Oakland, CA – Oakland City Administrator Ed Reiskin today announced the appointment of Mr. Daniel A. Cooper, MPH as the City’s new Homelessness Administrator. Mr. Cooper brings more than 10 years’ experience as a public health professional, along with his extensive background in addressing social determinants of health though housing, homelessness, and policy.
“Daniel is a welcome addition to Oakland’s team. The breadth and depth of his leadership experience managing homelessness programs and interventions, background in public policy, and seasoned public health expertise in addressing systemic inequities will advance our work in tackling the single largest crisis facing Oakland today,” said City Administrator Ed Reiskin.
“As we welcome Daniel, I want to publicly acknowledge my deep gratitude to Assistant City Administrator LaTonda Simmons, who has been serving as Acting Homelessness Administrator for the past year. In addition to her other executive leadership duties, LaTonda has worked tirelessly to mitigate the suffering of the unhoused on our streets. During her tenure, she guided the City’s Encampment Management Team to address public health and safety conditions with completion of more than 180 operations over the past year. She has shown deep personal commitment and extraordinary effectiveness in mobilizing this important work.”
Ms. Simmons is pleased to pass the baton to Mr. Cooper. “Addressing the humanitarian crisis of unsheltered homelessness on our streets ultimately requires an adequate supply of affordable, clean, and safe housing, which is currently insufficient to meet our community’s needs,” she said. “Within that present reality, the role of the Homelessness Administrator is to focus on mitigating poor health and safety conditions on our streets and supporting our unsheltered residents with opportunities to move into shelter and housing while retaining their dignity and personal agency. The job requires savvy leadership, expertise in addressing racial disparities in homelessness, nimble and innovative problem-solving skills, and a lot of heart. Mr. Cooper brings those qualities and more to his new role. We are excited to leverage his expertise and passion as we evolve the City’s response to homelessness.”
As Homelessness Administrator, Mr. Cooper will serve as liaison to both internal City staff and external agencies, lead the City’s Encampment Management Response teams, support broad policy development, coordinate homeless interventions across relevant City departments, and facilitate transition of the City’s unsheltered population into homeless shelter and housing programs. A key focus of this work is to address the disproportionately Black, Indigenous, People of Color homeless population by analyzing and removing barriers to equitable service delivery to those residents.
"Oakland is a beautiful city with a rich cultural history and vibrant community. From a public health perspective, we know that where we live determines how long we live. The magnitude of the homelessness crisis in Oakland drew me here, inspired by the opportunity to make a positive impact and advance such important work,” said Mr. Cooper.
Mr. Cooper comes to Oakland from Charlotte, North Carolina, where he served as Division Director for Mecklenburg County Government. In this role, Cooper served as the Division’s liaison both internally and externally, leading a multidisciplinary team of approximately 31 staff. His responsibilities included: performing strategic planning; ensuring federal, state, and local policy compliance; providing oversight and direction for the implementation of programs and services; representing the Division Countywide and to elected officials; and taking on legislative initiatives. In addition, Cooper was responsible for ensuring the success of a 300+ unit Shelter Plus Care Program, a 120-bed permanent supportive housing complex, a 90+ unit scattered site housing model, and expanding the Coordinated Entry System for accessing homeless services. He also served as a project evaluator for the distribution of $212 million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for countywide housing and homeless-related projects.
In a previous role, Mr. Cooper worked for the Maryland Department of Health where he was directly responsible for developing Maryland’s Overdose Fatality Review (OFR) Program and providing technical assistance to 23 jurisdictions statewide conducting fatal and nonfatal overdose review.
Mr. Cooper also served as Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Upstate Continuum of Care (CoC) in Greenville, South Carolina where he was responsible for improving the homeless response system over a 6,100 square mile region while leading a coalition of 80+ community partners. As Director, Cooper developed and submitted the first system-wide gap analysis of homeless services in the region and drafted the first Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP) submitted in the region to HUD in 2019.
Mr. Cooper began his career at College of Central Florida where he helped recruit, retain, and graduate, over 28,000 low-income, first-generation college students. Later on, he assisted in developing the first Community Health Worker (CHW) program in Florida in collaboration with Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) to improve health outcomes across South Florida.
Mr. Cooper earned a Master of Public Health from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts in Health Services Administration from Florida Atlantic University. He is both a Florida Bright Futures Scholar and TRIO Program Scholar.
He enjoys hiking, traveling, and a strong cup of coffee. Mr. Cooper has begun his transition to Oakland, and he will relocate permanently in April.