Meet Our Team

A dedicated team of legal experts determined to end homelessness in America.

Antonia Fasanelli
Antonia FasanelliExecutive Director

Antonia Fasanelli became the Executive Director of the National Homelessness Law Center in April 2021.

Previously, she was Executive Director of the Homeless Persons Representation Project, Inc. (HPRP), a Maryland-based civil legal aid organization committed to changing the systems that contribute to poverty and homelessness.  During her thirteen-year tenure at HPRP, she incubated innovative civil legal aid projects providing legal assistance to all persons experiencing homelessness, including youth and veterans—as well as systemic initiatives to decriminalize homelessness and advance policies to end homelessness, all by lifting the voices of persons most affected by homelessness.

Prior to joining HPRP, Ms. Fasanelli was an attorney at the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. She led the Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI), the Legal Clinic’s project on affordable housing preservation and expansion. As part of her work with AHI, Ms. Fasanelli advised, represented, or consulted on the representation of tenants or tenant associations at risk of displacement from over 3,000 units of affordable housing.

From 2011-2014, Ms. Fasanelli was Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Homelessness & Poverty, of which she had been a Commissioner since July 2009.  She is currently co-Chair of the Economic Justice Committee of the ABA Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice and was previously Chair of the Legal Services Committee for the ABA Commission on Veterans Legal Services.  From November 2010 to June 2014, she was a member of the Maryland Court of Appeals Standing Committee on Pro Bono and in 2014, was appointed a member of the Journey Home Board, which oversaw Baltimore City’s 10-year Plan to End Homelessness.

In 2013, Ms. Fasanelli was chosen as a Leading Woman by The Daily Record and in 2011, Ms. Fasanelli was a recipient of the Leadership in Law Award from The Daily Record.  In 2016, Ms. Fasanelli received the Benjamin L. Cardin Distinguished Service Award from the Maryland Legal Services Corporation.

Ms. Fasanelli received her J.D. magna cum laude from the Washington College of Law, American University in 2001 and her B.A. cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University in 1996.  From 2001 to 2002, Ms. Fasanelli was a law clerk to The Honorable Barefoot Sanders of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.  Prior to law school, Ms. Fasanelli was an Americorps*VISTA Outreach Coordinator at the Law Center.

Hailey Aldrich
Hailey AldrichDevelopment Associate

Hailey Aldrich joined as the Development Associate with the Law Center in June 2023 after completing a year of service with the organization as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Hailey graduated summa cum laude from Ithaca College with a B.S. in Communications, Management, and Design with minors in Legal Studies and Journalism.

In her role, Hailey aids in fostering ongoing relationships with individual donors and foundations whose values align with the Law Center’s mission, and planning events, such as the Human Right to Housing Awards and HALT gatherings, that bring our partners together in community.

Hailey is brought to this work through an understanding that homelessness sits at the intersection of a multitude of systemic prejudices that target our marginalized populations. She is guided in this work by the staunch belief that housing is a human right.

Outside of the Law Center, Hailey enjoys immersing herself in the local theater scene, taking dance lessons, and exploring the wonderful museums in DC as part of her quest to be a life-long learner!

Julia Hartenstein
Julia HartensteinOperations Director

Julia Hartenstein (she/her) has been passionate about ending homelessness for the last 14 years – both personally and professionally.  She has worked alongside unhoused people to organize an art exhibit where individuals with lived experience of homelessness could showcase their artistic talents, planned memorial services for people who tragically passed away after experiencing homelessness, and served on the Advisory Board of Baltimore’s street newspaper where people with lived experience were involved at every level of the organization – from vendor to editor-in-chief. Through this work, unhoused people became not only Julia’s leaders and teachers in the struggle for housing, economic, and racial justice, but also cherished friends. Julia has a Master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in management and community organizing. Prior to joining the Law Center as the Operations Director, Julia worked in administration and human resources for the Homeless Persons Representation Project in Baltimore, Maryland.  She truly enjoys leveraging her skills and knowledge to strengthen nonprofit organizations from the inside.  When she’s not working, you can find Julia hiking, camping, traveling, baking, and enjoying sports – especially rugby.

