Chris moved to Sonoma County in 2013 and fell in love with the beauty, culture, and lively spirit of the community. Endlessly energized by supporting her community, Chris has spent the past decade in the public and nonprofit sectors with a focus in the affordable housing and social services industries.

For the past six years, Chris served with Nation’s Finest, a national veteran housing nonprofit headquartered in the Bay Area. During her time as the Chief Operating Officer, Chris helped lead Nation’s Finest through a period of profound growth, with the agency doubling in size during her tenure. Prior to her time at Nation’s Finest, Chris worked with PEP Housing, a North Bay nonprofit affordable housing developer, provided management consulting services for several nonprofits in the Midwest, assisted students at Golden Gate University School of Law, and served as an active-duty military member of the United States Coast Guard. Chris also serves on the Board of Directors for both Legal Aid of Marin, and Trips for Kids Bay Area.

Chris is dedicated to ensuring the continued sustainability and reputation of COTS, as well as supporting a bright, diverse, and passionate team – a team that will continue to provide extraordinary services to our community for many years.

In her free time, you can find Chris mountain biking, hiking, or otherwise enjoying the natural beauty of Sonoma County.

Cathleen “Cat” Higgins

Chief People Officer

Cat has been in love with housing since she was a wee lass. She grew up spending hours with graph paper, drawing homes until her fingers went numb. She attempted to be an architect, but her math skills did not meet the mark. Not to be one to let a little thing like that stop her passion for housing, she decided to obtain a degree in graphic design and work in administrative roles in new construction marketing departments, supporting real estate sales teams, and eventually landed in property management.

In her property management job, she took on Human Resources and obtained her PHR, SHRM-CP certifications (like CPA exams), launching an entirely different career as an HR Professional working within housing.

Cat wanted to work for COTS in 2018, when her 10-year stint at the property management company was ending due to closure. COTS posted their HR Manager opening the same month her company closed. Kismet. Cat is serious about her duties to ensure each COTS’ employee has a supportive environment to find professional success and make a HUGE difference in the lives of others through housing.

Maureen Vittoria

Chief Operating Officer

Maureen has held leadership positions in both the private and nonprofit sectors, bringing more than two decades of experience in the fields of finance, accounting, HR, program development and management, construction, facilities management, and information technology.

Most recently, Maureen was the COO at Impact Justice, a national justice reform organization, where she provided legal, fiscal and compliance oversight and developed and implemented the infrastructure necessary for organizational health and the development of innovative programs from concept to full implementation.

Maureen also served as CFO for Abode Services, the largest homeless services nonprofit in the Bay Area. She led Finance and HR for four nonprofits under Abode’s umbrella, strengthening the organization’s infrastructure during a period of intense growth.

Maureen started her nonprofit career in 2013 with COTS, as their CFAO. She guided the organization through a transformational period and strengthened the financial and organizational accountability systems.
Prior to her nonprofit work, Maureen was a financial leader with Intel, where she held a variety of positions focused on delivering business and financial results, while maximizing performance, output, and cost. Maureen holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy, and a Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, both from Arizona State University.

Erin Krueger

Director of Development

Erin Krueger developed a passion for helping others as a volunteer throughout her upbringing in Minneapolis. Since then, Erin has been a leader in non-profit development for more than 20 years, from Minnesota to Dallas, New York City, and now leading development at COTS. She loves her role, with responsibilities for fundraising, communications, and volunteer programs.

Married with two children, she enjoys traveling with her family, hiking with their aging pup Clementine, and playing keys in a local rock band.

Sanford Robinson

Director of Grants

Sanford (Sandy) Robinson is the Director of Grants at COTS. For over two decades, Sanford has been involved with operating social service programs specialization, and his work experience includes: program development, management, training and providing technical assistance to community-based organizations and coalitions, and providing administrative oversight.

Additionally, Sanford has designed and implemented numerous programs locally and nationally, specifically those addressing substance use disorder and child welfare. His work has included many years experience in the administration of homeless service providers and housing programs. Staying at the forefront of promoting motivational intervention techniques, he has worked in most facets of the alcohol and drug treatment field, including private practice, medical model, adolescent treatment, and HIV/Aids and prevention.

