Tiny Home Summit 2.0 Speakers

Photos of speakers grouped by their scheduled panel are available on Speaker Photos.

Alphabetical by first name

Andrew Harrison

Andrew Harrison is a Chicago resident in the 47th ward and completed the first stand alone ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) in Chicago since 1957. Andrew and his husband Michael built the ADU to enable multi-generational living in their Lincoln Square home. Andrew is the head of U.S. Partnerships at BMO, and board member for the Law Center for Better Housing. He has spent 20 years in finance and banking focusing on commercial banking, payments, and technology and is passionate about creating more affordable housing opportunities in Chicago.

Angela D. Brooks, FAICP

Angela Brooks is the Director of the Illinois office of the Corporation for Supportive Housing. She currently serves on the Chicago Board of Zoning Appeals, the Illinois Affordable Housing Advisory Commission, and is co-chair of the national Housing Supply Accelerator helping communities meet the housing needs of residents. Brooks is a native of Seattle and a graduate of Jackson State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies, and the University of New Orleans, where she received a Master of Urban and Regional Planning. An active member of APA since graduate school, Brooks has held numerous leadership positions in the Housing and Community Development Division, Planning and the Black Community Division, Diversity Task Force, Washington Chapter, and co-chair of the Housing Policy Guide. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and The Links, Incorporated.

Bryan Esenberg

Bryan Esenberg, director, NHS Redevelopment Corp, has been instrumental in the implementation and development of affordable programs for homeownership, rental and neighborhood development across the city resulting in thousands of new and preserved affordable homes, revitalized communities, and healthier lives. At NHS, Esenberg is helping NHS to rehab homes citywide and develop two-flats for home ownership in East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Woodlawn and Englewood. Esenberg has worked for the city of Chicago in various leadership positions within the departments of Housing and Planning including Assistant Commissioner for Multifamily Development, Assistant Commissioner of Housing Preservation, Deputy Commissioner for MF Development and Housing Preservation, and Managing Deputy Commissioner for Housing Programs. One of only three U.S. cities empowered to allocate Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Esenberg oversaw the LIHTC allocation process in 2017 through 2021.

Carolyn K. Ross

Carolyn K. Ross is President & Chief Executive Officer of All Chicago Making Homelessness History. During her tenure she has brought together public and private sector leaders, nonprofit leaders, service partners and leaders with lived-experience to prioritize collaboration
and system-level impact in Chicago. She has worked with key stakeholders on numerous innovative strategies to address homelessness and secured additional resources to support the tremendous work of community partners during the pandemic to secure housing for our most vulnerable residents. She has years of experience working in the field of human services, focusing specifically on the causes that often lead to homelessness and developing strategies to help build community capacity. Ross currently serves on the Illinois Community Advisory Council on
Homelessness, Racial Equity Roundtable on Black Homelessness, the Illinois Commission to End Hunger, the 211 Metro Chicago Advisory Board, and the Chicago Continuum of Care.

Chris Shuttlesworth

Chris Shuttlesworth was born in Chicago Illinois and lived in Washington, D.C. 20-plus years. During time in D.C. while in college he started working in the environmental education field as a community organizer. He helped to organize the first Recycling Network in the early 1990s alongside Sierra Club, Urban Earth and other partners. He has been working in the environmental education and justice field for more than 25 years. He is the founder of Children’s Earth Foundation, Midwest Regional Coordinator for the National Union of the Homelessness, organizer for the Illinois Union of the Homeless, and Director of Transportation for Trek World USA.

Ciere Boatright

Ciere Boatright was appointed commissioner of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) in November 2023 by Mayor Brandon Johnson. An experienced real estate and economic development executive, Boatright is responsible for leading DPD’s economic development, planning and zoning functions while promoting inclusive, equitable growth across the city. In her previous capacity as vice president of real estate and community development at Chicago-based real estate firm CRG, Boatright was responsible for overseeing some of the company’s highest-impact real estate projects, collaborating with government officials, engaging with community organizations and securing public and private financing. Boatright also launched the company’s philanthropic arm and a mentoring program to support commercial developers of color. Boatright was formerly the vice president of real estate and inclusion for Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, where she managed the planning and development of new projects on the South and West Side, including more than $450 million in new investment involving the 180-acre, mixed-use Pullman Park project.