Siya Hegde
Siya HegdeStaff Attorney, Housing Not Handcuffs Campaign

Siya Hegde (she/her) joined the Law Center as a Staff Attorney for the Housing Not Handcuffs Campaign in May of 2023. Based in Manhattan, she is a first-generation immigrant with cultural roots in India and remains deeply committed to using the power of law and policy to combat poverty, homelessness, and structural systems of oppression. During her nearly four-year tenure at The Bronx Defenders, serving as a Civil Public Defender and the organization’s first ever Housing Policy Counsel, Siya engaged in significant client facing advocacy and litigation that centered on the civil consequences of individuals’ contact with legal systems. She developed a particular focus on eviction defense and housing justice issues, and in her movement lawyering capacity, was tasked with advancing housing reform efforts in partnership with local grassroots movements, directly impacted tenants, advocates, and defender organizations across New York City.

Siya graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where she was the Executive Editor of the North Carolina Journal of International Law, the Co-Coordinator of the Dean’s Fellow Program, and member of the International Law Moot Court Team. She interned at the Wake County Public Defender’s Office in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Southern Africa Litigation Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, and prior to law school, gained extensive experience as a Scholar Research Assistant at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Her work and commentary have been featured in various outlets, including the New York Daily News, Times Union, City Limits, the New York Law Journal, and the Georgetown Journal of Poverty Law and Policy. She is an alumnus of Colby College, having earned her B.A. in Environmental Policy in 2013.

Sam Hozian
Sam HozianCommunications Associate, Housing Not Handcuffs NYC

Sam Hozian is an anti-disciplinary multimedia producer, raised in Chicago and currently based in Brooklyn with their partner and their cat (Shark Week). Sam joined the Law Center in March 2023 as a Communications Associate for the Housing Not Handcuffs New York campaign. Bringing their experience in high-volume social media management, marketing, and design, they aim to help shift the popular narrative surrounding homelessness to one of compassion and humanization. Sam has over six years’ experience professionally producing social media content for institutions and companies such as the University of Illinois, SiriusXM, and the Queer Identities Psychology Partnership (QuIPP). Effectively connecting other trans people with accessible, trans-led mental healthcare at QuiPP through content strategizing was a major factor in their decision to leave the world of sales and join the nonprofit sector.

Sam received a public education growing up in Illinois, bounced around Oakton Community College, then transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2017 to complete a self-designed B.A. in Music and Media Studies. With the goal of beginning a new life and finding community in New York, they pursued and completed an M.A. in Media Studies, as well a Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies, at The New School.

Will Knight
Will KnightDecriminalization Director

Will Knight is a directly impacted Colombian-American immigrant, movement organizer, and litigator who has dedicated his career to advocating for the most vulnerable in our society.  As a victim of cartel violence who lost his father to the carceral state, Will began his legal career in criminal prosecution through the Truman Young Fellowship, but he found his calling at the other table, as a public defender.  

Will is now regarded among the best criminal defense attorneys in Arizona, and in his private practice he has been a courtroom advocate for the humanity of marginalized communities since the pre-Obergefell fight for marriage equality.  Most recently, Will’s counsel and leadership across a broad spectrum of civil rights cases—from pursuing justice on behalf of the victims of state-sanctioned brutality and murder, to holding Maricopa County’s top police and prosecutors accountable for politically prosecuting peaceful protestors with false charges—were instrumental in A.G. Merrick Garland’s decision to launch a D.O.J. civil rights investigation into the City of Phoenix’s violent police practices.    

Will joined the Law Center in March 2023 as its new Decriminalization Director, where he wields deep personal and professional experience combating systems of oppression to help end our governments’ inhumane treatment of the unsheltered and precariously housed in a growing national housing crisis.   

