Diane Yentel is the President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a membership organization dedicated to achieving racially and socially equitable public policy that ensures people with the lowest incomes have quality homes that are accessible and affordable in communities of their choice. With over twenty-five years of experience working on affordable housing, Diane is a leading national expert on housing insecurity and homelessness. Under her leadership, NLIHC has deepened, broadened, and strengthened the movement for housing justice, leading major national campaigns to achieve historic federal protections and investments for low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. In her role, Diane works closely with members of Congress, the White House, numerous federal agencies, and partners and allies throughout the country. Diane is frequently called upon to testify before Congress and to provide commentary to major media outlets.
Before becoming NLIHC’s President and CEO, Diane was Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs at Enterprise Community Partners. During the Obama administration, Diane was the director of the Public Housing Management and Occupancy Division at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where she managed a team overseeing the development and implementation of nationwide public housing policies, procedures, and guidelines. Diane also worked to advance affordable housing policies with Oxfam America and the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and spent three years as a community development Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. She holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY at Stonybrook and a master's degree in social work from the University of Texas at Austin.
Andrew Aurand is Vice President for Research at NLIHC. He leads NLIHC’s research team in documenting the housing needs of low-income renters in annual publications like The Gap and Out of Reach, conducts additional research that informs housing policy related to extremely low-income renters, and co-manages the National Housing Preservation Database. Prior to joining NLIHC, Andrew was a faculty member in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University, where he taught housing policy and research methods and completed research on the impact of comprehensive planning on the supply of affordable housing. He holds a master's degree in social work and a PhD in public policy from the University of Pittsburgh.
Housing Advocacy Organizer
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Sidney Betancourt is a housing advocacy organizer on the NLIHC field team. She works to expand NLIHC membership and engage advocates on federal policy priorities to advance the Coalition’s mission. Sidney also helps manage NLIHC’s Tenant Talk publication and “Tenant Talk Live” webinar and works to strengthen the Coalition’s tenant engagement efforts.
Before joining NLIHC, Sidney was the 2020-2021 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) housing graduate fellow. During her time as a fellow, Sidney worked with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) on legislative research aimed at preparing the agency for a governance restructure. She spent the last half of her fellowship with the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee for Housing, Community Development and Insurance. As a committee fellow, Sidney supported staff in drafting important legislation related to public housing, infrastructure, and homelessness. Sidney is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.
Victoria (Tori) Bourret joined NLIHC in January 2018 as a housing advocacy organizer and transitioned to her present position as ERASE coordinator at the beginning of 2022. As an ERASE coordinator, Tori works with the ERASE team to advance the Coalition’s mission and ensure that the historic emergency rental assistance appropriated by Congress reaches the lowest-income and most marginalized renters for whom it is intended. As a housing advocacy organizer, Tori mobilized and activated the field around the Coalition's policy priorities, supervised interns, and managed the state partner network, among other activities. Prior to joining NLIHC, Tori served as a communications and project manager at the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, a state partner of NLIHC. She also served two terms in AmeriCorps, one with AmeriCorps NCCC in Denver, Colorado, and one with Public Allies in Delaware. Tori earned her BA in women studies and psychology from the University of Delaware and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania.
Senior Director of Media Relations and Communications
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Jen Butler is the Coalition’s Senior Director of Media Relations and Communications. Jen works with the NLIHC chief executive officer to ensure effective and efficient media and communications efforts, in support of the Coalition’s mission, vision, goals, and objectives.
Jen has worked in marketing and communications for over nine years and has managed a diverse portfolio of campaigns for both local and national brands. Jen’s experience includes work in entertainment, media, on-air, and the non-profit sector. In her previous roles, Jen has worked extensively in branding, programming, and marketing strategy. Jen is a graduate of Georgia State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism with a concentration in public and political communications.
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Alayna Calabro is a policy analyst on NLIHC’s policy team. In this role, she identifies, analyzes, and advocates for federal policies and regulatory activities that advance the Coalition’s mission.
Previously, Alayna worked for NLIHC as a field intern while completing her graduate studies. She also worked as a case manager intern with Catholic Charities, where she witnessed the detrimental effects of housing instability on her clients and became interested in the broader systems that impact access to safe and affordable housing. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, where she earned her MSW with a concentration in community action and social policy. Alayna also holds a BA in English and psychology from the University of Notre Dame.
