Diane is the President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a membership organization dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that ensures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes. Diane is a veteran affordable housing policy expert with over two decades of work on affordable housing and community development. Before rejoining NLIHC (where she previously worked as a policy analyst), Diane was Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs at Enterprise Community Partners, where she led federal, state and local policy, research and advocacy programs. Prior to Enterprise, Diane was the director of the Public Housing Management and Occupancy Division at the US 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. She also worked to advance affordable housing policies with Oxfam America and the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and served for 3 years as a community development Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. Diane is frequently quoted in major media outlets, and has testified multiple time before Congress. Diane has a Masters in Social work from the University of Texas at Austin.
Housing Advocacy Organizer
[email protected] | (202) 662-1530
Olivia Arena is a housing advocacy organizer on the NLIHC field team. Previously, she spent the last four years conducting place-based social and economic policy research in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization in Washington, DC. At Urban, Olivia’s research focused on equitable development and neighborhood change, food access, climate resilience, housing as a platform for service delivery, and the 2020 Census. She specialized in community-engaged research, conducting projects in communities across the country, and honed her network management skills as a staff member of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership. Prior to her work at Urban, Olivia graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and global studies and urban studies.
202-548-7969 (ext. 231)
Xavier will work with the policy team to identify, analyze, and advocate federal policy on housing and immigration, Native American housing, rural housing, fair housing, and COVID-19 as it relates to Tribal housing, immigration, and regulatory language.
Xavier recently completed a nine-month position as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Public Policy Fellow with the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee for Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. In this role, Xavier supported professional staff with passage of the 2020 appropriations bill and supplemental appropriations related to disaster relief for Puerto Rico and the COVID-19 pandemic. Xavier has previously worked in his hometown of Hartford, CT on the development of the Swift Factory, an economic and community development project spearheaded by the nonprofit organization Community Solutions. He also conducted state level data analysis on racial disparities in child and family welfare with the State of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families. Xavier is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where he earned a Bachelor of Economics.
Kyle comes to NLIHC from the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) in Washington, DC, where he spent the last few years supporting and advocating for state emergency management agencies as a legislative policy analyst. He came to the nation’s capital as an intern on Capitol Hill for Representative Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) in the House Homeland Security Committee, performing legislative research and assisting subcommittee directors. Kyle’s interest in housing advocacy and urban issues began during this time when he started writing for the publication Greater Greater Washington and joined the community-organizing group Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE) DC as a member and volunteer. He also volunteers with N Street Village women’s homeless shelter in downtown DC. Kyle received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Global Health from Emory University.
Andrew Aurand is Vice President for Research at NLIHC. Andrew leads NLIHC’s research team that annually documents the housing needs of low income renters (published in The Gap and Out of Reach) and conducts research that informs housing policy. Prior to joining NLIHC, Andrew was a faculty 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 has a Masters in Social Work and PhD in Public Policy from University of Pittsburgh.
Victoria Bourret joined the NLIHC staff in January 2018. Prior to joining NLIHC, Tori served as a Communications and Project Manager at the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, a state partner of NLIHC. Tori provided management and outreach assistance for policy campaigns and specialized projects at the Housing Alliance. Victoria was also in charge of all communications at the Housing Alliance, including social media, the newsletter, and the website. Prior to her role at the Housing Alliance, Victoria served two terms in AmeriCorps, one with AmeriCorps NCCC in Denver, Colorado and one with Public Allies in Delaware. Tori earned her B.A. in Women Studies and Psychology from the University of Delaware and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania.
Director of Media Relations and Communications
[email protected] | (202) 662-1530 x239
Jen Butler is the Coalition’s Director of Media Relations and Communications. Jen works with the NLIHC chief executive officer and the vice president for field and communications 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.
[email protected] | (301) 461-6276
Alayna will work with the policy team to identify, analyze, and advocate for federal coronavirus relief policy that addresses the urgent needs facing low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness.
Alayna previously worked at NLIHC as a field intern while completing her graduate studies. As a case manager intern with Catholic Charities, Alayna witnessed the detrimental effects of housing instability on her clients’ well-being and became interested in the broader systems that impact access to safe and affordable housing. She is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, where she earned a Master of Social Work with a concentration in community action and social policy. Alayna has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology from the University of Notre Dame.
