President & CEO
Holly Benson is responsible for the executive oversight and integration of Abode Communities’ multidisciplinary work and impact. A 25-year veteran in the affordable housing industry, Benson’s depth of experience is underscored by her contribution to the development and executive operations of Abode Communities’ housing portfolio, which includes nearly $700 million of economic investment throughout California.
Benson is particularly versed in advancing affordable and supportive housing policy, identifying and addressing organization-wide capital needs, fostering the organization’s strategic vision, and working in collaboration with Abode Communities’ board of directors and staff to maximize the impact of the organization’s work.
She currently serves as Chair, Land Use & Finance Committee for Housing California, is a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council, and is past president of the Southern California Association for Nonprofit Housing. Benson’s expertise in the field has been featured on the Tavis Smiley Show, KNX Broadcasting, and KPCC Public Radio in Los Angeles, and she has been a guest lecturer at both University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from University of California, Los Angeles.
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, treasury 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. He is regularly called upon by organizations such as Enterprise Community Partners and the Southern California Association for Nonprofit Housing to discuss topics such as Low Income Housing Tax Credits and implementing efficient techniques for cross-divisional communications between asset management, housing development and finance departments, amongst more.
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.
Chief People & Adminstration Officer
Jerry Gonzales is executive vice president, chief people and administrative officer responsible for the the deployment of staff and organizational resources to ensure Abode Communities continues to deliver on its mission and work. In this role, he is responsible for the strategic oversight of the organization’s talent and culture, administrative, property management, and resident services divisions.
He transitioned from the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art where he served as a founding team member, shaping core systems including the development of core human capital systems including pay management, equitable compensation and classification guidelines, recruitment protocols and staffing plans emphasizing diversity and accessibility, development of comprehensive health and welfare packages for staff, and performance management protocols.
Gonzales is a Senior Professional in Human Resources fro the Human Resources Certification Institute; a SHRM Senior Certified Professional from the Society of Human Resources; and a Certified Trainer in Managing Workplace Conflict from Eckerd College’s Mediation Training Institute. He is also a member of the National Human Resources Association, Los Angeles Chapter’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Council.
His 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.
Gonzales earned a Master of Science in Human Resources from Southern New Hampshire University and a Bachelor of Arts from University of California, Los Angeles.
Senior Vice President, Real Estate Development
Lara Regus is senior vice president of development responsible for the oversight of new 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 manages and trains Abode Communities’ experienced and dedicated development team members. Regus is also instrumental in engagement to increase public awareness and support for affordable housing through education, policy and advocacy endeavors.
In her 15-year tenure with Abode Communities, she has contributed to the development of more than 1,500 multifamily residential units yielding more than $400 million of real estate investment throughout California. She currently lends her expertise to the City of Los Angeles to advance the City’s HHH Innovation Challenge, which aims to streamline critical path predevelopment activities and reduce development costs to deliver modular supportive units faster.
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 regularly serves as a guest lecturer for UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate Development, UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, and SCANPH’s California Affordable Housing Leadership Institute.
She received her masters in urban planning from University of California, Los Angeles and a bachelor degree in economics from Claremont McKenna College.
Senior Vice President, Business Development
Sara Tsay is senior vice president of business development responsible for identifying and securing affordable housing and community development opportunities. This includes managing Abode Communities’ acquisitions; procuring joint-venture partnerships; negotiating purchase and sale agreements; working with consultants to define the development program and architectural design; identifying acquisition and predevelopment financing; and providing executive oversight of the business development team.
Tsay holds more than 12 years of real estate experience and most recently served as strategy and development manager at The Walt Disney Company, and as senior real estate negotiator at Target Corporation. Prior to that, Tsay was lead project manager with Hollywood Community Housing Corporation where she managed real estate development projects from concept and acquisition through lease-up, including affordable housing, mixed-use, and historic rehabilitation/adaptive reuse developments. She also served as a project management associate with Abode Communities where she was responsible for multifamily residential development from financing and construction to transitioning from development to property management.
Tsay earned her masters in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her bachelors in urban studies from Brown University.
Senior Vice President, Property Management
Sarah Furchtenicht is responsible for the executive oversight and management of Abode Communities’ affordable residential portfolio, which includes nearly 45 affordable residential developments and 2,800 homes that serve more than 7,800 people throughout California.
Furchtenicht has more than 25 years of experience, including service as Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for Affordable Housing Management Association-Pacific Southwest and as Executive Member of National Affordable Housing Management Association. She received congressional recognition for dedication to serving and working in affordable housing for seniors by Congressman Ted Lieu’s office, District 33.
She is a 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.
Senior Vice President, Resident Services
Roshe Malakuti is vice president of resident services responsible for the oversight and implementation of Abode Communities’ resident services program, Beyond Homes. Malakuti strategically responds to the communities where Abode Communities operates by developing impactful social programs to help residents remain stable in their homes and ultimately, achieve self-sufficiency.
She is responsible for managing service provider partners for special needs populations; 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 and directed three separate programs for Beyond Shelter, including Housing First, Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing 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 is a member of the Los Angeles Coalition to End Youth Homelessness and the Los Angeles Continuum of Care Coordinating Council. Malakuti received her masters in clinical psychology from Antioch University and a bachelor in philosophy from University of Southern California.
Raeven Flores, AIA
Acting Principal, Architecture Studio
Raeven Flores is acting principal responsible for the planning and design leadership of Abode Communities | Architecture Studio. In this role, she serves as the 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 belonging within communities.
She brings more than 28 years of experience to the design team. Her goal is to produce architecture that is practical and meaningful, vivid and experiential, expressive and connected. Her in-depth knowledge and expertise in all phases of design creatively aids clients, municipalities, and community stakeholders in achieving project goals through cost-efficient, high-quality architectural design.
Flores is a licensed architect, State of California C-32188, and is an active member of American Institute of Architects, Southern California Association for Nonprofit Housing, and Community Clinic Association of LA County. She received a Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University and an Associate of Art from Pasadena City College.