John is one of Texas’ leading experts on low-income housing issues and a 2014 MacArthur Fellow. He is recognized for his steadfast commitment to social justice, helping low income people advance model solutions to housing issues in their communities, and forging common-ground solutions from diverse housing interests. He is a past board member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. John’s advocacy work won TxLIHIS the Texas Outstanding Public Service Award from his public interest colleagues. John has a BA in History from the University of Texas at Austin. He has served as an adjunct instructor in Disaster Recovery Housing in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin.
Karen works with grassroots leaders to help residents realize their own visions for their communities. For more than 25 years, she has helped communities use housing as a tool for improving living conditions and for teaching leaders to be active participants in the civic affairs of their communities. Her work has resulted in neighborhood-controlled organizations converting outside commercial redevelopment plans into housing, neighborhood-operated housing for the homeless, self-help housing in Texas colonias and increased housing resources such as a successful effort to establish a $55 million fund for housing in Austin and zoning overlay districts requirements for affordable housing as a community benefit. Karen holds degrees in Government and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s in Urban Affairs from the University of Delaware.
Working in Austin, Edwin maintains an office environment that promotes productivity, provides nonprofit accounting support and assists with with community and regional planning tasks. Edwin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2020 with a B.A. in Urban Studies and is in pursuit of a M.S. in Community and Regional Planning from UT Austin. He is drawn to the intersection of city planning and policy and has an ambitious goal to restructure contemporary planning practices and policies to more effectively prioritize social equity and environmental sustainability. He is a native north central Texan who speaks Spanish and enjoys going on bike rides to Lady Bird Lake with his dog.
Community outreach coordinator
Ericka has been with Texas Housers for more than a year, working in publicly subsidized housing communities to organize mothers living with their children to advocate for their rights as tenants. Her work involves running meetings, planning communications strategies, supporting the women organizers, advocating for tenants in Houston, and researching issues that tenants face. Ericka is no stranger to activism or calling public figures to pay attention to racial discrimination issues and environmental hazards in black communities.
As a member of the communications team, Michael writes about matters touching low-income households including equity issues, disaster recovery, environmental justice, and the Texas Legislature to name a few. He provides editorial leadership for the research team and also runs digital strategy for Texas Housers. He graduated with a B.A. in Technical Communication from UTSA and a M.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University.
Erin’s research at Texas Housers is focused on the impacts of COVID-19 on affordable housing and communities of color. She evaluates the effectiveness of rental assistance programs to meet the needs of low-income Texans today and the potential for programs to promote housing stability into the future beyond the pandemic. Based in San Antonio, her work also includes tracking local evictions of low-income recipients of federal aid and advocating for their protection against housing discrimination. She graduated from Trinity University in 2021 with a B.A. in Urban Studies and a Minor in Economics.
South Texas regional director
Working in San Antonio, Mia oversees our work in South Texas. She analyzes and evaluates city policy around housing and conducts outreach to tenants and homeowners both in English and Spanish. She also engages local San Antonio by participating in community education sessions and creates maps that describe the housing landscape of Bexar County and beyond. Mia graduated from Trinity University in May 2019 with B.A. in Urban Policy and Spanish. She enjoys the outdoors and being active.
Senior research analyst
Ben analyzes housing need and availability, eviction and foreclosure data, and housing assistance spending at the local, state, and federal level. He supports the organization with a wide variety of research and analysis tasks. Ben is an urban planner whose past work has focused on displacement mitigation, cultural planning, and economic development. He holds an M.S. in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin. He’s also a big music nerd, bike enthusiast, and bookworm.
Riley works in the San Antonio office as an Educator/Facilitator for the Houser Academy program. In this role, he develops and oversees Houser Academy courses and coordinates the collaboration between our statewide Houser Fellows. Before joining Texas Housers, Riley worked as a city planner and high school teacher and has experience with political and union organizing. Born and raised in San Antonio, Riley has a B.A. in Geography and Global Studies from Hofstra University and an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from UTSA. In his free time, he likes to travel, cook, and watch the Spurs.
Southeast Texas regional director
Julia as regional director focuses on housing affordability, lack of access to safe and dignified housing, and climate change in Houston and surrounding areas. Her work in the organization shines a light on current issues pertaining to disaster recovery and how to address the housing need in a more efficient and equitable manner. She holds a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M University and a Masters in Public Administration from Texas A&M International University. She likes musicals, participates in slam poetry, and enjoys spending time with her pet cat.
Eviction prevention specialist
Based in Houston, Tori is working to improve eviction policy through local research, analysis, and advocacy. Previously, Tori’s work has focused on healthcare accessibility and navigation, and she now uses this accessibility perspective to prevent Texas renters from being evicted. In her free time, she enjoys cooking for others, doing art, and spending time outside with her giant dog.
Community equity analyst
Uel grew up in San Antonio, Texas and has seen first hand the drastic changes in the community she grew up and loved. As a Community equity analyst, she is able to focus on policies that address the shifting demographics in her community, aid different community organizations with research, and help connect the most vulnerable groups of people with the resources they need to meet their needs. Uel holds a B.A. in Political Science and History with a minor in Spanish from the University of North Texas. In her free time she tutors high school students, goes to the gym, and tends to her variety of indoor plants.
David Wheaton serves as advocacy director and is based in our Austin office. In this role, David supports grassroots leaders across Texas and develops and advances policies and practices that promote the purpose of the Fair Housing Act. Before joining Texas Housers, he was a staff attorney at the Capital Appeals Project/Promise of Justice Initiative, where he helped handle appeals for incarcerated people on death row in Louisiana. Originally from Atlanta, David has a B.A. in Economics from Guilford College and a law degree from Elon University School of Law. Outside of work he enjoys playing the saxophone and watching basketball.
Veon McReynolds, PhD – President
Tour de Hood, Houston
Tom Hatch, FAIA – Vice president
Hatch + Ulland Owen Architects, Austin
Elizabeth Mueller, PhD – Secretary
University of Texas School of Architecture, Austin
Rafael I. Torres – Treasurer
Azteca Economic Development and Preservation Corporation, Laredo
Covenant Community Capital, Houston
William Forbath, PhD
University of Texas School of Law, Austin
Kate Rainey Willson
Vinson & Elkins, Austin
Shannon Van Zandt, PhD
Texas A&M University Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center, College Station