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Subsidized Housing Basics 2016


Speaker(s): Deborah Thrope, Jessica Cassella, Kent Qian, Stephen Knight
Recorded on: Sep. 27, 2016
PLI Program #: 183040

Kent Qian is an attorney in the Redevelopment, Real Estate & Rent Unit in the Advisory Division of the Oakland City Attorney's Office.

Mr. Qian previously worked as a staff attorney for the National Housing Law Project in San Francisco, where he litigated cases in state and federal courts to protect the rights of low-income tenants and homeowners and advised state and federal policymakers regarding the creation of new foreclosure protections.

Mr. Qian graduated from the University of Chicago Law School. He has a Master’s degree in physics from Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

He is a commissioner on the San Francisco Rent Board and is a member of the State Bar’s Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services.


Jessie is a Staff Attorney at the National Housing Law Project (NHLP). She joined NHLP as a Ralph S. Abascal Fellow in September 2015. Her work focuses on the preservation of federally subsidized affordable housing nationally, including protecting tenants’ rights under the conversion of public housing to project-based Section 8 via the Rental Assistance Demonstration. Prior to receiving the Abascal Fellowship, she clerked at the San Francisco City Attorney's Office and the National Housing Law Project, and was a City Hall Fellow at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Jessie received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly. She received a B.S. in political science from Santa Clara University, where she was named valedictorian of her graduating class.

The Abascal Fellowship was endowed following the death of Ralph Santiago Abascal, a longtime UC Hastings professor who devoted his inspirational legal career to public interest law and representing low-income clients.


Deborah Thrope is a Supervising Attorney at the National Housing Law Project. 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 address the housing needs of people exiting the criminal justice system. She provides training and technical assistance to advocates working with tenants and served as an Advisor and Editor of the 2014, 2016, and 2018 versions of 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.


Stephen joined NHLP as Supervising Attorney in 2014. He brings two decades of social justice, legal and policy advocacy experience. Stephen was founding Coordinating Attorney with the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law, where he provided technical assistance to attorneys, engaged in federal appellate litigation and supervised clinical students. As Political Director with Save the Bay, Stephen played a key role in the creation of the SF Bay Restoration Authority and led the fight against Cargill's controversial Bay Area salt pond development. A native San Franciscan, Stephen is a graduate of Yale University and U.C. Hastings College of the Law.