Dominique Chew

Dominique Chew (she/her) is the Housing Policy & Advocacy Manager at AIDS Foundation Chicago. Dominique works on housing policy issues at the city, state, and federal levels, promoting the message that housing is both healthcare and a human right. She’s proud to be part of a team and organization that works tirelessly to improve the lives of people living with and vulnerable to HIV and other chronic conditions. Prior to this role, she’s worked in immigration advocacy, organizing, and education. Previously at AFC, she worked with the Getting to Zero-IL team supporting their reentry focus area in their effort to end the HIV epidemic in Illinois by 2030.

Doug Schenkelberg

Doug Schenkelberg is the Executive Director of Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, a 44-year-old nonprofit that organizes and advocates to prevent and end homelessness because housing is a human right in a just society. CCH has successfully advocated for improved policies and funding to address homelessness throughout Illinois, while also providing free legal services to thousands of people experiencing homelessness. Doug has spent 25+ years focusing on social-justice work, with a primary focus on ensuring everyone has access to affordable, decent housing. Doug established institutions such as Forefront, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Heartland Alliance, and the Law Center for Better Housing.

DeWayne Elliot

DeWayne Elliot is a youth advocate, wishing peace and prosperity to others. “We are bigger than what we are going thru.” Member of the Flexible Housing Pool’s Lived Experience Youth group.

Emily Krisciunas

Emily Krisciunas is the inaugural Executive Director of Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness. CFTEH is a collaborative of 30+ funders working to prevent and end homelessness in the Chicago region. In her role, Emily convenes partners, aligns resources, and guides grantmaking through CFTEH’s Housing Justice Fund. Prior to her role with CFTEH, Emily served as Deputy Policy Director in the Chicago Mayor’s Office where she worked on issues related to housing and homelessness. She holds a BA in English and Sociology from the University of Notre Dame and an MPA from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.

Grace B. Hou

Grace B. Hou is Deputy Governor for Health and Human Services for Governor JB Pritzker. She works closely with members of the Health and Human Services cabinet whose agencies reach every corner of Illinois improving the lives of millions of individuals and families across the state. Previous to that, in 2019, Grace was appointed to serve on Governor JB Pritzker’s Cabinet as the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services. Under her leadership, the team at IDHS made notable achievements, including leading Illinois to attain one of the highest response rates for the 2020 Census; launching the state’s inaugural gun violence prevention office; ensuring that families and children have food on their tables and access to public health insurance; elevating people with lived experience with mental illness to share their pathways to recovery; protecting hundreds of community providers; and saving countless lives during COVID-19. IDHS continues to support the City of Chicago’s efforts to resettle asylum seekers being transported to Chicago and other sanctuary cities. Grace has served as the President of Woods Fund Chicago, as Executive Director of the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, and she is on the boards of Healthy Communities Foundation and American Public Human Services Association, among others. 

Graham Grady

Graham Grady is a land use, real estate, and government affairs lawyer at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. In the area of affordable housing, Graham has represented developers in land acquisition, new construction, incentives, and project financing. Previous positions serving the City of Chicago include: ex-officio member of the Chicago Plan Commission, Commissioner of Buildings, Zoning Administrator, Executive Director of the Private Industry Council, and Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Housing Authority. He was appointed by Chicago Mayor Johnson to his transition committee focusing on economic development and community empowerment. Graham was appointed by Illinois Governor Pritzker as a Regent of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Graham also holds positions appointed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Illinois Attorney General Kaume Raoul, and Illinois Attorney General Suzanna Mendoza.