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Matthew Clarke is Writer/Editor at NLIHC. A member of the communications team, Matthew advances the Coalition’s mission by providing technical writing and editing support to staff on major publications, external and internal communications, and development efforts. Before joining NLIHC, Matthew was communications coordinator at the Newberry Library, an independent humanities research library in Chicago. He also served as a writer/editor for several other non-profit and educational organizations around Chicago. In addition to his work as a writer/editor, Matthew has taught writing and literature at universities around Chicago. He holds a BA in philosophy from Reed College and a PhD in English literature from Loyola University Chicago.
Housing Advocacy Organizer
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Courtney Cooperman is a housing advocacy organizer on the NLIHC field team. As an organizer, Courtney mobilizes NLIHC's network to advocate on federal policy priorities and keeps up with the latest developments in state and local affordable housing policy. Courtney also supports the Our Homes, Our Votes nonpartisan voter and candidate engagement campaign.
Prior to joining NLIHC, Courtney was an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), the social justice arm of the Reform Jewish Movement. With a policy portfolio that included housing, nutrition, labor, and other economic justice issues, Courtney spearheaded the RAC’s advocacy on COVID-19 relief and recovery legislation. She also wrote blog posts and social media content, created resources for advocates, supported grassroots lobbying, and launched virtual programming to teach high school students about social justice.
Courtney graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University, where she received a bachelor of arts in political science, a minor in Spanish, and interdisciplinary honors in Ethics in Society. Her honors thesis, “Loss of Place, Loss of Voice: How Homelessness Impedes Political Equality,” explored homelessness as a source of political disenfranchisement. Courtney also served on the board of Heart and Home Collaborative, a seasonal shelter for women experiencing homelessness in the greater Palo Alto area.
Director of Operations
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Bairy Diakite is Director of Operations at NLIHC. He has worked with human rights organizations for over six years to help them function efficiently and fight for creating a more equitable and just world. He has managed offices in the U.S. and globally, coordinating administrative processes, overseeing internal- and external-facing events, and managing partnerships with corporations, vendors, and sponsors. He has supervised office relocations and construction projects, created remote-work policy, and worked to align organizations’ missions with their policies. Immediately prior to joining NLIHC, Bairy worked at Freedom House, where he served as the head of the operations department, overseeing day-to-day operations for employees in Washington D.C., New York, and around the world. Bairy is a graduate of Dickinson College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in sociology.
Senior Housing Advocacy Organizer
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Lindsay Duvall is a senior housing advocacy organizer at NLIHC. In this position, Lindsay helps the field team engage advocates on federal policy priorities to advance the Coalition’s mission and expand NLIHC membership. She has an extensive background in emergency and affordable housing programs, having worked for eight years with NLIHC member Hudson River Housing in Poughkeepsie, New York. As manager of advocacy and community engagement, she crafted outreach strategies, developed partnerships, managed resident leadership initiatives, supported communications projects, and expanded the agency’s advocacy work. Prior to this role, Lindsay worked on outreach and volunteer mobilization with the Oregon Food Bank. She holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy from Portland State University.
Dan Emmanuel is a senior research analyst at NLIHC. Before joining the organization in 2013, he worked in a range of housing and community development contexts, with a particular focus on program evaluation and community needs assessment. Dan earned his BA in philosophy and psychology from the College of William & Mary and his MSW with a concentration in community and organization practice from Saint Louis University.
Emma Foley is a research analyst at NLIHC. She received her master's degree in public policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, where she concentrated in social policy. While completing her graduate studies, Emma worked as a research intern at NLIHC, tracking and monitoring the rollout of COVID-19 emergency rental assistance programs. Emma became passionate about equitable housing policy following several years working with organizations that advocate for affordable, accessible, and fair housing in Charlotte, Poughkeepsie, and New Orleans. Prior to her graduate studies, Emma served as an AmeriCorps member at a disaster recovery organization and worked at a social science research firm evaluating the efficacy of social programs. Emma received her bachelor of arts in urban studies from Vassar College.
ERASE Senior Project Director
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Sarah Gallagher is the ERASE (End Rental Arrears to Stop Evictions) Senior Project Director at NLIHC. In this role, Sarah works with NLIHC staff and with state and local partners to support efforts to ensure that emergency rental assistance reaches the lowest-income and most marginalized renters it is intended to help.
Sarah has more than 25 years of experience advancing innovative, equitable housing and social service policies and programs at the local, state, and national levels with expertise in health and housing collaborations, cross systems data matching, interagency collaboration, homeless programs, and reentry.
