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.
As an Educator, Ally uses her background in education, writing, and communications to make Houser Academy classes exciting and accessible to activists supported by Texas Housers. She also works on the COVID-19 task force, helping to spread information related to evictions and foreclosures to other relevant organizations throughout the country. Before working for Texas Housers, Ally taught college-level humanities classes for 10 years, focusing on environmental justice, worker’s rights, and social responsibility. She graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop with an M.F.A. in Poetry and a B.A. in Creative Writing from Susquehanna University.
Working in San Antonio, Mia 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.
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.
Elizabeth is an advocate committed to equitable housing solutions and upholding civil rights for all people. At Texas Housers, she focuses on statewide policy in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program and will promote tenants’ rights in the Texas legislature. Elizabeth is a graduate of Yale Law School and an attorney licensed in Texas. Prior to Texas Housers, she worked in homelessness systems in the San Francisco Bay Area and practiced immigration law representing crime survivors in U visa and VAWA applications. She is an avid cyclist and baker.
Christina oversees communications, fundraising, and organizational development for Texas Housers. Originally from Laredo, Christina is a native Tejana with a deep belief that communities impacted by injustice should be at the center of shaping housing policy and social change. Christina worked as a social services and breaking news reporter at the Dallas Morning News and as a program assistant at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Chicago.
Benjamin comes from an Urban and Regional Planner background with a B.A. in Urban Studies and Planning from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from University of Amsterdam (Holland). Based in San Antonio, Benjamin is focused on where policy and people meet, aiding community groups with data solutions and outreach. His work will also concern our response and oversight of COVID-19 relief and disaster recovery. He enjoys sketching, coding, and spending time outside.
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