Jon Dena

Job title: 
Class of 2023
2023 John Gardner Fellowship

Jonathan (Jon) Dena would like to help disadvantaged individuals learn the financial skills to secure stable housing.  Jon’s devotion to affordable housing comes from personal experience.  As a child, he often lived in crowded conditions, often with multiple families in a single house.  The other experience that shaped Jon’s public service was becoming homeless as a teenager, which led ultimately  to a nine-year prison sentence starting at the age of 16. Since then, Jon has tried to rebuild his life. As soon as he was released from prison, he enrolled at Cosumnes River College, where he studied urban planning with a focus on how to help disadvantaged households. He also started working with youth development organizations in the Sacramento area.   

At UC Berkeley, Jon has continued his work on affordable housing both in the classroom by majoring in urban planning and outside the classroom.  As the Housing Commissioner for the Academic Senate, he partnered with various campus organizations to address student housing needs, provide rental assistance, and bring awareness to tenant rights.  He also co-founded Cre8 Innovations, a non-profit organization that provides resources on affordable housing and financial literacy. He is working toward securing Cre8 Innovations’  first multi-unit property that will house their most at-risk participants and serve as a resource center for students. In addition, Jonathan was also a two-year intern for Alameda County’s Housing and Community Development Agency where he worked on the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) plan for the Bay Area.  

Research interests: 

Major(s): Urban Studies - City and Regional Planning