Executive Director

Sunia has over thirty years of experience in affordable housing issues at the federal, state, and local levels. She is the Executive Director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA), and she serves on the board of the Emerald Cities Collaborative. In 2010, Sunia was nominated for the Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing. She has also served as the Executive Vice President of the Housing Research Foundation, Board Trustee of Global Communities (formerly CHF International) and the National Housing Conference as well as the advisory boards of Affordable Housing Finance and Housing and Development Reporter. Sunia holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Princeton University and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Barnard College.

Deputy Director

Deb holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Ohio State. Before CLPHA, she was a senior researcher at HUD in the Office of Policy Development and Research. Prior to Washington, D.C. she taught courses in American politics and public policy at the University of Massachusetts and Clark University. As a researcher, Deb  researched and published articles on education, employment and training and housing policy. She initially joined CLPHA as Research Director in 1996 but left CLPHA to work in the Obama administration at HUD for three years as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Policy, Programs, and Legislative Initiatives in Public and Indian Housing.

Legislative Director

Gerard is the former executive director of the congressionally mandated Commission on Affordable Housing and Health Facility Needs for Seniors in the 21st Century, popularly known as the Seniors Commission.  Prior to the Commission, Gerard served as executive director of the Senior Housing Council for the Assisted Living Federation of America, a membership organization of senior housing providers.  He also spent 10 years at the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, as the associate director for housing policy. Gerard has over 35 years of experience in policy and government, including congressional and intergovernmental relations at HUD and on a congressional staff in Washington, DC.  He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Hobart College.

Director of Operations

Trena has been at CLPHA since August, 2006. Before joining CLPHA, she was the Membership Operations Manager for AcademyHealth, managing all aspects of retention and recruitment for 4500 members. Her primary responsibilities at CLPHA include office administration, membership and meeting planning. She holds a BA from William Smith College, where she majored in Religious Studies and Psychology.

Director of Communications

Jenny comes to CLPHA from Dworbell, Inc., a small association management company whose clients include the National Aging in Place Council, the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA), and the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association where she served as Director of Public Relations. She also has communications and outreach experience from Capitol Hill, the National Association of Realtors, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American College of OB-GYNs, and Physicians for Social Responsibility, a non-profit in Washington, DC. Jenny has a BA in government and politics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a MA in public policy from The George Washington University where she studied philosophy and social policy. Jenny also serves on the Board of Directors of the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, a community arts center in southeast Washington.

Senior Program and Policy Manager

Abra joined CLPHA in 2014. She focuses on the Housing Is initiative, an effort aimed at better aligning housing with other systems like education and health to improve life outcomes for low-income children. Abra previously analyzed and advocated for housing, education, place-based, early childhood, and dual-generation initiatives with the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Illinois Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie's office. She also worked as a practitioner with low-income and homeless individuals in Washington, DC and Chicago, focusing on workforce development. Abra holds a Master’s of Public Policy from the Harris School of Public Policy and a Master’s in Social Work from the School of Social Service Administration, both at the University of Chicago, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies from Brandeis University.

Health Research and Policy Manager

Steve joined CLPHA with multi-sector experience in health policy analysis and communication strategy.  He manages the healthcare-related activities of CLPHA’s Housing Is initiative (formerly “systems alignment”), a comprehensive effort to better align housing with other systems by connecting stakeholders across service, discipline, and policy silos. Prior to joining CLPHA, Steve worked at The Lewin Group’s Center for Aging and Disability Policy implementing and evaluating service delivery reforms to Medicare and Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, founded a business services startup supporting first-time entrepreneurs and investors, and helped shape public affairs and communications strategy for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Health Affairs.  Steve is actively engaged in the Washington DC community on the Board of Directors of The McClendon Center, a top-rated mental health services agency serving those in DC suffering from severe, persistent mental illnesses. Steve holds a Master of Public Health from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Penn State University, with minors in Health Policy & Administration and Gender Studies.

Research and Policy Analyst

Nicole came to CLPHA in September 2015 from the National Housing Trust where she was a public policy and research associate but also managed NHT's social media accounts besides doing other communications work. Before NHT, she worked as a program assistant for Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems Inc.; was a legislative intern in the office of U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, and a management assistant in HUD's Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations. Nicole earned a masters degree with a concentration in urban and social policy from George Washington University and her bachelors degree from Pennsylvania State University.

Research & Policy Analyst

Emily joined CLPHA in 2018, focusing on issues related to the Housing Choice Voucher Program. She came to CLPHA from Johns Hopkins University’s Poverty and Inequality and Research Lab, where she worked as a post-doctoral fellow, concentrating on housing mobility programs and urban policy issues. She received her PhD in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she worked at the Institute for Research on Poverty, and Master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Policy from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Prior to beginning her doctoral program, she was employed as a research associate at Wilder Research in St. Paul, Minnesota, working with human service agencies that provide homelessness and supportive housing services.

Administrative Assistant

Kirsten joined CLPHA in January 2016. She has an MA in art history from George Washington University and a BA in English and art history from the University of Alabama.

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