Inti Gonzalez

Inti Gonzalez has been engaged in empowerment-focused organizing and creative work supporting unsheltered and underserved people for the last seven years. Inti led organizational efforts to build Youth Spirit Artwork’s Oakland Tiny House Empowerment Village. She brought the message of empowerment to events through public speaking, appearances at area congregations, depictions through her murals, and designing an array of materials for direct dissemination in the community. She served as a Leader for YSA’s Street Spirit homeless newspaper, facilitating the expressive voices of unhoused people through designing media covers and illustrations; and by creating powerful graphic arts images. At Tiny Village, Spirit Inti is a key organizer engaged in training our 12-member Youth Organizing Team in hard and soft skills, assisting with organizing volunteer “build” days, sharing with the media, and engaged in project management.

Jamie Zachary

Jamie Zachary has responsibility for directing the operations of Central Dallas CDC which includes establishing and maintaining relationships with donors, financial institutions, governmental agencies, investor partners and other non-profits. Jamie and the board are responsible for ensuring that Central Dallas CDC receives community support to pursue its vision of providing affordable housing to indigent and homeless people in Dallas, Texas. Jamie has over 20 years of experience in banking, construction, and hospitality. Prior to joining Central Dallas CDC, he was the CFO with broad responsibilities at The Petroleum Club of Oklahoma City. Jamie has a bachelor’s degree in finance from The University of Central Oklahoma and received his master’s degree in leadership and organizational development from Oklahoma Christian University.

Jahkil Jackson

Jahkil Jackson is a 2-time best-selling author, youth-philanthropist, social-entrepreneur, student-athlete, influencer and founder of Project I Am, a nonprofit organization he created when he was 8 years old to build awareness to homelessness. Now 16, Jahkil has already earned a reputation for himself as one of the world’s most influential changemakers by President Barack Obama. Jahkil has led Project I Am’s efforts in raising over $550,000 for the unhoused to impact over 135,000 men, women and children globally. Jahkil has recruited over 1,500 youth changemakers to distribute to those in need in Chicago, LA, Washington D.C., Atlanta, London and more. Jahkil was tapped to participate in Disney’s Be Inspired Black History Campaign, Lebron James’ #AlwaysBelieve 2018 campaign, Nike’s Until We All Win & You Can’t Stop Our Voice campaigns and is now a Marvel Super Hero, CNN Hero Young Wonder and Tedx Talk speaker. His philanthropy has also led to partnerships with the NBA, Nike, Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation, Invisalign, Crate & Barrel and The Gap and was featured on Jennifer Hudson Show, the Today Show, New York Times and named one of BET’s 15 under 15.

Joseph Peery

Joseph Peery is formally homeless, and currently living in public housing in the Cabrini Green area. He is an organizer and founding member of the Illinois Union of the Homeless. He is a political education director for the National Union of the Homeless and a founding member of the Chicago Gary Area Union of the Homeless from the 1980s. He is also a member of SEIU’s retiree committee, local HCIIMK.

Kim Hunt

Kim L. Hunt has used her platforms in storytelling, public speaking, and civic engagement to curate brave, inclusive spaces for social change for nearly 30 years. She is currently the Executive Director of Pride Action Tank (PAT), a project of AIDS Foundation Chicago, where she also serves as the Vice President of Special Projects and Innovation in the Policy & Advocacy department. Kim drives the innovation, collaboration and learning necessary to make PAT a leader in improving the health, safety and progress of individuals and groups within the LGBTQ+ community. She serves on the AMA Foundation LGBTQ+ Health Fellowship Commission, was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Illinois Council on Aging and Illinois Commission on LGBTQ+ Aging Issues, and by the Mayor to serve on the Chicago LGBTQ+ Advisory Council, is on the board of several organizations, and is a founding co-host of OUTSpoken: LGBTQ Storytelling!