“We can’t reform unjust systems that are operating precisely how they were designedThat’s why I consider myself an organizer and directly impacted community leader first, and an impact lawyer secondBecause to end human suffering, we need to listen most closely to those who are sufferingWe must put the people closest to the harm closest to the powerVulnerability is strength,” Will said.  

Will is completely publicly educated, receiving his B.S. cum laude from Georgia State University and his J.D. from Arizona State University, where he graduated second overall in his law school classHe also sits on the Commissions on Access to Justice and Diversity, Equality, and Justice in Arizona’s Administrative Office of the Courts, teaches evidence as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, and chairs the Mentor Program Committee at the State Bar of Arizona.  

Erika Lopez
Erika LopezCommunications Associate

Erika joined the Law Center as Communications Associate in March 2022. She previously worked in communications and marketing with the Carey Institute for Global Good in upstate New York and was the Director of Sales and Marketing for a Hilton brand hotel prior to that. She is currently earning a bachelor’s degree in cultural studies with a focus on communications and media at SUNY Empire University with goals of covering economic issues, advocating for higher labor standards, and ending poverty and homelessness in America. Erika is also a board member for Joseph’s House and Shelter in Troy, NY, a nonprofit that offers 100% nonjudgmental housing and outreach services with a housing first approach to those experiencing homelessness across Albany and Rensselaer counties.  

“My worldview and goals have been shaped by my firsthand experiences with childhood poverty and the resulting housing and food insecurity that accompanied. Finding and qualifying for adequate services was difficult for my parents, especially with my father’s status as an immigrant with limited literacy and my mother’s struggles with addiction, highlighting for me at an incredibly young age how broken our social services are.” 

Erika will bring these experiences, as well as her passion for helping vulnerable people, to her work with the Law Center. She hopes to see a world where housing, food, and water are not considered commodities but instead are viewed as fundamental human rights.

Carlton Martin
Carlton MartinPro Bono Director

Carlton Martin serves as the Law Center’s Pro Bono Director, responsible for handling relationships with the Law Center’s major law firm partners that annually provide over $5 million in pro bono services.

“Knowing the rights of unhoused individuals and working within my power to protect those rights are important to me. I understand that our lives are fragile. Most of us are one termination, one medical bill, or one stroke of a pen away from homelessness; therefore, we should all have empathy for those experiencing homelessness and do what is within our power to advocate for real solutions to end it.”

Carlton came to the Law Center from the Indiana Supreme Court, where he served as a Staff Attorney for access to justice issues. Moreover, Carlton previously served as a Deputy Public Defender for the State of Indiana, and as the Project GRACE Staff Attorney for the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, where he was dedicated to resolving civil legal issues of re-entrants and homeless veterans. Additionally, he was recognized as one of Indiana’s top 15 Up-and-Coming Legal Leaders in the Law in 2019. Carlton received his B.A. in Sociology and African and African American Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington and earned his J.D. from Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 2012.

Alex Matak
Alex MatakEqual Justice Works Fellow

As the Law Center’s Equal Justice Works Fellow, Alex will help launch the House Keys Not Sweeps Legal Defense Clinic project (LDCs). A unique collaboration between the Law Center and the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), the LDCs combat the criminalization of homelessness by amplifying on-the-ground legal services for unhoused people, while steering aggressive litigation and policy strategies that get to the systemic roots of homelessness. Alex’s fellowship is funded by Buckley, LLP.

Alex is a graduate of the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, where she served as a Graduate Fellow and Sorenson Fellow. She was also part of Moot Court, the Race and Social Justice Orientation Steering Committee, Outlaws, and the Race, Privilege, and Diversity Committee. Alex also organized with fellow students, legal practitioners, and community organizers to develop CUNY Law’s first course focused on the decriminalization of homelessness, to be launched in January 2022.

