are in: 8,022 people in Alameda County are homeless and more than half of them live in Oakland.
EveryOneHome counts performed a point-in-time count in Alameda County in January and preliminary results showed a 43% increase in the number of homeless people living in the county.
The detailed report released Tuesday shows 12 of 14 Alameda County cities saw a jump in homelessness from 2017. Berkeley’s homeless count increased from 972 people in 2017 to 1,108 people in 2019.
Oakland went from 2,761 to 4,071.
The Committee Members
• Ronald A.
• Matthew E.
• Jackie H.
• Mark H.
• Michael N.