Kristin Faust

Kristin L. Faust was appointed Executive Director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) effective 2019. As the state’s chief housing official, she leads the Authority’s wide-ranging efforts to finance the creation and preservation of affordable housing throughout Illinois. She is also a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago’s Community Investment Advisory Council and was reappointed for a second term in 2022 where she advises the bank on ways in which it can better carry out its housing finance and community investment missions in Illinois. Kristin has held senior leadership positions in the public, private and nonprofit sectors for 30+ years. Prior to joining IHDA, she had served as President of Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, Chief Credit Officer at Partners for the Common Good, and President of the Enterprise Community Loan Fund. She also spent 15 years in community banking in Chicago and started the Community Development Lending Department at LaSalle National Bank.  

Lissette Castañeda

Lissette Castañeda comes to the role of DOH commissioner with two decades of experience in affordable housing development, housing services, and organizational leadership. Castañeda is tasked with streamlining the affordable housing development process as per Mayor Brandon Johnson’s recent executive order and expanding homeownership to Chicagoans in historically disinvested communities. Castañeda has served as the Executive Director for LUCHA, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved housing counseling agency as well as a Community Housing Development Organization since 2019, overseeing its affordable real estate portfolio and leading implementation of its strategic plan. Castañeda has served on a number of boards including Palenque LSNA, Chicago Housing Trust, Illinois Housing Council and the Chicago Rehab Network. For Castañeda, stable, affordable housing is a cornerstone of community safety, economic development and mental health.

Maria Hadden

Maria Hadden, alderwoman of the 49th Ward, is the first Black, queer woman elected to Chicago City Council. A servant-leader with a background in community organizing and participatory democracy, Maria is an independent, progressive champion of the people in the City Council. She represents the 49th Ward—dubbed, “Little Chicago,” because of the racial, ethnic, and economic demographics that most reflect Chicago’s diversity. She serves as the Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus and Chairwoman of the Committee on Environmental Protection and Energy. She is also a member of both the Aldermanic Black Caucus and the LGBTQ Caucus—the nation’s largest.

Nadia Underhill

Nadia Underhill works to increase urban equity through the development and management of permanent supportive housing and related advocacy. Nadia joined Thresholds as Vice President of Housing and Real Estate in 2018. Her division at Thresholds manages more than 650 permanent supportive housing units and 420 scattered-site vouchers, most targeted at individuals living with mental illness. Previously, as Director of Real Estate Development for Heartland Housing, she and her team created and preserved more than 800 units of affordable housing, including more than 250 units of permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness.

Natalie Morehead

Natalie Morehead is a mother of three, a medical assistant/phlebotomist, and an organizer for the National Illinois Union of the Homeless. She is a member of the University of the Poor, and also works with Attcom as a government benefits specialist, as well as a server at ATTCOM food pantry. “As a person who was formerly homeless, I made it my mission to try and help to put an end to homelessness and find ways to ensure a world where homelessness is not an ongoing issue or problem. Motto: All things are possible with God.”

Neena Hemmady

Neena Hemmady is on the board of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights and the Steering Committee of the South Asian Solidarity Movement. Neena is an environmental engineer, and a 25-year veteran of the electric utility industry serving in roles working on climate change mitigation, electrification, and helping to enable the clean energy transition. She co-founded Khuli Zaban, an organization for South & West Asian Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender women in Chicago. Over the years, Neena has been involved in organizing efforts to help advance equity and human rights for all people—including LGBTQ+ people, young people, people of color, and immigrants and refugees. Among others, she has volunteered for the Crossroads Fund, Equality Illinois, and the City of Chicago’s Advisory Council on Gay & Lesbian Issues. 

