James’ work at NHLP focuses on the preservation of privately-owned federally subsidized housing developments and he is considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on the subject. He has participated in many significant cases that have established or further defined preservation laws and rights of tenants in threatened properties and regularly provides assistance to legislators, housing attorneys, advocates and organizations. He is also an expert on low income housing tax credits and utility and energy issues.
James has co-authored the following publications on tenants’ rights in affordable housing: NHLP’s HUD Housing Programs: Tenants’ Rights, Public Housing in Peril, FmHA Housing Programs: Tenants’ and Purchasers’ Rights, the Subsidized Housing Handbook: How to Provide, Preserve and Manage Housing for Lower-Income People, and for the ACLU Handbook series, The Rights of Tenants.
Outside of his experience with NHLP, James was a lecturer at Boalt Hall School of Law at University of California in Berkeley and has served as Assistant Attorney for the City of Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization Board.
Shamus Roller has been the Executive Director of NHLP since November of 2016. Before joining NHLP Shamus served as the Executive Director of Housing California, a statewide advocacy organization working on issues of housing and homelessness. During his time at Housing California the organization’s advocacy led to over five billion dollars in new funding for affordable development and a host of new programs and policies. He helped start the Residents United Network, which organizes residents in affordable developments. Previous to that he was the Executive Director of the Sacramento Housing Alliance, a regional housing and homelessness advocacy organization. He started his career running street outreach programs for people that are homeless and ran a meditation and yoga program for incarcerated youth. He serves on the boards of the California Association of Nonprofits and Brilliant Corners.
Karlo focuses on housing issues impacting survivors of domestic and sexual violence, immigrants, and other fair housing and civil rights matters. She joined NHLP as the organization’s first David B. Bryson Fellow in 2011 and served as the lead editor and managing attorney of the 4th edition of NHLP’s seminal publication, HUD Housing Programs: Tenants’ Rights. Before joining NHLP, Karlo was the George N. Lindsay Fellow and an associate counsel at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C., and clerked for Magistrate Judge Adriana Arce-Flores at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Laredo. Karlo received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.
Deborah Thrope joined NHLP as a staff attorney in June 2013. Deborah’s work focuses on policy advocacy to preserve federally subsidized housing and tenants’ rights in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher and Public Housing programs. Deborah also collaborates with state and national policy leaders to develop strategies to expand housing opportunities for people who have come in contact with the criminal justice system. She provides training and technical assistance to advocates working with tenants and served as Editor of the 2014 and 2016 Supplements to NHLP’s seminal publication, HUD Housing Programs: Tenants Rights. Before she joined NHLP, Deborah was a legal services attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and represented clients with disabilities facing eviction and civil commitment.
Gideon has worked for NHLP for nearly 40 years. He was NHLP’s Executive Director from 1997 to 2008 and is currently on staff as a part-time senior staff attorney. Gideon’s area of expertise is the housing programs of the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service (RHS). He leads NHLP’s efforts related to rural affordable housing and provides legal and technical assistance on the preservation of rural rental housing and the housing rights of tenants and homeowners in the Rural Housing Services and Rural Development programs. Gideon has authored NHLP’s RD/RHS Homeowner’s Programs: Owners’ and Purchasers’ Rights and co-authored FmHA Housing Programs: Tenants’ and Purchasers’ Rights.
In addition to his experience with NHLP, Gideon was a Senior Project Manager for the Ecumenical Association for Housing. He currently serves on the Board of the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) and St. Mary’s Elderly Housing.
Renee Williams is a Staff Attorney at the National Housing Law Project (NHLP). Renee joined NHLP as a postgraduate public interest law fellow in 2012. Renee focuses on fair housing and equal access issues, including national origin discrimination, housing access for persons with limited English proficiency, housing rights for domestic violence survivors, and the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. Renee also leads our initiative focusing on the impact of nuisance and crime-free ordinances on domestic violence survivors and others who need emergency assistance. During law school, Renee worked as a summer associate at Relman, Dane & Colfax in Washington, D.C., and as a summer law clerk at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Birmingham, Alabama. Before law school, she worked as a paralegal in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She graduated from Emory University and earned her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.
Jessie is a Staff Attorney in NHLP’s Washington, D.C. office. Her work focuses on saving existing affordable housing in urban and rural communities and protecting low-income tenants’ rights. She provides training, technical assistance, policy advocacy, and litigation assistance regarding challenges facing tenants in HUD housing programs, the implementation and enforcement of tenants’ rights under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, and the long-term affordability of housing subsidized by HUD and the USDA. Jessie first joined NHLP in 2015 as a Ralph Abascal Fellow sponsored by the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Prior to working at NHLP, Jessie clerked at NHLP and the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. Before law school, Jessie was a City Hall Fellow at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Jessie studied political science at Santa Clara University and received her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly.
Bridgett A. Simmons
Bridgett A. Simmons is the David B. Bryson Fellow. As the Bryson Fellow, Bridgett will be the managing editor of HUD Housing Programs: Tenant’s Rights, 5th edition, also known as the “Green Book.” Bridgett will also work on projects focusing on local nuisance ordinances, subsidize housing smoking bans, housing opportunities for those reentering communities, and affordable housing preservation. Bridgett is a 2017 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center (GULC) and a 2011 graduate of Florida A&M University (FAMU). At GULC, Bridgett participated in the Harrison Institute’s Affordable Housing Transactions clinic. As a student attorney, Bridgett assisted District residents in operating a multi-family housing property purchased via the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act. Bridgett also served as a student teacher in the Street Law: High School clinic and as a Clerk for Community Law Center (CLC) in Baltimore, Maryland. While at CLC, Bridgett’s work focused on vacant, nuisance housing and organizational development. As a student at FAMU, Bridgett actively participated in campaigns aimed at increasing student political participation.
Kara leads NHLP’s California-based initiatives, including providing extensive support to CA attorneys in the areas of eviction defense, Low Income Housing Tax Credits and preservation. Prior to joining NHLP, Kara was a Senior Attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley’s Mental Health Advocacy Project representing low-income tenants in a wide variety of landlord/tenant disputes, affirmative litigation, and civil commitment hearings. Kara started her legal career at California Rural Legal Assistance Inc., where she focused on improving public infrastructure, fair representation, and promoting environmental justice in disadvantaged unincorporated communities.
Michaeljit is a graduate student, pursuing a PhD in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a JD at Harvard Law School. Prior to his work at NHLP, Michaeljit volunteered and worked for five years for affordable housing organizations in Chicago, including the Chicago Housing Initiative, where he was involved in local and national efforts to reform the Moving to Work demonstration program. He has also conducted research on mixed-income housing, rent policies, and reduced federal funding of housing programs.
Lisa Sitkin provides technical assistance, training, and practice resources to attorneys representing homeowners in connection with mortgages and foreclosure. Before joining NHLP, Lisa was Managing Attorney at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates in Oakland, CA. Lisa has counseled and represented individual clients, participated in policy advocacy regarding mortgage servicing and foreclosure, and assisted with mortgage servicing, predatory and unfair lending litigation. She has conducted numerous workshops and trainings regarding mortgages, foreclosures, loan modification and foreclosure rescue scams, including programs produced by the Practicing Law Institute and the National Consumer Law Center, and has testified before the California State Legislature and other governmental bodies regarding mortgage servicing and foreclosure issues. She is one of the original drafters of the bill that ultimately became the California Homeowner Bill of Rights.