Part 2: Thursday, June 18

Impact of COVID-19 on Housing and Economy


Workshop Agenda


  • Dowell Myers, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Population Dynamics Research Group, University of Southern California
1:45 p.m.  2020 CENSUS UPDATE
  • James T. Christy, Assistant Director for Field Operations, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Chris Porter, Chief Demographer, John Burns Real Estate Consulting

Moderator: Sarah Jepson, Director of Planning, Southern California Association of Governments

  • Richard Green, Ph.D., Professor and Director and Chair of the Lusk Center for Real Estate, University of Southern California

  • Steve Levy, Director and Senior Economist, Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy

  • Somjita Mitra, Ph.D., Chief of Economic Research, California Department of Finance

Moderator: Irena Asmundson, Chief Economist, California Department of Finance

3:15 p.m.  BREAK
  • The Show Must Go On: Los Angeles Unified School District Planning and Response During COVID-19
    Mary Prichard, Demographic Research and Planning Analyst II, Los Angeles Unified School District

  • The Art of Utilizing Data and Technology to Quantify The Impacts of COVID-19: SCAG Vulnerability Indicators Dashboard
    Tom Vo, Senior Regional Planner, Southern California Association of Governments

  • Post COVID-19 Economic Development Toolkit
    Larry J. Kosmont, CRE, Chairman and CEO, Kosmont Companies
    Joseph Dieguez, Senior Vice President, Kosmont Companies


Part 2 – Impact of COVID-19 on Housing and Economy​

Roundtable Discussion on LAUSD Planning and Response During COVID-19​

Roundtable Discussion on SCAG Vulnerability Indicators Dashboard​

Roundtable Discussion on Post COVID-19 Economic Development Toolkit

Speaker Bios

Irena Asmundson

Chief Economist, California Department of Finance

Irena AsmundsonIrena Asmundson joined the California Department of Finance as Chief Economist in April 2013. She directs the periodic economic, revenue, and population projections; reviews economic impact analyses of California’s major regulations; and provides advice on economic policy issues for the Governor’s Administration. Prior to joining the department, she was a Senior Economist at the International Monetary Fund where she worked on forecasts for a wide variety of countries, as well as covering global trade, financial, and monetary system issues. She has also served as a Staff Economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and as a Research Assistant for the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

A second-generation California native, Ms. Asmundson received her PhD in Economics from Stanford University, and her bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

James T. Christy

Assistant Director for Field Operations, U.S. Census Bureau

James T. ChristyJames T. Christy is the U.S. Census Bureau’s assistant director for Field Operations. The directorate employs approximately 11,000 people dur ing non- census years conducting surveys and will swell to more than 500,000 during the 2020 Census. Most are home-based interviewers located in every county of the nation, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Previously, Christy served as the director of the Census Bureau’s Los Angeles Regional Office where he oversaw data collection activities in seven states – Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Christy began his career at Census Bureau headquarters in Suitland, MD., as a statistician evaluating education and expenditure data. He has also worked in the Denver and Kansas City regional offices on a var iety of Census Bureau activities. These included working on the 1990 and 2000 Censuses and the supervision of data collection for indicators such as the Consumer Price Index, the Monthly Unemployment Rate and Housing Starts.

He has served as chairman of the Greater Los Angeles Federal Execut ive Board and part icipates in numerous ac tivi ties related to public policy issues in Southern California.

Joseph Dieguez

Senior Vice President, Kosmont Companies

Joseph DieguezJoseph Dieguez is Senior Vice President with Kosmont Companies serving public and private sector clients primarily through market and economic analyses, strategic planning, and real estate development advisory. His recent work includes special/tax increment district implementation (including Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts and Community Revitalization and Investment Authorities), market supply and demand analysis, fiscal impact and economic benefit studies, financial feasibility and development pro forma evaluation, and property reuse strategies for municipalities, real estate investment and development firms, and multiple Fortune 500 clients.

Richard Green, Ph.D.