Prior to joining NLIHC, Sarah was the Eastern Region Managing Director at CSH, where she oversaw training, lending, technical assistance, and systems change work throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Sarah also served as CSH's director of strategic initiatives and the director of CSH’s Connecticut program.
Sarah served as the first executive director of Journey Home, the local planning body for the Capitol Region Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness; as the executive director for discharge planning at the New York City Department of Correction, where she oversaw the discharge planning programs on Rikers Island and worked with city agencies to overcome barriers people face when leaving jail; and as a housing case manager in Boston. Sarah holds a master’s degree in urban policy and management from the New School and a BA in sociology from the University of Connecticut.
Ed Gramlich has been at NLIHC since 2005. During his first two years, Ed staffed the RegWatch Project, an endeavor to expand the Coalition’s capacity to monitor federal regulatory and administrative actions, with a focus on preserving the affordable housing stock, both public and assisted. From 2007 to 2010, he was the Director of Outreach. Prior to joining the staff of the Coalition, he worked for 26 years at the Center for Community Change (CCC), where his primary function was to provide technical assistance about CDBG to low-income community-based groups. While at CCC, Ed also devoted considerable time to providing technical assistance to groups concerned about the negative impacts of UDAGs in their communities. Ed is currently NLIHC’s senior advisor to the CEO and leads NLIHC efforts related to affordable housing regulations. He is NLIHC’s expert on regulations related to the national Housing Trust Fund and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. Ed holds a BS and an MBA from Washington University.
Chief Operating Officer
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Kendra Johnson is chief operating officer at NLIHC, where she oversees day-to-day operations and ensures the Coalition achieves its financial, administrative, resource development, human resources, and communications/media relations goals and objectives. Prior to joining NLIHC, Kendra served as vice president of finance and administration at Money One Federal Credit Union, where she developed strategic priorities and managed all aspects of accounting, collections, real estate-owned properties, facilities, vendor management, records, and insurance. She gained non-profit accounting and management experience at Prince George’s Workforce Services Corporation and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Kendra received her undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of the District of Columbia. She holds an MBA and a master’s degree in management, with a specialization in non-profit and association management, from the University of Maryland, University College.
Senior Policy Analyst
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As a senior policy analyst, Kim is responsible for identifying and analyzing federal policy and regulatory activities related to NLIHC’s priorities, advocating around those policies and activities on Capitol Hill, and working with NLIHC's field team to engage NLIHC's members and network in field advocacy. Kim focuses especially on the housing protections in the "Violence Against Women Act," criminal justice reform, and evictions.
Kim is a graduate of George Washington University, where she earned a master’s degree in public policy. During her graduate program, she interned with Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future and with the Senate Minority Health Committee. She also held a fellowship with the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Before graduate school, Kim resided in Harrisonburg, VA, where she worked as an advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. In 2014, she served on an advisory committee to the Obama administration’s White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. Kim holds a BS in psychology and an MA in psychological sciences from James Madison University.
Mike Koprowski is NLIHC's National Campaign Director. Before joining NLIHC, he was the executive director of Opportunity Dallas, an organization focused on building local coalitions in Dallas, TX, to promote greater economic mobility by tackling concentrated poverty and segregation through housing policy. Prior to Opportunity Dallas, Mike was the chief of transformation and innovation in the Dallas school system, where he led the development and execution of the district’s Public School Choice initiative focused on socioeconomic school integration. Before embarking on his career in education and housing, he served in the U.S. Air Force as the chief of intelligence for an F-15E fighter squadron while it was deployed to Afghanistan. He holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame, Duke University, and Harvard University.
Housing Policy Analyst
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Kayla Laywell serves on the policy team as a housing policy analyst. Before joining NLIHC, she worked in the office of Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), where she covered housing and homelessness. Prior to working for Senator Luján, Kayla was a field representative in the office of former Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), where she advocated for the needs of rural communities and Tribal governments at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kayla’s legislative career started in the Texas Capitol as a health policy fellow in Representative Garnet Coleman’s office.
Kayla holds a master’s degree in social work with a specialization in political social work from the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from New Mexico State University.
Senior Communications Specialist
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May Louis-Juste is NLIHC's Senior Communications Specialist. Before joining NLIHC, May worked at DKC, a public relations agency, where she was a media relations coordinator, engaging with media and securing placements in local and national publications for an array of clients. Previously, she was a graduate intern at Edelman, where she assisted in digital communications for CEOs in the health technology and global corporate social responsibility sectors. A graduate of Howard University, May holds a bachelor’s degree in strategic, legal, and management communication with a concentration in public relations and marketing.
