Leadership Team

Holly Benson

President & CEO

Holly Benson plays the critical role of guiding Abode Communities’ strategic vision and ensuring its’ work remains people-centered, advances equity, and creates measurable, lasting impact.

She is considered a formidable leader in affordable housing policy, working to address and advocate for key issues that increase community investment throughout California. She has been actively involved in affordable housing and community development for more than 25 years, and her depth of experience is underscored by her leadership to advance some $700 million of community investment throughout California.

Benson is Vice Chair of FHLBank of San Francisco’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council and a board member of California Housing Consortium. Her expertise has been showcased on the Tavis Smiley Show, KNX Broadcasting, and KPCC Public Radio in Los Angeles. Benson is often resourced by organizations such as Housing California, Urban Land Institute, Enterprise Community Partners, University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Affairs, and University of Southern California School of Public Policy to provide insights and education on housing affordability in California.

Prior to assuming the role of President & CEO, she served as Abode Communities’ Chief Operating Officer and Vice President, Housing Development. Benson previous roles have included work for Mercy Housing California, County of Orange Housing and Communtiy Development and Rural California Housing Corporation.

Benson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Rick Saperstein

Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Rick Saperstein is executive vice president and chief financial officer responsible for the oversight of Abode Communities’ long-term financial solvency including budgeting, reporting, asset management, and risk management.

Saperstein has more than 30 years of experience in organizational finance and accounting management; internal and external financial reporting; budgeting and forecasting; cash flow reporting and department management. His contributions to Housing Partnership Network (HPN), a 100-member national consortium of affordable housing experts, include the development and oversight of HPN Select, a national procurement solution for multifamily affordable housing owners/operators.

He is regularly resourced by organizations such as Enterprise Community Partners and the Southern California Association for Nonprofit Housing. His previous experience includes serving as director of accounting for Forest City Enterprise, Inc., a NYSE-listed real estate company delivering mixed-income and mixed-use workforce developments. He also served as chief financial officer, controller and certified public accountant for various small and medium-sized companies, all with a concentration within the real estate industry.

He is a Certified Public Accountant #44683 from the California Board of Accountancy and a licensed Real Estate Officer #01866181 from the California Board of Real Estate. He received his bachelor degree in accounting from California State University, Northridge.

Jerry Gonzales

Chief People & Adminstration Officer

Jerry Gonzales is responsible for the oversight and implementation of the organization’s daily administrative and housing services operations, including Information Technology, Property Management, Resident Services, and Talent & Culture functions. He works closely with the President/CEO to realize the organization’s vision and values, achieve strategic plan goals, and ensures best practices are followed in Abode Communities’ business processes. Gonzales plays a key role in enhancing the organization’s performance, executing its mission, and maintaining a balanced culture. This involves combining the richness and relevance of programs with the efficacy of best business practices, fiscal accountability, and institutional impact.

Gonzales proactively works to translate the organization’s strategic plan into human resource strategies and operational plans to provide critical human capital management leadership for organization-wide initiatives. Critical to his role is the identification and recommendation of opportunities to improve and align supporting systems, ultimately integrating an organization-wide approach to talent and culture management.

He is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR); an Society of Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM); and member of National Human Resources Association Los Angeles Chapter’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Council.

Before joining Abode Communities, Gonzales served as the Director of Human Resources at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Gonzales’ depth of experiences includes work for the Leadership for Educational Equity in Washington, DC where he was Head of Talent, Learning and Culture; The Broad Center as its Deputy Director, Operations; and for 13 years, University of California, Los Angeles serving in executive roles at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the Community Programs Office (CPO), and the Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment (SPACE) Project.

Lara Regus

Senior Vice President, Real Estate Development

Lara Regus is senior vice president of development responsible for the oversight of affordable housing production. As such, she identifies a wide-range of financing to bring developments to fruition; oversees predevelopment, construction and permanent financing activities; manages relationships with lenders and investors; and oversees Abode Communities’ real estate development team. Regus is also instrumental in engagement to increase public awareness and support for affordable housing through education, policy, and advocacy endeavors.

In nearly two decades with Abode Communities, Regus has contributed to the development of some 1,439 affordable multifamily residential units and managed a development pipeline of more than 2,400 homes to be produced in the next five years. Her expertise has led Abode Communities to become a leading innovator in modular housing, environmentally sustainable housing, and joint-venture projects requiring complex entitlements and ground lease agreements.

Regus is particularly adept at land use planning and advancing public policy for the production of affordable housing. Among her many contributions to the industry, Regus is Board President, Southern California Association for Nonprofit Housing, a board member of Lowe Institute of Political Economic at Claremont McKenna College, and a mentor for UCLA Zimon Center for Real Estate Development.

Her in-depth experience at Abode Communities includes successfully identifying and securing acquisition opportunities as director, business development. Prior to joining the organization in 2006, she served as a program associate at California Community Foundation and as an analyst at JPMorgan Chase.

Regus earned a Masters in Urban Planning from University of California, Los Angeles and a Bachelors in Economics from Claremont McKenna College.