Professor and Director and Chair of the Lusk Center for Real Estate, University of Southern California

Richard Green, Ph.D.Richard K. Green, Ph.D. holds the Lusk Chair in Real Estate and is Professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Marshall School of Business. He recently finished a year as Senior Advisor for Housing Finance at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and as of July 1, 2016 became a Trustee of the Urban Land Institute.  Prior to joining the USC faculty, Dr. Green spent four years as the Oliver T. Carr, Jr., Chair of Real Estate Finance at The George Washington University School of Business. He was Director of the Center for Washington Area Studies and the Center for Real Estate and Urban Studies at that institution. Dr. Green also taught real estate finance and economics courses for 12 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was Wangard Faculty Scholar and Chair of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics. He also has been principal economist and director of financial strategy and policy analysis at Freddie Mac. More recently, he was a visiting professor of real estate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and he continues to retain an affiliation with Wharton. He is or has been involved with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Conference of Business Economists, the Center for Urban Land Economics Research, and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties. Dr. Green also is a Weimer Fellow at the Homer Hoyt Institute, and a member of the faculty of the Selden Institute for Advanced Studies in Real Estate. He was recently President of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.

Dr. Green earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his A.B. in economics from Harvard University.  His research addresses housing markets, housing policy, tax policy, transportation, mortgage finance and urban growth. He is a member of two academic journal editorial boards, and a reviewer for several others. His work is published in a number of journals including the American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Perspectives,  Journal of Regional Science, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, Land Economics, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Real Estate Economics, Housing Policy Debate, Journal of Housing Economics, and Urban Studies. His book with Stephen Malpezzi, A Primer on U.S. Housing Markets and Housing Policy, is used at universities throughout the country, and he recently published a book, Introduction to Mortgages and Mortgage Backed Securities. His work has been cited or he has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek and the Economist, as well as other outlets. He spoke at the 31st annual Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Economic Symposium, and he has testified before US Senate and House Committees, as well as California Assembly Committees. The National Association of REALTORS, the Ford Foundation, and the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy have funded grants to support some of Dr. Green’s research. He consults for the World Bank.

Sarah Jepson

Director of Planning, Southern California Association of Governments

Sarah JepsonSarah Jepson is Director of Planning at Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the nation’s largest Metropolitan Planning Organization. Her responsibilities include developing and updating the Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, which is a long-range blueprint that identifies projects and strategies to address the region’s transportation challenges and improve system performance. Sarah also oversees the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, Federal Transportation Improvement Program and a comprehensive environmental analysis and compliance program.

Previously Sarah served as Manager of Active Transportation and Special Programs at SCAG, Sustainability Policy Manager for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and she worked on growth management planning for the King County Executive in Seattle, Washington.

Larry J. Kosmont, CRE

Chairman and CEO, Kosmont Companies

Larry J. Kosmont, CRELarry J. Kosmont, CRE is Chairman and CEO of Kosmont Companies, which he founded in 1986. Kosmont Companies is an industry leader in public/private real estate transactions and economic development. In 1990, he founded Kosmont Realty, a real estate brokerage firm. In 2015, in compliance with licensing regulations, he launched Kosmont Transactions Services, Inc. (KTS)  as an SEC/MSRB registered Municipal Financial Advisory firm. KTS sources financing for public agencies, public/private projects, P3 initiatives, and infrastructure funding. He is a co-principal of California Golden Fund, a USCIS approved EB-5 Regional Center.

Mr. Kosmont’s 40-year career encompasses public/private financial structuring, negotiation, development, and management of real estate and public finance transactions exceeding $12B. He has assisted hundreds of local government agencies in public finance and real estate matters ranging from large-scale economic development programs to site-specific real estate strategies and projects. He has guided over 1,000 private sector projects in obtaining public approvals, structuring deal terms, and securing public/private financing. He currently serves as a Board Advisor to the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED) and as a Board member for BizFED.

Steve Levy

Director and Senior Economist, Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy

Steve LevyStephen Levy is Director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. He works with large public agencies in California to develop long-term economic and demographic forecasts and explore their policy implications. Steve has worked with SCAG for more than 40 years. He serves on the board of the state and NOVA workforce boards, the Bay Area Economic Institute and Palo Alto Forward.

Somjita Mitra, Ph.D.