Steve Moore Sanchez
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As a development coordinator at NLIHC, Steve Moore Sanchez draws on his extensive background in fundraising and public policy to ensure the Coalition secures the necessary resources to support its mission. Prior to joining NLIHC, he served as a writer for development at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he crafted proposals, reports, donor communications, and other materials on the organization’s work to strengthen housing, health, nutrition, and other essential programs. Steve also has experience planning and coordinating fundraising efforts at Prosperity Now, Farmworker Justice, and the Washington Office on Latin America.
Steve received his undergraduate degree in international studies from American University. He holds a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland.
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Neetu Nair is a research analyst at NLIHC. Before joining NLIHC, she advocated for land rights, tenure security, and housing stability for extremely low-income communities internationally. In Brazil, she assessed housing needs in favelas and informal settlements, and she partnered with União dos Movimentos de Moradia, São Paulo (Union of Housing Movements, São Paulo) to advocate for national legislation for self-managed housing. In the US, she supported third-sector organizations in efforts to provide housing, healthcare, and educational services to refugee and migrant communities. In previous roles, Neetu worked on housing and community development through co-designed spaces in India. Neetu earned a bachelor of architecture with a concentration in urban design from R.V. College of Architecture in Bangalore, India. She received her master of urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan, where she focused on housing justice and climate equity.
Senior Director of Administration
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Khara was with NLIHC from 1999 through 2005 as Executive Assistant to the President and returned in 2009 as Development Associate. In the interim, Khara served as Development Coordinator at YWCA USA. In September 2009, she became Director of Administration at NLIHC and since then has assisted the administration team in its effort to sustain the Coalition’s primary mission to end America’s affordable housing crisis.
Born and raised in the DC area, Noah came to NLIHC from Baltimore, MD, where he worked at the Homeless Persons Representation Project, Inc. (HPRP), helping to advocate for policies to expand public benefit programs and protecting Housing Choice Voucher holders. After working as a campaign and state house staffer in Maryland, Noah received a JD from the University of Baltimore School of Law. While in law school, Noah was heavily involved in coordinating Legal Observers of the National Lawyers Guild to protect the legal rights of Baltimore-area political protestors and served as a Kellogg’s Law Fellow at the NAACP Office of the General Counsel working on transit equity and educational policy. Noah received his BA in political science from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. He has been a member of the Maryland bar since 2018.
Creative Services Manager
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As Creative Services Manager at NLIHC, Ikra Rafi is responsible for NLIHC’s print and online graphic design efforts. She first joined NLIHC as a graphic design intern in 2015. Her interest in social justice stems from her freelancing work and internships she held at various nonprofits, including NLIHC. Ikra holds a BFA in arts and visual technology from George Mason University.
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Benja Reilly is a development specialist with NLIHC, helping ensure the Coalition secures the necessary resources to support its mission. Before joining NLIHC, Benja served as Lead Caseworker and Burial Assistance Coordinator for Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington, where he assisted clients with long-term support and self-help. He has also conducted research and planned events with Gallaudet University and the Central American Resource Center as a legal intern. He received his undergraduate degree in religion from Carleton College with a minor in Spanish.
Housing Advocacy Organizer
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Gabby Ross is a housing advocacy organizer. Prior to joining NLIHC, Gabby was a housing stability specialist for a property management company in Washington DC, where she helped DC residents apply for emergency rental assistance. Previously, Gabby worked as a housing specialist at N Street Village for the Patricia Handy Place for Women shelter in Washington DC. During her time there, she worked alongside case managers and community partners to find safe and affordable housing for women at the shelter to help them exit homelessness successfully. Gabby graduated from Howard University in 2019 with a BA in political science and a minor in community development.
Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Field Organizing
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As Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Field Organizing, Sarah Saadian oversees NLIHC’s broad policy portfolio and field mobilization efforts. With over a decade of experience successfully advancing affordable housing policies on Capitol Hill, Sarah has testified before Congress and has been quoted in major media outlets on a wide range of issues. Prior to joining NLIHC in 2016, Sarah worked as a senior analyst at Enterprise Community Partners and as policy counsel at Rapoza Associates. She graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2009 after receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in 2005, and she has been a member of the Virginia State Bar since 2009.