Senior Executive Assistant
[email protected] | 202-662-1530 x226
Josephine joined the NLIHC team as Executive Assistant in September 2015. Prior to joining the Coalition, she worked at Strayer University serving in an executive support role for more than eight years. Josephine also has 10 years of experience working in the program and budget areas at the United Nations Children’s Fund in Liberia. She received her AABA, BBA in Finance, and MBA in Information Systems Management from Strayer University.
[email protected] | 202-662-1530 x254
Bairy 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 DC, 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.
Dan Emmanuel joined the NLIHC staff in November 2013. He has worked in a range of housing and community development contexts since 2008 with a particular focus on program evaluation and community needs assessment. Dan earned his B.A. 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.
Ed Gramlich has been at NLIHC since October 2005. For his first two years, Mr. Gramlich 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. Between October 2007 and January 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, Mr. Gramlich also devoted considerable time to provide technical assistance to groups concerned about the negative impacts of UDAGs in their community. Mr. Gramlich is currently NLIHC’s senior advisor to the CEO and leads NLIHC efforts related to affordable housing regulations and has been NLIHC’s expert on regulations related to the National Housing Trust Fund and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. Ed Gramlich has a BS and MBA from Washington University.
Housing Policy Analyst
[email protected] | (202) 662-1530 x243
Kim is responsible for identifying and analyzing federal policy and regulatory activities related to NLIHC’s priorities, and then advocating around those policies and activities on Capitol Hill while also working with the NLIHC Field Team to engage NLIHC’s membership and network in field advocacy. Kim will focus on housing protections in the Violence Against Women Act, criminal justice reform, and evictions. A member of the policy team, Kim will report to Senior Director for Public Policy Sarah Mickelson.
Born and raised in the Washington, DC suburbs, Kim is a recent 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, working 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 received her B.S. in Psychology and an M.A. in Psychological Sciences from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.
Paul Kealey joined NLIHC as its Chief Operating Officer in June 2014, with more than twenty-five years of leadership and management experience. As COO, Mr. Kealey leads the Coalition’s financial and human resources management, program planning, resource development, field outreach and organizing, and communications. Mr. Kealey has a rich background of developing, directing, and evaluating large and complex operations, staff, and programs in international and domestic community development and affordable housing, human services, volunteer service, environmental conservation, and professional development and training. Paul served for twelve years as a Senior Vice President and Division Director for NeighborWorks America overseeing its affordable housing and community development training programs, the Achieving Excellence leadership program with Harvard University, the Success Measures enterprise, and many other programs and operations. He has also held leadership positions with the Corporation for National and Community Service/AmeriCorps VISTA, World Wildlife Fund, and Peace Corps. After serving as a Peace Corps volunteer with his wife in Guatemala in the 1980s, Mr. Kealey later joined the Peace Corps staff as a Chief of Field Operations in Washington, Deputy Country Director in Costa Rica and Paraguay, and Country Director in Paraguay. Paul earned a Master of Arts in Geography at the University of California, Davis, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations at San Francisco State University. Paul is also a graduate of the Harvard University Kennedy School/NeighborWorks America 18-month Achieving Excellence Program.
Mike comes to NLIHC from Dallas, TX where he most recently worked as the executive director of Opportunity Dallas, an organization focused on building local coalitions 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. Prior to his career in education and housing, he served in the U.S. Air Force, where he was 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.
Joseph joined the NLIHC staff in February 2013, but he first worked with NLIHC in 2000 while organizing Wisconsin advocates in support of the National Housing Trust Fund campaign. He led campaigns in Madison, WI, on issues such as the local minimum wage, funding for homeless services, and eliminating housing discrimination against Housing Choice Voucher recipients. In addition to his advocacy and campaign work, Joseph has also worked in various direct service capacities including as a homeless outreach coordinator, tenant’s rights counselor, and workforce development professional. Joseph received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin with majors in political science and religious studies.
[email protected] | 202-662-1530 x201
Before joining NLIHC, Mayerline worked at DKC, a public relations agency, where she worked as 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 tech and global corporate social responsibility sectors. A graduate of Howard University, Mayerline has a bachelor’s degree in strategic, legal, and management communication with a concentration in public relations and marketing.
Senior Director of Administration
[email protected] | 202-662-1530 x242
Khara was with NLIHC from 1999 through 2005 as Executive Assistant to the President and returned in January 2009 as Development Associate. In the interim, Khara served as Development Coordinator at YWCA USA. In September 2009, she became Director of Administration where she assists the Administration team in their effort to sustain the coalition’s primary mission to end America’s affordable housing crisis.