Sara Tsay

Senior Vice President, Business Development

Sara Tsay is senior vice president of business development responsible for identifying and procuring new affordable housing and community development opportunities. In the last two years alone, Tsay has increased the number of affordable homes in Abode Communities’ pipeline by 90%, bringing more than $1.4 billion in economic investment to California over the next five years.

In her role, she oversees Abode Communities’ acquisitions; procures joint venture partnerships; negotiates purchase and sale agreements; defines development programs and advances architectural design; manages development consultants during project procurement; identifies acquisition and predevelopment financing; and manages the business development team.

Tsay has 15+ years of real estate experience, having served as strategy and development manager at The Walt Disney Company, and as senior real estate negotiator at Target Corporation. Additionally, Tsay worked as a lead project manager at Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, overseeing real estate development projects and was a project management associate at Abode Communities, where she was responsible for multifamily residential development projects.

She is a member of the City of Los Angeles 2021-2029 Housing Element Task Force, Housing California, Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California, Southern California Association for Nonprofit Housing, San Diego Housing Federation, and Urban Land Institute.

Tsay earned a Masters in Urban Planning from University of California, Los Angeles and a Bachelors in Urban Studies from Brown University.

Sarah Furchtenicht

Senior Vice President, Property Management

Sarah Furchtenicht is vice president of property management responsible for the executive oversight and management of Abode Communities’ affordable residential portfolio, which currently includes nearly 50 residential communities with more than 3,100 affordable/supportive homes for nearly 7,800 people throughout California.

In this role, she is responsible for developing and maintaining annual operating and capital improvement budgets; delivering long-term asset management plans; monitoring financial variance, vacancy, and delinquency reports; overseeing and approving legal actions; responding to Fair Housing concerns; preparing contracts; ensuring regulatory compliance; managing reserves; and mentoring the property management staff.

Furchtenicht has 25+ years of experience in affordable property management, insurance, and risk management. Furchtenicht has received Congressional Recognition for Dedication to serving and working in Affordable Housing for Seniors by Congressman Ted Lieu’s office, District 33.

She Vice President of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs for Affordable Housing Management Association’s Pacific Southwest Chapter, and an executive member of National Affordable Housing Association. Furchtenicht is licensed in the State of California as an insurance broker #4231833 and a real estate sales person #02207592, and is certified in Fair Housing Compliance and Certified Professional Occupancy from the National Affordable Housing Management Association. Furchtenicht earned a Bachelor’s in Science form California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo.

Roshe Malakuti

Senior Vice President, Resident Services

Roshe Malakuti is responsible for the oversight and implementation of Abode Communities’ resident services program, Beyond Homes, which operates from within 22 affordable housing communities serving nearly 6,000 parents, children, seniors, and people with special needs. In this role, Malakuti develops highly impactful social programming to help residents remain stable in their homes and ultimately, achieve economic mobility.

She is responsible for developing and controlling program budgets; evaluating and preparing staff policies and procedures; monitoring program performance and outcomes; and ensuring the program is in compliance with all regulatory and funder requirements. To ensure maximum housing retention and stability for residents, Malakuti establishes and maintains strategic alliances and working relationships with community-based organizations, social services agencies and other stakeholders, as well as participates in fundraising activities.

Prior to joining Abode Communities, Malakuti served as director of housing programs for United Friends of the Children where she overwsaw the operations of a fast-paced housing program for Transition Age Youth; created operational and risk management strategies; and cultivated $2.3 million in grants to support the organization’s $3.5 million program budget.

Malakuti also previously served as director for three separate programs for Beyond Shelter, including Housing First, Homeless Prevention and Rapid ReHousing Program (HPRP) and the Skid Row Families Demonstration Project (SRFDP), all of which provided homeless families with emotional support, guidance, job training, social services and housing. She was also a supervising children’s social worker with the Department of Children and Family Services for nearly a decade.

She earned a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University and a Bachelors in Philosophy from University of Southern California.

Raeven Flores, AIA

Principal Architect

Raeven Flores is principal architect responsible for the planning and design leadership of Abode Communities | Architecture Studio. In this role, she serves as main client liaison and provides executive oversight of project design. Her thoughtful and holistic approach drives high-quality design while ensuring budgets and schedules are met. Above all, she believes that well-designed environments must be accessible for all in order to create a true sense of community with purpose.

Flores brings more than 29 years of experience to the design team. Her in-depth knowledge and expertise in all phases of project development creatively aids clients, municipalities and community stakeholders in achieving design objectives through cost-efficient, high-quality architectural design.

As principal, she is responsible for overseeing and implementing design for community-based design including affordable mixed-use developments with community-serving uses, health centers, community centers, and childcare centers.

Prior to joining Abode Communities, Flores served as a job captain for Moule and Polyzoides, as well as a project designer for Mia Lehrer Landscape Architect and Lehrer Architects.

She is licensed to practice in the State of California (C-32188), and earned a Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University, and an Associate of Art from Pasadena City College.