Sanford has earned his Bachelors degree and is actively pursuing his Masters degree at California State University in Sacramento.

Robin Phoenix

Director of Shelter Services

After dedicating 20 years to the restaurant business, Robin Phoenix made a pivotal decision to take a year off and pursue her passion for volunteer work. It was in 2013, on the National Day of Service, that Robin came across COTS on a list of organizations seeking assistance. Intrigued by COTS’ transitional housing programs, Robin promptly signed up to volunteer with them.  

Upon recognizing her potential, Robin soon became a near daily volunteer with the Transitional Housing Program.  Robin’s dedication did not go unnoticed, and when a position opened in the kitchen staff, her fellow volunteers recommended her for the role. With their support, Robin successfully applied and soon found herself excelling in the kitchen. 

Robin implemented new procedures and established fresh protocols, which greatly improved kitchen operations. Her success in this role led to her promotion to first-floor manager, where she continued to thrive, until new opportunities moved her away from COTS.  

In 2019, Robin was persuaded to return to COTS as the Manager of Shelter Services. She embraced the role wholeheartedly, managing to balance her duties, which included chatting with clients, supporting her housing staff team, and skillfully handling any emergencies that arose. In 2022, she assumed the Director of Shelter Services, where she oversees all shelter programs at MIC including Recuperative Care, KFFS, and People’s Village.   

Outside of her responsibilities at COTS, Robin is an adventurous soul with a passion for gardening. She adores her two dogs, Oliver and Stella Barker, and cherishes moments surrounded by peaceful greenery. As summer approaches, she looks forward to reigniting her hobby of kayaking. 

Garrett Crane

Associate Director of Shelter Services

While pursuing a teaching degree at Sonoma State University, Garrett engaged in a peer mentoring program, nurturing his passion for helping others. Post-graduation, during a challenging job market due to the pandemic, he found a role at SAY (Social Advocates for Youth). Excelling in this position, Garrett quickly rose to become a Housing Program Manager.

In this capacity, Garrett faced the closure of SAY. With urgency, he secured alternative placements for the youth to ensure they were not left without shelter when the Dream Center closed. During this transitional period, Garrett crossed paths with Chris Cabral, COTS’ CEO, and learned about the open Associate Director position. He looks forward to supporting his community while at COTS.
Outside of work, Garrett finds joy in nature, hiking, wildlife photography, and spending time with his family and dog, Sirius.

Raija Freeman

Director of Housing Services

Raija, COTS’ Director of Housing Services, brings 27 years of experience in the social service field, specializing in mental health, homelessness, substance abuse services, and more. Growing up with a mother who was a director of Psychiatric Services at San Francisco General Hospital, Raija witnessed clients at their most vulnerable and was inspired to pursue a career in helping people. She began in the mental health sector, working with clients who had dual and triple diagnoses in residential housing. 

As Raija gained experience, she took on roles as a director in various Bay Area programs. She managed three teams simultaneously: a shelter team, an outreach team, and a housing team. Raija found satisfaction in growing and refining programs while collaborating with a diverse range of individuals. 

Since joining COTS in mid-2023, Raija has dedicated herself to connecting and overseeing housing projects and teams. She ensures that COTS clients receive top-notch support from staff. “If we’re not there to give them our best support, then what are we here for?” she emphasizes. 

Outside of her work, Raija runs a catering business, a passion she indulges in her free time. She takes pride in cooking everything from scratch and enjoys sharing her culinary creations, especially with her 21-year-old son. His fondness for her cooking is evident, as he often expresses concern about being away from home too long and missing her meals. 

Among Raija’s favorite dishes to prepare are her grandmother’s seven-up pound cake, beignets, cioppino, and gumbo.  

Robert Carson

Facilities Manager

Robert Carson, COTS’ Facilities Manager, is known for his dynamic and industrious nature. With a wealth of experience in construction and remodeling, Robert has been an integral part of the COTS team for nearly six years, dedicated to enhancing our community. In his current role, he oversees the maintenance and improvement of COTS equipment, company vehicles, and properties.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Robert finds joy in exploring the landscapes of Peru, capturing stunning photographs along the way. He also shares his life with Bunter, his cherished tortoise, whom he has lovingly cared for over two decades.