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Management Staff Profiles

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Executive Officers

IMG_7195 (2)Matthew Okebiyi, Founder & CEO

Matthew Okebiyi is the Founder and currently serves as the CEO of the African American Planning Commission, a New York City-based 501(C)(3), not-for-profit organization committed to addressing homelessness and the related issues of domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, shortage of affordable housing, shortage of senior housing, youth housing and unemployment in the communities in which we live and serve.

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Finance & Human Resource Officers

raymondRaymond Okebiyi, BSc., MBA, Fiscal Officer

Ray is an experienced Fiscal Officer with over eighteen years of diversified accounting and finance experience spanning both for-profit and non-profit environments.

Before joining AAPCI, Ray worked with Volunteers of America–Greater NY, Inc., (VOA-GNY), Comvision.com and PC Learning Center, Inc., YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities (NIPD), Manhattan Valley Golden Age Senior Citizens Center, Inc. and with the 163rd Street Improvement Council, Inc. Ray’s experience spans the accounting/finance field ranging from credit and collections to auditing and consulting, including maintaining financial statements, preparing, conducting and reviewing audits (both internal and external), supervising personnel, payroll and fringes and preparing business financial plan forecasts.

Ray assists both the CEO and the volunteer Board of Directors with managing the organization fiscally, ensuring that the organization is in fiscal compliance with our funders’ requirements. Ray has oversight for budget preparation and all general accounting issues impacting upon the organization. Ray hopes to bring his extensive experience associated with innovation, efficiency and cost cutting to the Commission.

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Program Officers


Serenity House Family Residence

 

gladysGladys B. Pipkins, MSW, Program Director

Gladys B. Pipkins currently serves as the Program Director at Serenity House Family Residence (SHFR), a transitional Tier II residence for survivors of domestic violence. Prior to her current post, she served as the program’s Assistant Program Director.

Gladys works with the Assistant Program Director, who oversees the Supervisor of Family Services; Supervisor of Family Safety, and the Coordinator of Child Care & Recreational Services. Gladys focuses on staff development by ensuring that all staff are properly equipped to perform their responsibilities. This is accomplished by facilitating staff trainings.

Gladys brings over 25 years of experience working with victims of domestic violence. She began working with survivors of domestic violence in 1981. She has worked in several domestic violence shelters and was the Director of Hotlines, which included the domestic violence hotline operated by Safe Horizons (formerly known as Victim Services). Gladys has also served as a Board Member for a domestic violence shelter.

Before coming to SHFR, Gladys was a Team Supervisor for the Day Care Council of NYC. There she supervised five MSW students who provided services to parents, children and teachers at 15 day care centers. Services included crisis intervention counseling, parenting groups, individual counseling (consisting of the provision of services to many parents who were victims of domestic violence), as well as the provision of technical support and professional training to the teachers In 1986 and again in 1994, Gladys was honored and received a Distinguished Service Award for her outstanding contributions in her work with victims of domestic violence.

Gladys graduated from the College of New Rochelle, receiving a B.A. with Honors in Psychology and Education. She continued her education and graduated from Hunter College School of Social Work, where she received her MSW on a full tuition scholarship through the NYC Department of Mental Health. Gladys also holds a SIFI certification which affords her the opportunity to supervise MSW students in New York City.

Gladys was an Adjunct Professor at Hunter College School of Social Work. Her focus was on preparing MSW students for academia and providing them with tools to help them coordinate busy work schedules and field placements in order to receive MSW degrees.

Gladys enjoys laughter which she considers medicine for the soul, southern home cooking, especially collard greens and fried chicken. Grits and fish for breakfast are always a special treat. Gladys collects African American dolls (she has over 100), enjoys traveling, reading, stimulating and intellectual debates on social issues.

What I enjoy most about working at Serenity House Family Residence: touching the lives of residents, holding their babies and looking for opportunities to assist my staff hone their skills. “SHFR is Home and it’s where I belong”.

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monicaMonica S. Lee, B.S., Assistant Program Director

Monica currently serves AAPC and the residents of Serenity House Family Residence as the Assistant Program Director. Monica oversees the Supervisor of Family Services; Supervisor of Family Safety, and the Coordinator of Child Care & Recreational Services. Prior to her current post, she served as the program’s Supervisor of Family Services. Monica has over 20 years experience in public service. Her experiences are diverse and yet share a common goal — to assist those in need.

Along with her calling to public service, Monica brings a strong business background to AAPCI. Monica has twenty years experience working in a corporate environment. She began her career at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Greater New York (EBCBS) and worked there for nearly 15 years in various positions each with increasing and diverse responsibility. She held the positions of Supervisor, Business Analyst, Trainer and Manager.

