Governor appoints head of state agency tackling homelessness

By Antonio Ray Harvey

Contributing Writer

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed Tomiquia Moss as secretary of the state’s Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. 

Moss, a Democrat, replaces Lourdes M. Castro-Ramírez, who started in the position in March 2020. Moss’s nomination requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $232,858 per year. 

“The housing and homelessness crisis is the number one issue facing our state, and Secretary Moss brings decades of deep knowledge and experience working to move the needle on this challenge in the public and nonprofit sectors,” Newsom said Nov. 28. “I look forward to her partnership in continuing to implement California’s transformative solutions on these and other priorities for our state.” 

On Oct. 2, Castro-Ramírez announced she was stepping down. Her resignation took effect Nov. 2. 

Moss will be in charge of and supervise 12 entities, including 40 boards and bureaus. She will be responsible for the preservation and expansion of safe, affordable housing, efforts to prevent and end homelessness, protecting consumers and upholding California’s civil rights laws. 

Since 2020, the agency and its subsidiary departments have delivered more than $31 billion in funding to expand rental and homeownership housing opportunities and more than $11 billion to address homelessness. In addition, the position requires partnering with state agencies to develop statewide action plans that strengthen consumer protections by licensing, regulating, educating and enforcing rules for over four million businesses, professionals and financial institutions. 

“The Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency touches the lives of virtually every Californian,” Moss said in a statement. “I am humbled by Governor Newsom’s appointment to serve as its secretary, especially for the millions of Californians who are struggling to find and keep a roof over their heads, and for those who are the targets of fraud and discrimination. 

“Leading this multifaceted organization is a sacred responsibility. I look forward to supporting all the good work that’s already under way,” Moss added. 

Moss is the founder of All Home, a Bay Area-focused organization that advances regional solutions that address poverty, homelessness and racial disparities, and aims to create more opportunities for people with very low incomes. She has served as CEO of All Home since 2019. 

Prior to that, Moss was CEO of Hamilton Families from 2017 to 2019 and served as chief of staff of the Oakland Mayor’s Office from 2015 to 2017. From 2013 to 2015, she was executive director of HOPE SF, a San Francisco Mayor’s Office initiative. 

Additionally, Moss is board president of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. She earned a master of public administration degree from Golden Gate University and a bachelor of arts degree in political science and government from Ohio Wesleyan University. 

“While I’m excited to take the administration’s commitment to housing and homelessness solutions even further, I also see how important the agency’s other mandates are to make California a fairer and more equitable place with greater opportunities for all people to thrive,” Moss said. “I’m honored to begin this work in early 2024, and deeply grateful for the governor’s faith in me to do so.” 

According to the agency’s website, it has more than 8,000 employees and a $4.6 billion operating budget.

Antonio Ray Harvey is a reporter for California Black Media.