Chief of Economic Research, California Department of Finance

Somjita Mitra, Ph.D.Somjita Mitra, Ph.D. is the Chief of Economic Research at the California Department of Finance.  The Economic Research Unit prepares economic forecasts and analyses of various economic developments, advises state departments and local government agencies, provides economic information to the general public and oversees the regulatory review process.

Prior to joining the Department of Finance in November 2019,  she was the Director of the Institute for Applied Economics at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.  She joined the Institute for Applied Economics as an Economist in June 2013.  She was involved in the planning, designing and conducting of research and analysis for consulting clients and local businesses and government. Her was on regional analysis, economic impact studies and the industrial and occupational structure of local economies.

Before joining the LAEDC, Dr. Mitra was an Economist for a local economic research and litigation consulting company evaluating economic damages, estimating lost profits, identifying key economic issues and developing necessary analytical and empirical frameworks.  Prior to this, Dr. Mitra was a Project Director for a consumer research firm in Los Angeles where she managed projects that identified and analyzed key market issues for small, local firms as well as multinational corporations.

Dr. Mitra received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles and her Master of Arts in Politics, Economics and Business as well as her Ph.D. in Economics from Claremont Graduate University.   Dr. Mitra enjoys volunteering in the local community and is actively involved in both women’s welfare, mentoring first generation college students and animal rescue organizations.

Dowell Myers, Ph.D.

Professor and Director, Population Dynamics Research Group, University of Southern California

Dowell Myers, Ph.D.Dowell Myers is a professor of policy, planning, and demography in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at USC. He directs the Population Dynamics Research Group and is a leading expert on California’s changing demographics that lead the nation’s. Dr. Myers has specialized in the demographics of housing demand and needs, with recent studies of “Peak Millennials” and future homeownership. He is also expert in trends of both immigration and children, the two groups who will form our future workforce that will replace retiring baby boomers. Dr. Myers holds his PhD from MIT, a Master of City Planning from UC-Berkeley, and a BA in anthropology from Columbia University. Many of his publications are available at

Chris Porter

Chief Demographer, John Burns Real Estate Consulting

Chris PorterChris Porter is a Senior Vice President and Chief Demographer at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a national consulting firm that provides independent research and consulting services related to the US housing industry. Chris is part of a highly passionate team of research analysts and consultants in offices across the country who work together to provide the most trusted source of US housing analysis. In his role as Chief Demographer, Chris helps the firm’s clients understand the role demographics play in shaping the demand for for-sale and for-rent housing in both the short and long term.

Mary Prichard

Demographic Research and Planning Analyst II, Los Angeles Unified School District

Mary PrichardMs. Prichard currently serves as a Demographic Research and Planning Analyst II for the Master Planning and Demographics Unit of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The Unit’s function is to support the LAUSD’s mission through production of short and long range enrollment forecasts, management of the District’s annual school-by-school enrollment planning process (ECAST), management of the District’s annual facilities capacity (supply) and enrollment (demand) process (ECAR), applied K-12 demographic analyses, attendance boundary management, and production of official District mapping.

Ms. Prichard is involved in multiple aspects of the Unit’s operations including strategic planning, project development and management, data-driven analyses, data management, and quality control. She has extensive experience with enrollment forecasting, capacity planning, analytic techniques, database development and management, confidential data management protocols, process documentation, and working in a GIS environment.

Ms. Prichard served for a number of years in adjunct faculty positions for community colleges as well for CSULA. She served as President of the Los Angeles Geographical Society (LAGS) and as a Career Mentor for the Association of American Geographers (AAG).

Her research has been presented at professional conferences, including the Association of American Geographers and Population Association of America annual conferences.

She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Geography from Cal State Los Angeles.

Tom Vo

Senior Regional Planner, Southern California Association of Governments

Tom VoTom Vo is a Senior Regional Planner at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). Tom works in the Research and Analysis Department where he applies his research, spatial, analytical skills on diverse topics related to transportation and land use planning to promote sustainability as well as equity for the southern Californians; to name a few, these topics are job accessibility, open space accessibility, vehicle-mile-traveled/time travel reductions, urban runoff pollutant, affordable housing, public transportation accessibility, General Plan update, and the current COVID-19 pandemic.