Manager of Field Organizing
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As Manager of Field Organizing, Brooke Schipporeit oversees NLIHC’s field outreach, organizing, and advocate-mobilization efforts. Brooke previously spent several years in Pennsylvania, where she supported state and local coalitions in their efforts to achieve solutions to housing poverty. As an MSW intern with the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, she informed and mobilized coalition members to advance equitable housing policy. She also served as Philadelphia’s regional housing coordinator for the Self-Determination Housing Project of Pennsylvania, where she focused on expanding affordable and accessible housing options for people with disabilities and older adults. Prior to beginning her career in affordable housing, Brooke worked in direct services in Nebraska for the Head Start program and a domestic violence shelter. She earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pennsylvania and holds a BS in Social Work from Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Sophie is a research specialist at NLIHC, which she first joined as a field intern during her graduate studies. She has previous experience as a research assistant at the University of Maryland, a permanent supportive housing team member at Miriam’s Kitchen in Washington, DC, and a community school director at United Way of Salt Lake. Sophie holds a BA in History and Education, Inquiry, and Justice from Georgetown University. She received a master of public policy and a master of social work from the University of Maryland, where she concentrated on social policy and community action.
Web/Graphic Design Specialist
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As the web/graphic design specialist on NLIHC's communications team, Lauren is responsible for managing NLIHC's websites and electronic communications, designing print and digital publications, and developing and maintaining the NLIHC brand in all external materials. She also assists with the development and execution of communications and marketing strategies.
Prior to joining NLIHC, Lauren was a freelance graphic designer. During her time as a freelancer, Lauren worked with small and large clients, including Superbowl XLIV Miami, T3 Micro, The Agency, and Gensler. She was also the in-house graphic designer at Stream Realty’s Washington D.C. office, where she created over 30 custom brands for high-end office buildings. At Stream Realty, Lauren used her talents in a wide variety of media, including print, web, and digital, as well as in packaging and environmental design, and her work can be seen at locations around the D.C. area.
Lauren is a graduate of Brigham Young University – Hawaii, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in art with an emphasis in graphic design. As a student, she worked for over two years as a layout artist at Ke Alakai’, the university's award-winning magazine publication.
Chantelle Wilkinson came to NLIHC from New York, where she worked as a budget analyst for the state legislature and helped enact housing and transportation policies. In 2016, she worked on the Breathing Lights Campaign with the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society. The campaign highlighted the problem of dilapidated vacant housing in the capital region of New York State and spurred collaboration between artists, community organizations, neighborhood ambassadors, project administrators, and government officials. Chantelle received a BA in political science, with minors in Latin American/ Caribbean studies and Spanish, and an MA in public administration from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany.
Renee M. Willis
Renee M. Willis is NLIHC’s Senior Vice President for Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. In this role, Renee works to ensure that NLIHC’s commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion is woven through its culture, policies, programs, and practices. She also leads NLIHC’s intensified engagement of renters with low-incomes and people with lived-experience with homelessness and housing instability. From 2015 to 2021, Renee served as NLIHC’s Vice President for Field and Communications. In 2020, she served as a fellow with the Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Institute and joined a network of advocates working on race equity issues across the country.
Renee has more than 20 years of experience in affordable housing, including establishing and leading successful community and region-wide initiatives. She has extensive experience in strategic planning, financial management, marketing, organizational development, staff management, and program operations. Renee previously served as housing services chief with Arlington County, Virginia; as administrator of the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs for Montgomery County, Maryland; and as advocate and manager for the Public Justice Center’s Tenant Advocacy Project. Renee earned dual BA degrees in English and Spanish from the University of Maryland. She also holds a Certificate in Public Management from George Washington University.
Senior Research Analyst
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Rebecca Yae is a senior research analyst on NLIHC's research team, where she evaluates the implementation and effectiveness of state and local emergency rental assistance programs and other housing-related responses to COVID-19.
Rebecca is a recent graduate of the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program at the University of Michigan. During her graduate program, she worked on issues related to housing, regional planning, governance, racial equity, and coastal resiliency. As part of her capstone project, Rebecca supported União dos Movimentos de Moradia, São Paulo (Union of Housing Movements, São Paulo), União Nacional por Moradia Popular (National Union for Popular Housing), and Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra Leste 1 (Movement of Landless Workers of East District 1) in advocating for and enhancing a national legal framework for self-managed housing and collective property in Brazil. Prior to graduate school, Rebecca supported communities in identifying and addressing significant community health needs and evaluating health-related initiatives. Her work in community health led to her focus on the social determinants of health and the intersections of health, housing, and urban policy. Rebecca received her BA in public health from the University of California, Berkeley.