After taking an early retirement from EBCBS, Monica applied her experiences and started her own desktop publishing company called Computer Designs. She offered a variety of services including P.C. training; resume production and general desktop publishing services. However, after a few years she missed the business environment and joined AmeriChoice, Inc, a Medicaid managed care service provider. It was at AmeriChoice that Monica began her work with the underserved populations in NYC, and she developed a greater desire to serve others. She remained with AmeriChoice for four years, when she left it was to spend more time with her family.

When Monica returned to work she joined another Medicaid managed care service provider as a Marketing Manager. She worked extensively and directly with the public and various government and private agencies.

Following the events of September 11, 2001, Monica was presented with the opportunity to provide a service to her country. Monica joined Advanced Interactive Systems (AIS) as a Trainer. AIS was contracted by the Department of Homeland Security to train the techniques and principles of security to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees.

In 2003, Monica experienced a life altering event with the loss of her father. Monica decided to return to college, and dedicated her work to the memory of her father. Monica worked full-time, while she attended St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn as a full-time student. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health and Human Services. She maintained a GPA of 3.92 or better and was on the Dean’s List during her academic career. She earned certificates in Counseling, Leadership and Supervision, and Information Technologies. She was inducted into the Delta Gamma Sigma Honor Society for academic achievement, and service to the community and the college; and for commencement she was given the honor of being the class Valedictorian.

Monica has formal training and professional experience in: Health Care Delivery Systems, Community Health and Human Services, Principles of Counseling, Family Counseling, Counseling Techniques, Emotional/Behavioral Disturbances in Children and Youth, Mental Health and Crisis Intervention, Critical Thinking, and Problem Solving. Her future plans include earning her graduate degree.

Monica is a member of the Shinnecock Nation, a Native American tribe located on Long Island. She enjoys spending time with friends and family at the family’s home on the Reservation. Monica is a child at heart and loves to spend her free time playing. She enjoys making people laugh and loves to tell stories.

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Renee Steedley Family Residence

 

Lateth Jackson-300x235Latetha Jackson, MSW, Program Director

Latetha Jackson graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mercy College, studying to become a Social Worker. Ms. Jackson worked at Westhab Inc., a non-profit organization geared towards building communities and changing lives. Ms. Jackson was involved in their Rapid Re-Housing Program where she helped families transition from shelter to permanent housing with intensive homebased services and community referrals.

Over the past seven years, Ms. Jackson worked within Safe Horizon’s emergency and transitional shelters providing services to survivors of domestic violence. Ms. Jackson has taken great pride in the work she has done to impact the lives of many during her time there.

Ms. Jackson has also served as the Director of Social Services for Acacia Network where she oversaw day-to-day supportive services coupled with case management within single Tier II hotel shelters and worked in conjunction with DHS, OTDA, HUD and outside agencies.

Ms. Jackson earned her Masters in Social Work from Lehman College where she graduated Magna Cum Laud in June of 2017. Ms. Jackson currently serves as the Program Director of Renee Steedley Family Residence (RSFR), a transitional Tier II shelter for homeless victims of domestic violence. Prior to her current position, Ms. Jackson served as the program’s Assistant Program Director. Ms. Jackson oversees the Assistant Program Director, Supervisor of Social Services, Coordinator of Childcare and the Supervisor of Family Safety. Ms. Jackson takes pride in implementing AAPCI’s core values in the day-to-day operations at Renee Steedley Family Residence.

Ms. Jackson has worked with many at risk populations with a variety of presenting issues. Ms. Jackson empowers these families to break the cycle of recidivism; encourages sustainability and helps develop self-sufficiency.

Ms. Jackson is a strong innovative leader who evokes empathy and compassion for the residents that she serves, and ensures the advancement of staff development to reach their optimal potential.

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Celida Jimenez, BA, Assistant Program Director

 

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Emergency Shelter and Social Services in Commercial Hotels

 

Kimberly K. Joneskimberly profile pic, MS. Ed., LMHC, Director of Operations – Commercial Shelters

Kimberly Jones currently serves as the Director of Emergency Shelter Services overseeing all AAPCI/DHS’ shelter programs in commercial hotels – citywide.   Ms. Jones is an experienced, licensed, Behavioral Health professional, skilled in the procurement, administration and oversight of government funded contracts, special needs housing, and the delivery of social services programing. Ms. Jones presents more than 25 years of experience in the human services field. Her expertise includes Mental Health Counseling, vocational counseling, recovery oriented services development and delivery. Ms. Jones has served as a Deputy Housing Director and a Contract Compliance Program Auditor in a nine-year tenure with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). Ms. Jones brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise to African American Planning Commission. She is a natural leader and motivator, and takes pride in staff training, professional development and mentoring. Ms. Jones holds a Master’s degree in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counseling and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