Born and raised in the Washington, DC area, Noah comes 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 B.A. in Political Science from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. He has been a member of the Maryland bar since 2018.
Creative Services Coordinator
[email protected] | 202-662-1530 x246
Ikra first worked at NLIHC as a graphic design intern during the 2015-2016 fall and spring semesters. Ikra completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Arts and Visual Technology from George Mason University in 2017. Her interest in social justice stems from her freelancing and internships at various nonprofits, including NLIHC. Ikra will be responsible for all NLIHC’s print and online graphic design efforts.
Catherine joined NLIHC as a Development Coordinator in June 2018. Prior to joining NLIHC, Catherine served for four years at A Wider Circle, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families to rise out of poverty. At A Wider Circle, Catherine spent time as a Client Relations Coordinator, working directly with families transitioning out of homelessness or fleeing domestic abuse and helping them to receive furniture and other items necessary to find stability their new homes. She also worked as a Development Associate at A Wider Circle, telling these families’ stories to local and national foundations and corporations and securing the funds to expand programming. Catherine earned her Bachelor of Science in Business, Language and Culture Studies with a focus in Spanish from American University.
Vice President of Public Policy
[email protected] | 202-662-1530 x228
As Vice President of Public Policy, Sarah Saadian oversees NLIHC’s broad congressional portfolio. Sarah previously worked with Enterprise Community Partners as a Senior Analyst, where she focused on appropriations for federal housing and community development programs. Prior to Enterprise, Sarah served as Policy Counsel at Rapoza Associates, where she worked largely on rural development issues. While a Legislative and Policy Analyst at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Sarah’s portfolio included expanding access to mortgage and small business credit. Sarah graduated from the University of Connecticut, School of Law after receiving her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. She has also been a member of the Virginia State Bar since 2009.
Housing Advocacy Organizer
NLIHC is pleased to welcome Brooke Schipporeit to its field team as its newest housing advocacy organizer. Brooke comes to NLIHC from Nebraska by way of Philadelphia, PA, where she spent the last few years supporting state and local coalitions in their efforts to achieve solutions to housing poverty. Specifically, she worked as an MSW intern with the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, informing and mobilizing coalition members to advance equitable housing policy. Then she worked as Philadelphia’s regional housing coordinator for the Self-Determination Housing Project of Pennsylvania, focusing on expanding affordable and accessible housing options for people with disabilities and older adults. Prior to beginning her career in affordable housing, Brooke spent time working in direct services in Nebraska for both the Head Start program and a domestic violence shelter. Brooke earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Nebraska Wesleyan University.
[email protected] | 202-662-1530 x202
Dan is a recent graduate of Georgetown University, where he earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy. His research in that field centered on political philosophy, distributive justice, and the demands of social equality. He comes to NLIHC by way of the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellowship, which places recent humanities and social science PhDs in public-service organizations. Dan has an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Houston, an M.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University, and a B.A. in Philosophy and English from the College of Charleston.
Chantelle Wilkinson comes to NLIHC from New York where she worked as a budget analyst for the state legislature. There she assisted with enacting 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 issues of dilapidated vacant housing in the capital region of New York State and spurred collaboration from many sectors including the arts, community organizations, neighborhood ambassadors, project administrators, and government officials. Chantelle received her BA in Political Science with minors in Latin American/ Caribbean Studies and Spanish, and her MA in Public Administration, both from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany.
Renee M. Willis
Renee M. Willis joined NLIHC in June 2015 as the new Vice President for Field and Communications. In this role, Renee leads all of NLIHC’s field and communications efforts in support of our mission, goals, and objectives. Renee brings more than fifteen years of experience in affordable housing, including establishing and leading successful community and region-wide initiatives. Ms. Willis has extensive experience in strategic planning, financial management, marketing, organizational development, staff management, and program operations. Ms. Willis served as Housing Services Chief with Arlington County, VA from 2008 to 2015. Prior to her work in Arlington, she served as the Administrator of the Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs for Montgomery County, MD from 1999 to 2004 and as an Advocate and Manager for the Public Justice Center’s Tenant Advocacy Project in Baltimore, MD from 1993 to 1999. Ms. Willis earned dual Bachelor of Arts 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
[email protected] | (202) 662-1530
Rebecca will work with the research team to evaluate 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 her to focus on social determinants of health and the intersection of health, housing, and urban policy. Rebecca received her B.A. in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.