Along with a summer working with the Law Center and WRAP, Alex has also interned at the Center for Constitutional Rights, Community Justice Collective (Toronto, Canada), and Brooklyn Legal Service’s LGTBQ/HIV advocacy unit. Before law school, Alex helped lead the largest student strike in North America, to ensure access to higher education for all in her home country of Canada.

Katie Meyer Scott
Katie Meyer ScottYouth Homelessness Program Director

Katie joined the Law Center in 2021 as the Senior Youth Attorney, where she advocates for laws and policies that will help end youth homelessness. Before joining the Law Center, Katie was a staff attorney at Solid Ground in Seattle, WA providing legal representation to low-income people in administrative hearings and appeals for state public benefits. A 2006 graduate of University of Washington School of Law, Katie has also worked as the Director of Pro Bono Programs at Homeless Persons Representation Project in Baltimore, MD and served as a volunteer, board member, staff attorney and Executive Director of Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington, an organization that provided accessible civil legal representation to homeless and at-risk youth and young adults. In her spare time, she is an avid gardener and enjoys exploring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest with her family.

Jeremy Penn
Jeremy PennYouth Homelessness Attorney

Jeremy Penn, Esq., uses she/they pronouns and is a licensed attorney in the District of Columbia. She graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in May 2021. She served as Executive Editor for the Georgetown Journal of Law & Modern Critical Race Perspectives, 3L Delegate in the Student Bar Association House of Delegates, President for OutLaw, Georgetown Law’s LGBTQ+ student affinity group, and Treasurer for Georgetown’s student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

While in law school, Jeremy interned with Law for Black Lives, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, the Congressional Office of Representative Donna Shalala, and the Civil Rights Section of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. She also served as a Research Assistant for Professor Naomi Mezey. Prior to joining the Law Center, Jeremy assisted families fleeing Afghanistan after the US withdrawal.

Jeremy graduated from the University of Miami, where she majored in Ecosystem Science & Policy, Applied Physics, and Geography with minors in Mathematics and LGBTQ Studies. She is a proud New Jersey native.

John Salois
John SaloisYouth Shelter and Housing Attorney

John comes to the National Homelessness Law Center from the Pacific Northwest, after working for Legal Counsel for Youth and Children (LCYC) in Seattle for the past three years.   He has spent the last ten years working with at risk and unhoused youth in Portland and Seattle.  After taking the bar exam and beginning to volunteer at youth homeless drop-in centers, the youth homelessness community radicalized John, which led him to create the Homeless Youth Legal Clinic (HYLC), the first of its kind in Oregon.  

He was both the co-founder and Legal Director for HYLC, a transformative experience where he practiced movement lawyering for unhoused youth in Portland, creating the clinic with youth and advocates from the community, those in the foster care to youth homelessness pipeline, immigrant youth and many others with lived experiences.  HYLC concentrated on the civil legal rights of homeless youth and the consequences of the criminalization of homelessness.  HYLC was shuttered during the pandemic, and John continued his work in Seattle at LCYC.  

John graduated from CUNY Law School in 2004 and worked in poverty law since graduation, including stints with Legal Services of New Jersey and the NJ public defender as an appellate attorney for parents. John is also a National Lawyers Guild Member and is active in the task force on the Americas. He has gone on human rights delegations in El Salvador, Venezuela and other colonized democracies in the global south. He also has a Bachelor of Political Science from Salem State College, and a MSW from the University of Connecticut.   

He was born in Methuen, Massachusetts where he maintains a passionate connection to the Celtics and Red Sox.  

Alexandra Taggart
Alexandra TaggartOffice Assistant

Alexandra Taggart will be working as a Data Integration Vista member at the National Homeless Law Center with a focus in building organizational capacity to contribute to equal economic opportunity and expansion. As a child her grandmother, a retired D.C. police officer, was her babysitter so she would attend District V Coffee Club meetings. Being the Co-Facilitator, her grandma spoke at most of these events in community forums and seminars discussing issues affecting the community where she lived such as: transportation, education, and development. Attending these events at an early age created Alexandra’s passion for helping others through acts of humanitarianism. As for the future, she is planning to have a socially concerned career.