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Brooklyn Way Hotel

 

Brian Bailey, MSW, Program Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pamela Anderson, MS, CASAC-T, Director of Social Services

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Lower Manhattan Holiday Inn

 

, Program Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Valeria E. WellsMBA, Director of Social Services

Valerie Elaine Wells, currently serves as the Director of Social Services at Delancey St Women shelter Holiday Inn. Ms. Wells graduated from Berkeley College with a Master’s in Business Administration and Management and a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice studies with minor in Psychology. Ms. Wells has been employed in the Human Service profession for 17 years. Experiencing various positions throughout her career, Valerie is committed to the cause. Understanding the needs of the people and having the willingness to give back. Valerie takes pride in serving the underserved. Her drive, persistence and dedication is a projection of her core qualities. Her efforts, knowledge and loyalty are authentic qualities, with genuine service. Understanding the obstacles communities face Valerie States…

My struggle is my pain, my pain is my life, my life is my strength, my strength is my motivation and my motivation is my success

Valerie believes public service is fulfilling as much as it is rewarding. Stating, you can never see the differences if you are apart of the difference.

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Cabana Hotel Men’s Shelter 

 

Erika Pula, BS, Program Director

Ericka Pula currently serve as the Program Director at the Cabana Hotel, a 76 bed facility for single adult males. Ericka has been working in the social services field for over 18 years. Erika graduated from Mercy College in 1999 with a BS in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. In 2000, she joined the police department as a New York City Police Officer. She left the department shortly after in 2004 because “it became hard to cope with the remembrance of 9/11”.

Shortly after, Erika pursued a career in social services which she states was really her passion. She began working for an organization (Center for Employment Opportunity) that worked with a diverse population of ex-offenders. Erika states, “I was a senior job coach for young adults between the ages of 18-24 who were reintegrating back into society with my help. I was an advocate on behalf of my participants while monitoring the results of their development.” Not soon after that, Erika was promoted to Senior Program Coordinator working in conjunction with the US Department of Labor, running their Young Parent Demonstration Program (YPDP). “I was responsible for providing educational and occupational skill training which fostered economic self-sufficiency to young parents and expectant parents ages 18-24. In my role, I assisted young adults in obtaining vocational certificates, general equivalency diplomas, and two-year associate or higher degrees. I provided guidance for future program implementation by evaluating and comparing effectiveness of the regular existing services provided by the organization. In all, I worked for 7 years with a diverse caseload of disadvantage population, ex-offenders, dully diagnosed and substance abuse.”

In 2011 Erika states that she was given the opportunity to work in a homeless facility (NAICA) as a Senior Case Manager and “I have not looked back.  I love all aspects of the job and working with this population. I worked for a facility that housed 200 single males.  I accelerated quickly and was promoted a year later to the position of Director of Employment Services. I provided employment services, job development, job training, placements, retention and referrals. I developed systems to organize and maintain efficient flow of case management with specific emphasis on employment activities.”

In 2014, Erika transitioned to another organization (AGUILA Inc.) where she was a Program Supervisor responsible for overseeing 9 different cluster sites all over the Bronx that housed 409 homeless families with children. “I was challenged with all aspects of running a homeless shelter including daily interaction with the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), the Board of Education and domestic violence. Within the same agency, a few years later, I was asked to be a Director of Social Services to one of their toughest adult family facility (Parkview Inn). This was a 204 unit building with DHS police on site plus security. I lasted a few years and gained an abundance of experience which led me to where I am today. I have a passion for doing what I do. I find that helping others is extremely gratifying and I see myself in this role for years to come.”

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, Director of Social Services

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Econolodge Hotel Women’s Shelter

 

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Victoria L. MonroeCMHC-LP, CASAC-T, Director of Social Services

Victoria Lenora Monroe is a CMHC-LP, CASAC-T and is currently serves as the Director of Social Services at the Holiday Inn Women’s Shelter. In this capacity she oversees the program and quality of equitable services provided. Ms. Monroe graduated with a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude in undergraduate studies in Psychology.

Ms. Monroe has an extensive background in counseling various population and experience with Substance Use Treatment, Trauma, Homelessness, Bereavement, and persistent severe mental illness. Ms. Monroe also has a history of providing clinical treatment services through an assertive community team, outpatient settings, and working along side foster care system. Through exposure with working with diverse populations, Ms. Monroe saw a need in addressing inequitable care and barriers especially to those in greater need. She brings her experience, clinical skills, and compassion to empower the community that we live in and change lives one day at a time.

