Shamus Roller HJN

Shamus Roller

Executive Director | 415-432-5706

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.

Deborah Thrope

Deputy Director | 415-432-5724

Deborah Thrope is the Deputy Director of the National Housing Law Project (NHLP). Deborah’s work focuses on federal, state, and local policy advocacy to preserve affordable housing and tenants’ rights. She provides training and technical assistance to advocates working with low-income tenants and serves as an advisor and editor of NHLP’s seminal publication, HUD Housing Programs: Tenants Rights. Deborah has testified before Congress about increasing economic mobility in the Housing Choice Voucher program and improving living conditions for public housing residents. Before she joined NHLP, Deborah was a Senior Attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and represented clients with disabilities facing eviction and civil commitment.

Gideon Anders

Gideon Anders

Senior Staff Attorney | 415-432-5703

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.

Mariel Block

Staff Attorney | (415) 432-5725

Mariel Block is a Staff Attorney with the National Housing Law Project, where she advocates for the preservation of federally subsidized housing developments and the housing rights of survivors of domestic violence. Prior to joining NHLP, Mariel was a Hearing Examiner with the City of Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization Board, where she conducted Rent Board and Berkeley Housing Authority administrative hearings. Prior to working with the Rent Board, Mariel represented low-income tenants for six years as a housing legal services attorney, practicing in both LSC and non-LSC legal services agencies in Northern California. She is a 2017 alum of the Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Training Institute.

Eric Dunn

Director of Litigation | 415-432-5702

Eric Dunn is a national expert on tenants’ rights and consumer law issues, known for high-impact advocacy on matters affecting subsidized housing tenants and families struggling to access housing because of criminal and eviction records. Prior to NHLP, Eric was an attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, the Northwest Justice Project in Seattle, and the Legal Aid & Defender Association of Detroit.

Some of Eric’s most significant subsidized housing cases include Hendrix v. Seattle Housing Authority and Shepherd v. Weldon Mediation Services, Inc., which both lead to significant improvements in the administrative hearing protections for families facing termination from federally subsidized housing. Another case, Resident Action Council v. Seattle Housing Authority, vindicated the free speech rights of public housing tenants, protecting their right to post signs on their doors and windows. Downtowner Tenants Association v. Seelig stopped the owner of a HUD-subsidized building from raising rents or displacing tenants after the Rent Supplement contract expired, forcing a sale to a new owner who maintained the building as affordable housing.

On rental housing access, Eric’s most important victories include Simmons v. T.M. Associates Management, Inc., which found that a landlord may have a duty to overlook a rental applicant’s disability-related criminal conviction as a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act, and Arroyo v. Corelogic Rental Property Solutions, LLC, which established that consumer reporting agencies are subject to the Fair Housing Act when they engage in tenant-screening activities. In Handlin v. On-Site Manager, Inc., the court upheld a rental applicant’s right to obtain a full and complete disclosure of a tenant-screening report that a landlord obtained about the applicant. Indigo Real Estate Services v. Rousey established a right for a domestic violence survivor to have an eviction case record sealed to protect her future housing opportunities. Eric also was a lead counsel in Smith v. Wasatch Property Management, Inc., which challenged a landlord’s policy of categorically denying admission to applicants with eviction records, by alleging an unlawful discriminatory effect on African-American women. Smith, which settled in 2017, is believed to be the first fair housing case ever filed based on the discriminatory impact of eviction records.

James Grow

Senior Staff Attorney | 415-432-5704

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.

Natalie Maxwell

Senior Attorney | 415-546-7000 x.3117

Natalie N. Maxwell is a Senior Staff Attorney at NHLP. Natalie’s work focuses on disaster housing, fair housing, and rural housing. Prior to joining NHLP, Natalie spent 14 years in the Florida legal aid delivery system advocating for housing rights of low-income tenants, vulnerable populations and communities of color. She worked at both Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and non-LSC programs, where she engaged in direct representation, community lawyering, impact litigation, and policy advocacy at the local and state levels. She began her legal career as a 2005 Equal Justice Works Fellow, developing and engaging in legal strategies to increase access to accessible and affordable housing for low-income Floridians with disabilities. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and earned her law degree from the American University, Washington College of Law.

