About Us

HouseUS is a pooled philanthropic fund working to help build and support the national movement for housing justice by centering the experience and leadership of people of color and the communities most impacted by housing insecurity.

We aim to address the root causes of housing inequality by supporting organizing, movement infrastructure, and federal campaign work to demand systemic change.

— Florida Housing Justice Alliance

We face a critical window of opportunity to fundamentally reshape how we approach housing in the United States.

While community-based groups have focused on building power to shift policy at the local and state level, it is increasingly evident that transformative change also needs to happen at the federal level, in both policy and investment. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the inherent links between health, housing, safety, and community like never before. Public opinion is recognizing that housing security is fundamental to economic security, our safety and health, and our ability to feel part of a community and participate in the democratic process. While Black, Latinx, Indigenous, immigrant, and other communities of color continue to be the most negatively impacted by housing insecurity, they still have the least say in the policies and investments that shape our lives.
We have an unprecedented opportunity to win breakthrough campaigns at the federal level and to strengthen community-led efforts to organize and advocate for just and equitable solutions. 

Governance

Kevin Simowitz (he/him)

Director

Kevin has worked for nearly two decades as an organizer, campaign manager, and political strategist. As a consultant, Kevin works with leading political and advocacy organizations to develop creative and successful campaign strategies for some of the most pressing legislative issues at the state and federal levels, and works with foundation funders to sharpen the ways that philanthropy can be of service to movement organizations.

Recently, he co-founded the All Due Respect project, to help create more sustainable jobs and institute stronger workplace standards for organizers.

Kevin worked as the Political Director at Caring Across Generations, where he helped pass a first-of-its-kind initiative to support family caregivers of older adults; as the Maine Small Business Coalition Director and Organizing Director with Maine People's Alliance, and as an organizer with Virginia Organizing. Kevin is a board member of Renew New England.

Martha Benduski (she/her)

Development and Grants Associate

Martha has worked in nonprofit management and communications over the last four years, specifically focusing on social policy and environmental justice. As the development and grants associate at HouseUS, she runs the operations, development, and grantmaking processes for the fund.

Prior to this role, Martha worked at the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. There, her multifaceted responsibilities included communications strategy, facilitating the development and coordination of research proposals, and addressing operational needs for the institute.

Early in her career, Martha worked on a program to implement sustainable behaviors in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. She also directed communications for Care About Climate, a youth-led fully volunteer organization in the climate movement that trained activists to engage in climate policy.

Syma Mirza
(she/her)

Senior Advisor

Syma has worked as a research, strategy, and grantmaking consultant for seven years, advising on institutional and funding strategies to large foundations, pooled funds, regranting institutions, program implementers, and advocacy organizations, including the Amplify Fund at Neighborhood Funders Group, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Open Society Foundations, Fund for Global Human Rights, and American Jewish World Service.

Previously, Syma worked as a Program Director at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative and a Program Officer at the Fund for Global Human Rights, where she managed grants and capacity-building for 60 human rights organizations in India, Pakistan, Thailand, and the Philippines. Early in her career, she worked as a lawyer in Washington, DC.

Advisory Committee

Santra Denis

Executive Director

Miami Workers Center

Anna Fink

Executive Director

Amalgamated Foundation

Jeremie Greer

Co-Executive Director

Liberation in a Generation

Jawanza Malone

Executive Director

Wieboldt Foundation

Syma Mirza

Senior ADvisor

HouseUS fund

Liz Ryan Murray

Project Director

Alliance for Housing Justice

Chimene Okere

Democratizing Development Program Director

Neighborhood Funders Group

Tara Raghuveer

Director, KC Tenants & Homes Guarantee Campaign Director

Kevin Ryan

Program Officer

Ford Foundation

Kevin Simowitz

Director

HouseUS fund

Funders & Partners