María Guadalupe "Lupe" Arreola, Executive Director
Lupe Arreola has been active in the San Francisco tenant community for 20 years. She is the former Director of Counseling Programs at St Peter's Housing Committee where she worked from 2001 to 2008 counseling and organizing San Francisco tenants. Lupe served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Community Land Trust, as a member of the Lead Poisoning Citizens' Advisory Committee, and on the Board of Directors of Partnership for Immigrant Leadership and Action (PILA). She currently serves on ther Board of Directors of People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Justice (PODER). She is a proud Xicana from Oxnard CA/ El Amarillo, Jal, Mex/ San Fernando Valley, CA. Outside of work, you can find Lupe at the park with her dog, reading a good book, or enjoying her partner Mike's cooking.
Aileen Joy, Development Director
Aileen Joy is a born and raised Bay Area tenant. Displaced from her family home in San Francisco as a kid, she's committed her career to safe, stable, affordable homes for everyone, free from the threat of displacement. Aileen's background is in operations, communications, and development. She has worked for Tenants Together member orgs and partners in the Bay Area and in Sacramento, including Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco and the Sacramento Housing Alliance. Her educational background and passions include narrative creation for social justice movements, language access, and storytelling; she has a BA and an MA in Comparative Literature/Cultural Studies, from UC Santa Cruz and SF State respectively.
Adolfo Echeverry, Operations and HR Director
Adolfo Echeverry graduated with a B.S in Agribusiness at Universidad Nacional de Colombia and has over 25 years of experience in the management field. He moved to the United States in 1999. Since, he has worked exclusively with non-profits. Before joining the Tenants Together’s team, Adolfo worked for almost 9 years as Research Associate/Management Assistant at the San Francisco Welcome Back Center.
Deepa Varma, Program and Campaign Director
Deepa Varma got her start in housing justice as a tenants rights attorney in New York City at the West Side SRO Law Project in 2007. She began representing tenants in San Francisco in 2011 at the Eviction Defense Collaborative. In that role, she co-founded the EDC’s litigation project, which has grown into the San Francisco's hub and training ground for San Francisco’s citywide right to counsel program for tenants facing eviction. Deepa then served as the Executive Director of the San Francisco Tenants Union from 2016 to 2020 where she helped to anchor the tenant voice in candidate and ballot races, and spearheaded campaigns on a range of issues to further tenant rights and fight displacement in the legislature, courts and city departments. You also may have seen her in the streets leading chants, and playing the bass drum with the Brass Liberation Orchestra.
Victoria Zacarias, Counseling and Volunteer Coordinator
Growing up Victoria saw firsthand the effects of homelessness, having both family and close friends struggle with it as recently as September 2017 when Hurricane Maria destroyed her grandparents’ home. Graduating with a B.A. in Urban & Regional Studies and Spanish & Latin American Studies from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Victoria has dedicated herself to addressing injustice around race, power and privilege that adds to the displacement of so many communities and inhibits them from securing safe, affordable and stable housing. For the past seven years she has worked in nonprofits supporting vulnerable communities, most recently as the Training Coordinator for a community mental health clinic for the foster youth of Alameda County. As a three year volunteer counselor with Tenants Together she is excited to combine her diverse experiences to support the launching of a Translocal Counseling Network. Through the network she looks forward to continuing and engaging members in conversations safely, strategically and collectively to help ensure inclusivity of housing and enrich our community’s culture, as well as develop a vested connection to the places we call home.
Eduardo Torres, Northern California Regional Coordinator
Eduardo has been organizing in his hometown of Bay Point with ACCE West Pittsburg for Progress for 3 years where the focus has been improving the quality of life in the unincorporated community. Eduardo’s educational background is in Recording Arts and his professional experience includes working in media and performing arts. Eduardo previously worked at Univision Communications for 9 years. He is excited to be organizing for tenants' rights in the East Bay, where low-income tenants and communities of color are facing increasing rising rents and displacement.