Noëlle Porter

Director of Government Affairs | 202-347-4703

Noëlle Porter is responsible for managing relationships with Congress and the Administration, organizational policy priority development, and strategic advocacy planning and execution. She works closely with all of NHLP’s attorneys to monitor and influence federal legislation and regulations.

Prior to joining NHLP, Noëlle managed congressional relations for the National Alliance to End Homelessness after beginning her career in health policy. While earning her Master of Public Health from the University of South Florida, Noëlle worked as a case manager for a homeless services provider in Tampa.

Marcos Segura

Staff Attorney | 415-546-7000 ext. 3128

Marcos Segura focuses on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, USDA’s Rural Development program, and NHLP’s California policy work. Before joining NHLP, Marcos was a staff attorney with Central California Legal Services where he represented individuals facing eviction and represented others in both state and federal court on real estate fraud, predatory debt collection, and habitability issues. Before joining CCLS, Marcos served as a UCLA Community Economic Development Fellow at the Public Counsel Law Center where he advised nonprofit organizations and small business owners on tax and corporate governance issues.

Bridgett Simmons Headshot

Bridgett A. Simmons

Staff Attorney | 415-546-7000 ext. 3109

Bridgett A. Simmons’s work focuses on the preservation of HUD-subsidized multifamily housing, healthy housing, and voucher use. Bridgett joined NHLP in September 2017 as the second David B. Bryson Fellow. As the Bryson Fellow, Bridgett managed the editing process for the 5th edition of HUD Housing Programs: Tenants’ Rights, also known as the “Green Book.”

Bridgett is a 2017 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center (GULC) and a 2011 graduate of Florida A&M University (FAMU). While at GULC, Bridgett participated in the Harrison Institute’s Affordable Housing Transactions clinic, assisting 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 Law Clerk for Community Law Center (CLC) in Baltimore, Maryland. As a student at FAMU, Bridgett actively participated in campaigns aimed at increasing student political participation.

Lisa Sitkin

Senior Staff Attorney | 415-432-5707

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.

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Tanaya Srini

Research Manager | 415-546-7000, Ext. 3127

Tanaya Srini provides research for litigation and technical assistance related to eviction defense, fair housing claims, and public housing policies. Prior to joining NHLP, Tanaya spent three years as a researcher at the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing program studying affordable and public housing, disaster recovery, and inclusive economic development policies in communities across the country. She has a masters degree from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, where she spent two years researching nuisance and crime-free programs as part of an expert witness team for federal fair housing cases.

Deidre Swesnik

Director of Communications | 202-919-9106

Deidre Swesnik is responsible for managing communications efforts for NHLP. Deidre joined NHLP in 2019. Before joining, she worked for 20 years in the areas of housing and community development. She was a program officer at the Open Society Foundations where she managed the housing and community equity portfolios for the United States. Prior to that, she was the director of public policy and communications for the National Fair Housing Alliance and a policy associate at Rapoza Associates, where she managed the National Rural Housing Coalition and other coalitions and clients.

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Kate Walz

Kate Walz

Senior Staff Attorney | 415-546-7000 ext. 3129

Kate Walz is a Senior Staff Attorney at NHLP.  She is a national expert on federally assisted housing preservation, fair housing, crime-free and nuisance property ordinances, the Violence Against Women Act, and the intersection of the criminal legal system and housing access. Prior to joining NHLP, Kate was at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law for almost 20 years, leading the Center’s advocacy and litigation efforts, including its housing advocacy.

Kate has significant housing policy experience, including working on legislation related to eviction reform, housing protections for immigrants, survivors of violence and persons with criminal records, public housing preservation, the preemption of crime-free and nuisance property ordinances, affordable housing preservation, and the 2013 and 2020 re-authorizations of the Violence Against Women Act. Kate has also served as counsel in several high-impact litigation cases and HUD fair housing complaints, including Davis v. City of Joliet and Joliet v. Mid-City Nat’l Bank, CAFHA v. City of Chicago, Hayes v. Aurora Housing Authority, Jones v. HUD, Blakemore v. Housing Authority of Cook County, Jenkins v. HUD, HOPE Fair Housing v. City of Peoria, Calumet Lives Matter v. East Chicago Housing Authority, and Cook County v. Wolf.

Francis Antonio

Business Operations and Technology Manager | 415-432-5708