The day-to-day operation of the Santa Clara County Housing Authority (SCCHA) is carried out by our dedicated employees working under the guidance of department directors and led by the executive director.
Executive Director: Katherine Harasz
Deputy Executive Director: Sharon Jones
Chief Financial Officer & Director of Finance: Bakulesh Patel
Director of Housing: Aleli Sangalang
Director of Administrative Services: Russell Brunson
Katherine Harasz, Executive Director
Katherine Harasz joined SCCHA in 2012. As Executive Director, she runs one of the largest public housing authorities in the nation. She brings to this position more than 25 years of administrative and legal expertise at the city, county, state and federal levels in all aspects of real estate acquisition, development and construction of public and public-private projects; finance; environmental quality; public records; and labor and employment law.
Executive Director Harasz previously served as SCCHA’s Interim Executive Director and as Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel. Prior to joining SCCHA, she was Deputy County Counsel at the County of Santa Clara where she worked closely with several county departments, advisory boards, the Board of Supervisors and other public agencies including SCCHA, which Congress recognized and designated a Moving to Work agency in 2008. She also was Associate Counsel with the City of San José Redevelopment Agency, where her practice focused on public-private partnerships, construction, real estate and development.
Executive Director Harasz serves on the boards of the National Leased Housing Association, NOVA Workforce Development, Destination: Home and the Continuum of Care Program for Santa Clara County. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida.
As Deputy Executive Director, Sharon Jones works with the Executive Director in planning, directing and managing all SCCHA activities. She brings to her role more than 20 years of experience in public-private partnerships; municipal planning; public works; real property acquisition and management; capital project management; and budget development and oversight.
Deputy Executive Director Jones joined SCCHA’s leadership team in 2016. She was previously Facilities and Real Property Manager for the City of Fremont, where she negotiated the sale of excess city property to housing developers and aided in the development of affordable housing and a new senior community center. Prior to that she was Acting and Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of East Palo Alto, where she oversaw the proposal process, development review and funding decisions for affordable housing projects and managed a team responsible for providing essential city services to residents. Deputy Executive Director Jones also spent 14 years as a project manager with the San José Redevelopment Agency, where she was involved in several housing projects while working closely with public and private stakeholders on the shared vision of enhancing downtown San José and the surrounding neighborhoods, eliminating blight and improving the city’s economic base.
Deputy Executive Director Jones is a member of the Municipal Management Association of Northern California and the International City/County Management Association. She holds a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandeis University.
Baku Patel joined SCCHA in 2003. As Chief Financial Officer and Director of Finance, Director Patel leads, manages and coordinates the financial activities of SCCHA and its affiliated nonprofit corporations and limited partnerships.
Director Patel brings more than 30 years of finance and accounting experience to his position. A practicing Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for more than 25 years, he provided financial, accounting, tax, and auditing services to cities, counties, special districts, housing authorities (including MTW-designated agencies), joint powers authorities, nonprofit agencies and private foundations as well as publicly traded companies in the United Kingdom. Since joining SCCHA, Director Patel established and implemented the financial strategies necessary to transfer ownership of ten public housing properties to low-income housing tax credit properties. This not only provided funds for much needed property rehabilitation but also created SCCHA’s business model and finance structure for property management and sustainable property portfolio maintenance.
Prior to joining SCCHA, Director Patel was Director of Finance at the Housing Authority of the County of Contra Costa. As both a licensed CPA and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), he has worked as a CPA in California and the United Kingdom. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and earned his Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant qualification following his education in the United Kingdom.
As Director of Housing, Aleli Sangalang is responsible for the administration and compliance of the Section 8 program, the Moving to Work Plan and Asset Management and Development for SCCHA. Previously Assistant Director of Housing Programs at SCCHA, she brings more than 33 years of experience in low-cost and affordable housing programs and policy experience to her position. She joined SCCHA in 1996 as a housing programs specialist and has held various other positions including analyst, supervisor and manager.
Prior to SCCHA, Director Sangalang was Manager of the Joint Venture Projects Department at the National Housing Authority, a Philippine government corporation providing low-cost and affordable housing to low and middle-income families. In addition, she is a licensed California real estate agent. Director Sangalang earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Lyceum of the Philippines University in Manila and a Master of Management in Public Administration from the University of Phoenix. Very active in the community, she serves on the board of Harvest International Christian Church where she is a minister.
Russell Brunson brings more than 20 years of experience in managing both nonprofit and public sector operations, fund development, information technology (IT), human resources and mediation services to the executive team. In his role as Director of Administrative Services, he oversees the agency’s human resources, labor relations, information technology, procurement, operations, facilities and customer services functions.
Prior to joining SCCHA in 2018, Director Brunson was Administrative Services Director for the City of Half Moon Bay, where he streamlined the city’s recruiting and staffing practices, led labor negotiations, and managed emergency services including disaster recovery for full IT operations. Prior to that he was Human Resources Manager and Interim Rent Stabilization Administrator for the City of East Palo Alto, where he coordinated the appeals process for landlords and tenants seeking relief from the program’s hearing officer and rent stabilization board. An expert on mediation practices, Director Brunson also held operations, finance and deputy director positions with the nonprofit Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center in San Mateo.
Director Brunson serves as a member of the Next Generation Committee. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia College at Columbia University. Director Brunson is a member of the California, New Jersey and New York Bar Associations.