Nneka Onwuzurik

First Deputy on the Business and Neighborhood Development, Mayor’s Office

Ralph Neis

With over 15 years of specialized experience in property management, affordable housing, real estate, tiny house villages, and enhanced shelter programs, Ralph Neis, from the Seattle: Low Income Housing Institute, offers a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies involved in managing diverse housing initiatives. His expertise extends to overseeing the development, acquisition, and rehabilitation of various housing properties, including those funded through Tax Credits, Bond, State, City, HUD, and other government programs. As a multilingual professional with advanced certifications in risk management, regulatory compliance, data analysis, accounting, and asset management, Ralph is adept at implementing strategic initiatives to ensure the safety, stability, and sustainability of shelter programs. With his profound commitment to addressing homelessness, he drives initiatives at the forefront of shelter program management and affordable housing solutions. He is equipped to deliver insightful perspectives on leveraging innovative solutions to address the evolving needs of individuals experiencing homelessness and to drive positive outcomes in community development efforts.”

Rory Rubin

As the female founder and CEO of S.I. Container Builds, Rory Rubin’s mission was to create and lead a business focused on solving a problem in the sustainable building world. She spends much of her leadership time educating communities, individuals and building modalities around modular, prefab business with a bent towards a softer footprint. Her business has attracted significant attention from across the country because of her partnerships with such organizations as Boris L. Henson Foundation (actor Taraji P. Henson) and Petite Retreats (an ELS company). She founded her company with a mission to “DO GOOD” by delivering resilient, eco-friendly and affordable structures, without compromising quality and beauty. The very first tiny container homes built in Cook County were just recently placed, showcasing that this is just the beginning. Be it for tiny homes, ADU’s for backyards or commercial intentions, building out of recycled steel in SI Container Build IL warehouse is here to stay.

Sally Hindman

Sally Hindman has been engaged in interfaith work to create justice with and for homeless and unsheltered persons in the Bay Area for the last thirty-four years. She currently serves as the Coordinator of Tiny Village Spirit project, working with constituents and the interfaith religious community to promote tiny house villages serving unsheltered people around the Bay Area and the U.S. Among other endeavors, the Tiny Village Spirit project is building a youth tiny house village, farm and garden in Richmond, California. In 2007, Hindman founded Youth Spirit Artworks, a youth-led jobs training organization, where she served as Executive Director for fifteen years. In 2016, Youth Spirit leaders initiated efforts to create its Tiny House Empowerment Village, as part of a “100 Homes for Homeless Youth” Campaign, responding to the dire affordable housing crisis faced by young people locally.

Sam Young

Sam Young is the HUB Director for the Economic Market Analysis Division (EMAD) in HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research. EMAD initiates and coordinates policy and operating strategy for the Department’s field economists and provides data support, technical instruction, oversight of published reports, training, management support, and administrative supervision. Sam has spent the past 14 years in the Office of Economic Affairs. He started as a Field Economist in the Economic Market Analysis Division in 2010 in Denver, eventually becoming a Senior Economist in that Division. He then served as the Midwest Regional Director from 2018 through 2023 and managed the Northwest and Rocky Mountain regions during that time. He now serves as the HUB Director.

Sendy Liseth Soto

Sendy Liseth Soto has been appointed as the City of Chicago’s first Chief Homelessness Officer (CHO) by Mayor Brandon Johnson. Soto will coordinate across city departments and sister agencies, developing a five-year plan to address the homelessness needs in Chicago. Soto’s leadership will center on the dignity and humanity of our unhoused neighbors. Soto’s background includes: Senior Director of Addressing Critical Needs at The Chicago Community Trust, where she implemented a $2 million housing and homelessness grant program and expanded the impact of public safety initiatives. Managing Deputy Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Housing, where she secured a $42 million budget for the first-ever Community Engagement, Racial Equity, and Strategic Initiatives Bureau. Spearheading the country’s first Racial Equity Impact Assessment on the Qualified Allocation Plan for the City’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Appointment by Governor J.B. Pritzker as a Commissioner on the Logan Square, Avondale Hermosa Expanded Mental Health Services Program Commission, advocating for an affordable mental health service center for local residents.

