Skip to main content

Subsidized Housing 2.0 - Advanced Topics in Subsidized Housing 2021

Speaker(s): Bridgett Simmons, Deborah Thrope, Kate Walz, Marcos Segura, Mariel Block, Michael Kane, Regina Mays, Sharon Sherman
Recorded on: Nov. 10, 2021
PLI Program #: 336642

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 A. SIMMONS work focuses on the preservation of HUD-subsidized multifamily housing, healthy housing, and voucher use. Bridgett joined National Housing Law Project (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.

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.

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.

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.

Michael Kane has been an organizer and activist in the Boston area since 1972.  Since 1983, as the founder and Director of the tenant-run Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, Michael has helped tenants preserve 12,600 at-risk apartments as permanently affordable housing, one building at a time, through tenant organizing, including 1,377 in eight resident-owned developments in Boston.  He has directly organized more than 100 tenant associations that meet HUD standards of democratic tenant unions in Massachusetts over the years.

Since 1992, Kane helped found and has since served as the Executive Director of the tenant-run National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT), the only national tenants’ union in the US.  Kane has helped NAHT organize more than 45 national training conferences for HUD tenant leaders and organizers.  He has spearheaded NAHT’s successful campaigns to fight federal budget cuts, preserve at-risk housing, expand the Right to Organize and win resources for tenant organizing.  Kane has organized NAHT’s biweekly Network calls for tenants and organizers nationwide since 1995 and has provided advice and support to countless tenants in privately-owned, HUD assisted housing.  He is also known for his wide-ranging knowledge and expertise in HUD housing policy, especially as it affects tenants. 

Sharon Sherman is the Executive Director of the Greater Syracuse Tenants Network.  The Tenants Network empowers tenants in HUD subsidized and private housing to organize tenant associations and advocate for their rights. Sharon provides training to human service case managers and property owners on landlord-tenant issues. She answers questions and give referrals to individual tenants throughout Central New York. In addition to tenant rights advocacy, Sharon spent many years working for state and local Consumer Protection agencies as well as for the City of Syracuse Community Development Office.