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Days Inn Hotel Men’s Shelter 

 

Iyahen Iduozee, MSProgram Director

Iyahen Iduozee serves as the Program Director at Days Inn Tuckerton, a 108-bed facility for single adult women. Ms. Iduozee graduated with a Bachelor’s in Arts in Psychology as well as a Bachelor’s in Science in Biology from University of Hartford where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. In 2014, Ms. Iduozee attained her Master’s in Science degree from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Interdisciplinary Physical and Biological Sciences. Ms. Iduozee’s current life mission is to reduce homelessness while addressing the issues of domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, mental illness, substance abuse, the shortage of affordable housing, and unemployment in the underserved/underprivileged communities in the boroughs of New York City, New York. All while helping to break the continuous cycle of poverty within the Black and Hispanic communities by empowering individuals with knowledge, resources, and guidance.

In 2006, during Ms. Iduozee’s first year of undergraduate school, it was suggested to her by a classmate to work in a residential setting as a Direct Care worker with individuals with intellectual disabilities. The position was attractive to her due to the various hours and flexibility to which it flowed seamlessly with her college schedule. As a Direct Care worker, Ms. Iduozee learned patience, how to show more compassion, and the dire need of destigmatizing Mental Health with the public’s perspective. Shortly after graduating from University of Hartford, Ms. Iduozee began her role as a Program Director in a residential setting that services 40 dually diagnosed Developmentally Disabled adults.

In 2014, after graduating with her Master’s in Science degree, Ms. Iduozee began to work with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York as a Social Worker Assistant in Bronx, NY. She was responsible for providing direct social work services to the geriatric population by providing weekly supportive counseling sessions, community resource planning, advocacy, skill building and crisis intervention.

In 2017, Iyahen was provided the opportunity to join the management team as Director of Social Services to help oversee 220 families with children in commercial homeless shelters in Manhattan. Over the next two years, Iyahen trained and mentored the Social Service team to ensure that the families received appropriate community linkages, to receive counseling services, led the team to being solution oriented, and gave guidance so that the team can better assist the homeless families in obtaining employment and permanent housing.

In her spare time Iyahen enjoys traveling around the world, exploring different cuisine in the NYC area, and watching documentaries.

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Lesley Bruno, Director of Social Services

Lesley Bruno has been in the field of Social/Human Services for over 15 years.  Ms. Bruno’s career has involved working with Mentally Disabled Adults, Foster Care, homeless families, federal inmates, and currently with homeless single Adult females.  Ms. Bruno has a passion for helping those in need and currently mentors entry-level professionals.

Ms. Bruno is currently pursuing her Masters of Social Work degree from Adelphi University. Once obtained, she plans on doing research with trauma victims to assist in post-traumatic therapy.  As the Director of Social Services for the Holiday Inn women’s shelter, Ms. Bruno’s passion for serving the underserved will continue to flourish through her work and experience.

 

 

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Hotel Fortune Men’s Shelter

 

Shorne Poleon, MA, MSW, Program Director

Mr. Shorne Poleon currently serves as the Program Director at Hotel Fortune shelter. Mr. Poleon attained his master’s degrees from Columbia University where he graduated Magna Cum Laud.  Mr. Poleon has worked in the mental health field for both the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Department of Homeless Services (DHS) contracted providers.  Mr. Poleon has an extensive background working with various client population and experience with substance abuse, supportive housing, homelessness and mental illness.

Mr. Poleon goal is to complete his law degree studies and continue to advocate for the less fortunate and vulnerable population. During his down time, Mr. Poleon is an avid soccer fan, a foodie at heart, loves politics, traveling and reading nonfiction books.

 

 

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Rebecca Cepero, MPA, CASAC-T, Director of Social Services

Rebecca Cepero currently serves as the Director of Social Services at the Fortune Hotel men’s shelter. Ms. Cepero presents a Master’s degree (MPA) from Mercy College and CASAC-T from Argus Community, Inc. Ms. Cepero brings with her over eight (8) years of experience in the social services field having worked with various populations such as adults with Intellectual and Developmental Delays and clients with histories of substance abuse. Ms. Cepero has provided services to clients residing in supportive housing, geriatric centers, and single adult shelters. Ms. Cepero’s professional experience includes having been employed in a Psychiatric Center where she was a Practice Administrator/ Compliance Officer which involved implementing and developing health policies and procedures as well as ensuring that the psychiatric clinic was in full compliance with Federal and State regulations at all times.

Rebecca states that, “these experiences fueled my passion for conducting research into Alzheimer’s disease. My future aspiration involves obtaining a Ph.D. in Health Care Administration and become a Founder of a Research Organization that assists in discovering the leading cause of Alzheimer’s disease.  During my free time I like to read spiritual books and watch documentaries. I believe in feeding the brain knowledge and knowledge is power.”

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