Sol Flores

Sol Flores is CEO of the Knight Family Foundation in Chicago. Prior to this, she was Illinois’ Deputy Governor. Flores is the founding Executive Director of La Casa Norte, a non-profit organization established in 2002 that has served more than 30,000 youth and families confronting homelessness. Flores built La Casa Norte from two employees with a $200,000 annual budget to an 80-employee, multi-million-dollar organization that delivers inspiration, hope, and critical services to the lives of homeless families, single parents, victims of domestic violence and abandoned youth. Among her other efforts, Flores has served on the board of directors at the Latino Policy Forum, The Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund, Community Renewal Society, Hispanic Housing Development Corporation and Kuumba Lynx.

Steven Vance

Steven Vance is an urban planner and founder and CEO of Chicago Cityscape, the primary source for data about properties, buildings, and land use policies in Chicago. He also co-founded Streetsblog Chicago, a news and opinion blog about active and sustainable transportation. Steven has been studying, analyzing, and writing about land use and transportation since 2007, when keeping a blog was the writing assignment for his first urban planning class at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Steven is also a member of Urban Environmentalists Illinois, a group that promotes policy changes to support housing abundance.

Taylor Kiely

Taylor Kiely (she/her/hers) holds the position of Senior Community Planning and Development (CPD) Representative within the Office of Community Planning and Development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).She oversees the administration of several prominent homelessness programs, including Continuum of Care (CoC) and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG). Taylor also offers support and technical assistance to national, state, and local level homelessness initiatives as part of her role in HUD CPD. Prior to her tenure at HUD CPD, Taylor served as a policy analyst for a technical assistance organization specializing in homeless programming. Preceding this, she worked as a housing coordinator for a HUD-funded permanent supportive housing program in Chicago.

Tim Swanson

Tim Swanson is the founder and CEO of Inherent L3C as well as the President of Inherent NPF, a nationally award-winning community reinvestment organization that aligns thriving wage career creation, direct community business investment and meaningful homeownership through sustainable and affordable modular smart homes into thriving local economies. He has led large architecture, engineering and construction companies locally and internationally; and having lived and practiced in Abu Dhabi, rural India, New York and Chicago, with projects that span six continents, Tim brings a unique, global perspective to his local work.

Tracee Henneke

Tracee Henneke has worked in the nonprofit industry for 22 years and has been fundraising for over 18 years. Tracee is a passionate advocate for those experiencing homelessness. She has learned from many friends on the streets throughout her life and career in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and currently, Austin. As the Director of Relationships & Giving for Mobile Loaves & Fishes in Austin, Texas, Tracee provides strategic leadership in relationship building and fund development to advance the mission and vision of the organization. The vision of Mobile Loaves & Fishes is to empower communities into a lifestyle of service with the homeless. This vision is embedded in Tracee’s philosophy of fundraising as an invitation to be a part of what the organization is doing for the homeless in Austin and in Community First! Village, a 51-acre master planned community for the formerly chronically homeless. 

Tracy Baim

Tracy Baim the director of Tiny Home Summit 2.0; she coordinated the first tiny home summit in 2016. She is co-founder and owner of Windy City Times and former publisher of the Chicago Reader. Baim has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Chicago Headline Club and the Chicago Journalists Association. In 2014, she was inducted into the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Association for Women Journalists-Chicago Chapter Hall of Fame in 2018. She is also in the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. She has won numerous LGBTQ community and journalism honors, including the Community Media Workshop’s Studs Terkel Award in 2005 and the Lambda Legal Bon Foster Award in 2023. Baim has written and/or edited 13 books. Baim is the founder of the Pride Action Tank and the Illinois LGBT Chamber of Commerce. She received the American Institute of Architects-Chicago Presidential Citation Award in 2016 for her work on tiny homes for the homeless. 

Zarria Alexander

Zarria Alexander is a proud member of the Flexible Housing Pool’s Lived Experience Youth group. She is a devoted mother and published author. Born and raised in Chicago, she has been working alongside many community-based programs aiming to improve community engagement. Zarria continues to participate in local community events and hopes to become a well-known involved individual to her community.