Board of Directors


Beth Burks, Land Use Planner

Beth is the Planning Department Manager at LACO Associates, a professional consulting firm specializing in development, infrastructure, and geo-environmental projects. Previously, she was a Senior Planner with the Humboldt County Community Development Department, an AmeriCorps member working in the Child Welfare Services of Humboldt County, and she served in the Peace Corps, Nepal, working to reduce poverty at the grassroots level through income generation projects. 

Beth holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Planning from Humboldt State University. She is also trained through Humboldt Mediation Services as a Community Mediator.

Vice President

Jake Smith, Retired Attorney

Jake is the retired Managing Attorney for Legal Services of Northern California, a nonprofit that continues to provide legal services to empower the poor to identify and defeat the causes and effects of poverty. Jake has practiced as an attorney since 1973. Other Board service includes Redwood Alliance, Northcoast Co-Op, Humboldt Mediation, Northcoast Advocacy, and Temple Beth El.
Jake holds a Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College and Juris Doctorate Degree from New York University.


Edith Stromberg-Wall, Retired Land Developer

Edith developed over 500 homes throughout Humboldt County and served as a founding Board member of Housing Humboldt and River Community Homes. Other Board service includes the Lutheran Home for the Aging in Fortuna, the Arcata Economic Development Corporation housing committee, and the City of Arcata Redevelopment Committee.
Edith completed Business and Real Estate classes at Humboldt State University.


Emily Benvie, Land Use Planner

Emily is the Environmental Programs Manager for the City of Arcata. Previous experience includes planning positions with Humboldt County and LACO Associates. Emily was the Sustainability Intern with Providence Housing Authority.
Emily holds a Bachelor of Science from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Kay Escarda, Retired Teacher

Kay is a retired teacher and a founding member of Housing Humboldt. She is currently active on a number of public service committees including the Eureka Public Housing Authority and the Senior Action Coalition. Kay helped develop the Multiple Assistance Center (The MAC) in Eureka that provides transitional housing to homeless individuals and couples. Kay has been active in the League of Women Voters of Humboldt County, the Retired Teachers Association, the California Senior Leaders Alliance among others. 

Kay holds a Bachelor of Arts and Secondary Teaching Credential from Humboldt State University.   


Robert Lawton, Mortgage Broker

Bob is the owner of Humboldt Mortgage, a mortgage brokerage located in Eureka. He has been an active participant on the Arcata Economic Development Corporation, Redwood Housing Corporation, and the City of Eureka Housing Authority. Bob also has experience as a land developer and is a member of the League of Women Voters of Humboldt County. 

Bob completed coursework at College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State University. He also held a General Building Contractor’s License and he currently holds a California Real Estate licenses. Bob is Housing Humboldt’s Broker of Record.


Dana Gregg, Commercial Lender

Dana is a Commercial Credit Analyst with Redwood Capital Bank.  Her professional lending experience includes consumer, mortgage, and commercial lending.  

Dana holds an AA from Chemeketa College in Oregon and has completed Real Estate classes and professional development classes.


Jennifer Rouda, Case Manager

Jennifer is a Social Worker with Humboldt County. Her previous experience includes coordinating volunteers to assist with post-hurricane New Orleans rebuild as an Oxfam America Change Leader. She also volunteered for a number of projects serving the homeless. As an intern with US Congressman Dennis Kucinich office, Jennifer served as liaison to Northeast Ohio Coalition for the homeless. 
Jennifer holds a Bachelor's of Social Work and a Master's of Social Work from Cleveland State University in Cleveland, OH.


Sylvia Shaw, Retired Nonprofit Director

Sylvia is retired from private and nonprofit management. She has owned her own business and was a manager in human resources, environmental nonprofits, and assisted living facilities. Sylvia’s volunteer service includes League of Women Voters, League of Conservation Voters, Unitarian Fellowship, Senior Action Coalition, Eureka Housing Advisory Board, and the Area One Agency on Aging Advisory Board.
Sylvia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work.


Malinda Damme, Property Manager

Malinda is currently the Property Manager for Moser Properties. She has over five years experience in property management and worked as an accountant for a Bay Area corporation. Malinda also served on the Board of North Bay Rotaract, an affiliate of Rotary International. 
Malinda holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an International emphasis from Humboldt State University.