Shanti Singh, Communications and Legislative Director
Shanti Singh left the tech industry to work full-time in tenants' rights after organizing with renters in private, public and nonprofit housing, alongside housing justice groups in San Francisco. She formerly co-chaired the San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America and works on tenant & land use issues there, in addition to being a city commissioner for clean municipal energy and a board member of the San Francisco Community Land Trust. She's worked on several SF Board of Supervisors races, ballot measures, and most recently, the California and New York campaigns of Bernie Sanders. She has a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She's excited to be back for her second stint at Tenants Together to fight for every California tenant's right to a union through digital organizing, local ballot support, & state legislative advocacy.
Ryan Bell, Southern California Regional Coordinator
Ryan has been involved in organizing housing justice and other social justice campaigns in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley for the past 15 years. While he was a pastor in Los Angeles, he was a clergy organizer with LA Voice PICO and served as the chair of the clergy caucus for several years. Ryan has also been the Director of Community of Engagement at PATH (People Assisting the Homeless), and is currently a member organizer with the Pasadena Tenants Union and a Pasadena City Commissioner on the Northwest Commission. Ryan also volunteers as the humanist chaplain at the University of Southern California. where he has the privilege of working with college students as they sort through the complexities of forming an ethical worldview in our contemporary context. Ryan received his Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University and his doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Though today he is a secular humanist, the experience he gained in pastoral ministry still serves him in community organizing today.
Relisa Richardson, Hotline Coordinator
Relisa has been servicing the Southern California community for 9 years working for a non-profit organization prior to joining our team. She is passionate about equality and rights for all and brings her experience as well as educational background in organizational leadership to our team. Relisa believes in strong communication and collaboration and will utilize both of these as the leading way to assist with our mission and values here at Tenants Together.
Board of Directors
Steve Collier has been a staff attorney at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic in San Francisco since 1987, representing low-income tenants in all aspects of housing law. He specializes in affirmative tenant suits for wrongful eviction and habitability, and Ellis Act eviction defense. In addition to his work at Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Steve is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Golden Gate University School of Law.
Gen Fujioka, Director
Gen Fujioka is the Senior Policy Advocate at the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. Prior to this, Gen was the Director of Programs at the Asian Law Caucus, a San Francisco based nonprofit law office dedicated to serving the needs of Asian Pacific Americans. Gen joined the Caucus in 1989 and served as its lead attorney on land use, eviction, and housing development cases as well as on other civil rights matters. Previously, Gen also served as a staff attorney for five years with the Legal Aid Society of Santa Clara County.
Larry Gross, Director
Larry Gross is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES). He has been with CES for over 38 years, since its inception in 1973. CES is a grassroots, multi-racial, multi-ethnic tenants' rights organization serving low and moderate income renters throughout the greater Los Angeles area. CES' impressive track record includes leading campaigns to win rent control in the cities of Los Angeles and West Hollywood, among many other accomplishments. Larry has been selected to serve on many City housing task forces and committees over the years, most recently being appointed by the L.A. City Council to the City Rent Stabilization Ordinance Study Oversight Committee.
Michelle Kezirian, Director
Michelle Kezirian is the Director of Litigation and Policy Advocacy at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (NLSLA), and leader of the program’s Health Consumer Center (HCC). In addition to overseeing HCC’s numerous programs and projects, Kezirian directs NLSLA’s policy advocacy initiatives, cultivates strategic litigation across practice areas, and provides training/mentoring for NLSLA lawyers. Kezirian has a wide range of experience and expertise, having litigated numerous complex, multi-plaintiff cases. Kezirian also co-teaches at UCLA and USC Schools of Law, and serves as co-chair of the Pacific Council on International Policy’s GTMO task force.
Pahoua Lor, Director
Pahoua Lor is an attorney in private practice in Fresno. Until 2012, she was a Staff Attorney at Central California Legal Services where she assists clients with unlawful detainer defense and provides housing advocacy by working with a range of community groups. She has also served as Interim Director of The Southeast Asian Institute for Advancement, Fresno, CA. She is fluent in Hmong.