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.

Tristia Bauman
Tristia BaumanSenior Attorney

Tristia Bauman combines litigation, legal education, and legislative advocacy strategies to prevent and end homelessness. Her work focuses on combating the criminalization of homelessness and advocating for laws that protect the civil and human rights of homeless people. Tristia also conducts legal trainings around the country, writes reports and other publications related to housing, and serves as a legal resource for homeless advocates.

“As the daughter of a disabled father and an immigrant mother, I grew up poor and I know well the barriers to success imposed by poverty. I became a public interest attorney to break down those barriers and to provide every person – people just like me – with the chance to thrive.”

Tristia began her law career at Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. as a housing attorney working with low-income tenants in federally subsidized housing. She later served for several years as an Assistant Public Defender in Miami-Dade County.

Tristia hails from Auckland, New Zealand but was raised in Washington State where she attended the University of Washington as an undergraduate and law student. She received her B.A. in Anthropology in 2000 and her J.D. in 2006.

Janet Hostetler
Janet HostetlerSenior Fellow

Janet is a Senior Fellow at the Law Center, where she works primarily on federal advocacy related to the right to housing and ending the criminalization of homelessness. Until 2018, Janet served as the deputy director of the Law Center, directly supporting the Law & Policy team and the Operations team in their work to end and prevent homelessness and to protect the rights of people experiencing homelessness. As an Obama administration official, she served as Chief of Staff of the Office on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the Department of Housing & Urban Development. At HUD, Janet worked on the administration’s policy priorities including efforts to address racial segregation, as well as strategic planning and change management.  She also has experience in protecting voter rights, education policy, appellate legal advocacy, and international human rights. Janet’s believes the answer to many of our problems is found at the intersection of economic justice, racial justice, gender equity, ecological conservation, and participatory democracy. She enjoys gardening with native plants and being in nature.

Carlton Martin
Carlton MartinPro Bono Manager

Carlton Martin serves as the Law Center’s Pro Bono Manager, 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 ScottSenior Youth Attorney

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.

Lily Milwit
Lily MilwitHNH Campaign Manager

Lily Milwit graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in May 2021. While in law school, Lily worked as a student attorney with the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Clinic, where she advocated on behalf of court-involved youth in the District of Columbia. She was also the President of Georgetown’s chapter of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, and a member of Georgetown Law Students for Justice in Palestine, Georgetown Youth Advocates, and the Georgetown chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. While in law school, Lily served as a Research Assistant for multiple projects, including indigenous land dispossession, critical race theory and the law, and the role of the law in supporting social movements like Me Too and Black Lives Matter. She has interned with Lawyers for Children, The Poverty & Race Research Action Council, The National Partnership for Women & Families, Equal Justice Under Law, and Bread for the City.

Lily graduated from Tulane University, where she majored in Political Science, English, and Communications, and was the Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper.

Amie Rodriguez
Amie RodriguezProgram Networks & Events VISTA

Anna Marie “Amie” Rodriguez serves as the Law Center’s Program Network and Events Vista. Amie is a recent college graduate with extensive experience in event planning, research, writing, and community organization. While attending Virginia Commonwealth University, Amie was heavily involved in student leadership and research assistantships. She was especially thankful for the opportunity to work with diverse and historically underserved populations in Richmond, Virginia during her time as a patient interviewer for a public health research project. Through this experience, she grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of legal support for patients. Thus, her former interest in pursuing medicine evolved into her current pursuit of a career at the intersection of law, policy, and advocacy. As a proud Filipina American, she is committed to empowering BIPOC communities in more ways than one. Currently, Amie is writing a Filipino-American coming-of-age novel (and is always looking for beta readers). In her free time, she enjoys helping her family maintain a small farm in southeast Virginia.

Brandy Ryan
Brandy RyanStaff Attorney

Brandy Ryan is the Law Center’s newest Staff Attorney. She has previously worked with the Law Center as an intern and post-grad fellow, working on housing policy in the Violence Against Women Act and several research projects and toolkits benefitting homeless youth. Brandy will continue in policy work and will join the Law Center’s litigation team.

Brandy graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in December 2018. Her work during law school focused on veterans and the specific legal challenges facing them even decades after their service, and her studies focused on civil rights and constitutional law. Brandy is originally from Louisiana, will never miss an opportunity to get Cajun food, and hopes to get a dog as soon as possible.

Gabriela Sevilla
Gabriela SevillaYouth Attorney

Gabriela Sevilla is a youth attorney at the Law Center. Gabriela is a proud Latina lawyer; her parents are Ecuadorian and Puerto Rican. She was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. Gabriela leverages her lived experience with homelessness and housing insecurity to fuel her passion to build a future where we truly have housing for all .

Gabriela received her law degree from Howard University School of Law and received her Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey – Newark in Public and Non- Profit Administration.

Gabriela began her legal career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow with Homeless Persons Representation Project where she led a Medical- Legal Partnership with Health Care for the Homeless in Baltimore, Maryland.  While in law school Gabriela was awarded Clinical Law Student of the year in 2018, Howard University School of Law Student of the Year 2019, Howard University Graduate Student of the Year 2019 and HUSLer of the year 2019. Her commitment to protecting the rights of people experiencing homelessness has been featured in the Washington Post, Street Sense, Univision, and Telemundo.

Deborah Shepard
Deborah ShepardOperations Manager

As the Operations Manager for the National Homelessness Law Center, Deborah brings extensive experience in administration, operations, finance, project management, contracts, and facility management. A graduate of Clark University in Worcester, MA, the majority of Deborah’s career was focused on corporate and government information technology services. In 2007 she decided to pursue a second career in the non-profit field where she could contribute to social justice focused missions. Before joining the Law Center, Deborah was the Chief Operating Officer at Columbia Road Health Services, a community medical clinic providing care to the underserved of D.C. She was Director of Operations at Lutheran Volunteer Corps, an organization that matched volunteers to social justice non-profits across the country for a year of service. And recently, Deborah was Director of Operations at Luther Place Memorial Church, whose history of service and advocacy to the community and to homeless women, in particular, is extensive.

“As a fifth grader, I watched a classmate and her family picking through trash in front of the building where I lived in Harlem. While poverty, scarcity and a lack of decent housing lived out all around me, there is nothing so dreadful as watching someone you sat next to in class on Friday, picking through trash on Saturday. Maybe we don’t always see it, but innocence and dignity are big casualties of poverty. When you factor in the experience of homelessness, with its attending isolation, it’s even harder. My experience of watching this classmate taught me that you must see and bear witness to other people’s struggles, and you must do all that you can to help.”

Deborah has been volunteering most of her life, since community service in the seventh grade. Deborah specifically volunteers for organizations whose services help communities and people to thrive. She is a longtime member and volunteer of Church of the Epiphany’s Street Church community. The Street Church community is a direct outreach ministry to those experiencing homelessness and poverty. Deborah is thankful for the opportunity to use her experience and skills to further the mission of the Law Center.

Alexandra Taggart
Alexandra TaggartData Integration Vista

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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email