Eric Tars
Eric TarsLegal Director

Eric Tars serves as the National Homelessness Law Center’s legal director, leading its human rights, civil rights, and children’s rights programs and managing its cutting edge litigation, strategic policy advocacy, and outreach and training initiatives at the international, national, and local levels. Eric helped spearhead the launch of the Law Center’s national Housing Not Handcuffs campaign, has served as counsel of record in multiple precedent-setting cases, including Martin v. Boise in the 9th Circuit, and is frequently quoted in national and local media, including NPR, AP, New York Times, Washington Post, and VICE News.

“My father grew up homeless, as a refugee following WWII. I believe every person deserves to be treated with the same dignity and respect for basic human rights as I would have wanted to see him and his family receive.”

Before coming to the Law Center, Eric was a Fellow with Global Rights’ U.S. Racial Discrimination Program and consulted with Columbia University Law School’s Human Rights Institute and the US Human Rights Network, where he currently serves as the vice-chair of the Network’s Board.

Eric received his J.D. magna cum laude as a Global Law Scholar at the Georgetown University Law Center. He received his B.A. magna cum laude in political science from Haverford College and studied international human rights in Vienna at the Institute for European Studies and at the University of Vienna.

Eric also teaches human rights advocacy as an adjunct professor at Drexel University Kline School of Law.

Jennifer Toth Clary
Jennifer Toth ClaryDevelopment Director

Jennifer Toth Clary (she/her) has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 15 years, helping progressive organizations fulfill their goals. Her background includes organizing, policy advocacy, and fundraising for some of the most pressing issues of our times, including LGBTQIA equality, immigration reform and reproductive justice.

Most recently, she served as the Development & Grants Manager at the Workers Defense Project, a community based organization for low-wage, immigrant workers fighting for their right to be paid a living wage. While there, Jennifer helped organize the PowerUp Texas Fund in response to the devastating winter storms and electric grid failures of February 2021, which helped raise nearly $2 million for low income families and mutual aid organizations across Texas. In addition, Jennifer helped manage the UnDocuWorker Emergency Assistance fund, which helped distribute over $3.5 million to working families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the past several years, Jennifer has focused her work on development to support progressive non-profits, through creating Major Donor campaigns, aligning progressive foundations funding priorities with community organizations, and creating pathways for grassroots supporters to focus their giving in meaningful ways. She especially loves connecting with people through well-crafted events and powerful story-telling, and also owned her own event planning and consulting business for several years.

Jennifer enjoys volunteering in her spare time, and currently serves on the fundraising committee with a community- based Women’s Philanthropy Circle that raises money for local organizations serving families across Central Texas experiencing food insecurity and homelessness. A native of Miami, Florida, Jennifer currently lives in Georgetown, Texas with her husband, daughter, and rescue dogs named after the Golden Girls.

Yuderis Verges
Yuderis VergesCommunications Associate (Temporary)

Yuderis Verges (they/them/theirs) is a queer, trans non-binary person of color from New York City, currently residing in Syracuse, New York. They recently onboarded the team as a Temporary Communications Associate.

Yuderis attained their Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Syracuse University. While pursuing their degree, they became a student organizer advocating for survivors of sexual violence and discovered their passion for survivor-centered transformative justice and anti-carceral avenues of resolution.

As someone who experienced housing insecurity during their college years, they know first-hand that being a queer and trans youth puts you at a disproportionate rate of experiencing a lack of stable housing. Yuderis also realized, at the end of the day, community would always show up and we should prioritize pouring into one another because it is our main source of love and survival.

In Yuderis’ free time, they are a film photographer, an avid reader, and a parent to five cats. They also enjoy eating the best food from their partner Bryan!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email