Meet the Staff
Rusty worked as the Executive Director of the Council of Community Services, which was like Nashville's Chamber of Commerce for Social Services, for 15 years prior to coming to Urban Housing Solutions. The Tennessee Conference of Social Workers recognized him as the State Advocate of the Year, and he served for years as Vice President of the National Association of Planning Councils. Rusty also did a short stint as a social worker for the Department of Human Services. He earned a Master's Degree in International Development after spending 2 years in the Peace Corps and the InterAmerican Foundation, in addition to an international fellowship through Partners of the Americas. Rusty says he works for UHS because it gives him a chance to use his entrepreneurial drive in a way that will benefit people outside the normal economy . . .it lets him be a "social capitalist." His strangest moment working for Urban Housing came, as he says, "when we were pressuring a loan shark to leave our residents alone and he said that he only charged them 100%/month so that they wouldn't borrow from him!!!" Rusty was selected as the CEO of the Year, sponsored by the Bank of America, in 2008.
Director of Administration
Brandi earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Austin Peay State University in 2004. She works for Urban Housing Solutions because it gives her the opportunity to wear many organizational hats—grant writing and compliance, human resource management, event planning, marketing and public relations, and the day-to-day issues that arise with affordable housing. She says that working at UHS forces you to get over your misperceptions about people who are homeless, mentally ill, physically disabled, or otherwise "different" from you and realize how much alike you really are. She is a graduate of the 2006-07 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Emerging Leaders Program.
Alan Mazer is a 1974 graduate of Vanderbilt Law School and has been a practicing real estate lawyer for 34 years. He has been active in the non-profit community for his entire career, serving as a volunteer and board member of the Temple, Tennessee Special Olympics, Buddies of Nashville, Hillel, Matthew 25, Habitat for Humanity, and Opportunities Industrialization Center. In addition, he served as President of the volunteer board of Urban Housing Solutions for 10 years! He joined us as General Counsel in April 2008.
Laura graduated from the University of Tennessee—Knoxville in 1979, returned to school in 2004, and earned her CPA license in 2008. She loves working for an organization that takes action against seemingly overwhelming problems with practical, concrete solutions.
Aaron attended the U.S. Army Meteorology School; earned a BA in Bible, Philosophy, and History from Anderson University; and an MA in Old Testament Studies from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. His computer days started when he taught himself BASIC on a Commodore 64 in the 80s. He started building PCs from scratch in the late 90s and enjoys software development for gaming companies in his free time. He works at UHS because he likes learning about technology, figuring out how to use it, and then teaching others about it.
Brian works in the administration department, where he manages resident data and generates performance reports for our funders. His previous roles at Urban Housing Solutions have included directing the Journeys of Hope program, providing case management services to our HIV-positive residents, and directing our resident services staff. Brian is an Aquinas College alumnus and did graduate studies at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. He is a devoted dad to daughter Min Xi, adopted from China in 2005. Brian also played guitar for a nearly-famous Southern rock band in the late 1970s – but he’ll never tell you who it was.
Leasing and Property Management:
Brent helps develop new projects and manages capital improvements at Urban Housing Solutions properties. He joined UHS in June 2006 because, in his words, "we are the most innovative and committed affordable housing provider in Nashville.” Brent is a LEED-accredited professional and a member of Urban Land Institute-Nashville’s Sustainability Committee, and holds a BA in Philosophy from The George Washington University and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Maryland.
Yolanda loves working at Urban Housing Solutions. She appreciates how the company provides services for low-income families and homeless people. In her first few months here, she was amazed to hear what led some of our residents to homelessness and how much they appreciate the help they received from Urban Housing Solutions. Yolanda has a diploma as a medical office specialist and has received training in HIPAA, CPR, and OSHA. Her passion is helping others.
May says she is a "student, wife, mother, worker, teacher, case manager, service coordinator, and friend." She states she works for Urban Housing Solutions because it "allows me to work in a caring community helping individuals make a home; receive benefits and services; and find work and friends." Her most touching moment came when "a very loud, non-compliant resident who demanded constant attention brought me a one-winged angel holding a child and told me, "This is you, May. You take care of me." May is a member of the American Association of Service Coordinators.
Gina has worked in "caring" agencies since her graduation from high school, from a group home for abandoned and abused teens to a mental health center and finally to Urban Housing Solutions. She was introduced to UHS in 1991 through an independent vocational rehabilitation contract in which she assisted disabled individuals in finding employment. She says, "I fell in love with the residents and ideals of Urban Housing Solutions, and they haven't been able to get rid of me since." Gina's most touching moment came when she had a resident who was dying and had lost contact with family. She located the family by using the Internet, made contact, and the family came to visit the resident on Christmas. The resident passed away 2 days later and said he "could go now, he was at peace"; he got to say "I love you" to his mother. Gina earned her designation as a Professional Service Coordinator by the American Association of Service Coordinators in 2007.
Health Services Coordinator
Traci Patton, a native Nashvillian, is a proud mother of one teenage son. A graduate of Western Kentucky University, she was a member of the women's basketball team that went to two NCAA Final Four tournaments! She received her Master's degree from Trevecca Nazarene University in Counseling and was a mental health therapist in residential settings for youth for several years. She has worked in the non-profit community for the last 18 years. In her spare time (which isn't much!) she coaches an AAU Boy's Basketball team. Her hobbies are sports (loves the Titans!), reading, and pretending she can do HGTV projects! Traci now serves as our Health Services Coordinator, a liaison between our residents and their health providers. Traci helps educate residents more fully when they have a difficult time understanding their medical situations, medicines, or doctor's instructions. She communicates with doctors concerning individual residents if a problem arises and also coordinates health fairs and nursing student visits.
Jennifer Stoops is a native New Yorker who received her B.A. in English from S.U.N.Y. New Paltz and later relocated to the Boston area to earn her M.A. in World Missions from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She has been working in social services since 1997 and has a great love for serving people that are far too often isolated, ostracized, and neglected. On Boston's North Shore she filled the role of Home Based Counselor for Family Continuity, a non-profit mental health agency for whom she delivered theraputic, intensive case management, and care coordination services to diverse populations of people with various needs. Jennifer is excited about her new Service Coordinator position at UHS because she is particularly interested in assiting people in leading stable and successful lives in the community and believes this is one of the most noble professions one can pursue. Empowering people to break out of the cycle of poverty, addiction and incarceration is one of her greatest passions. Her other interests include music, literature/poetry, nature, traveling, and the arts.
Willie was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas and moved to Tennessee in 1997. He's the eldest of his three siblings. He worked in the hotel industry most of his adult life. He enjoys people because he believes God speaks through the people we meet. He works at UHS because he's able to help people just like himself—those who have the same issues and some of the same life experiences. His best moments at UHS occur when someone he comes into contact with becomes better—sometimes getting income or health care that they otherwise would have had no hope of getting. Then, he says, his belief that things will be better starts to grow.
Sonny worked for 9 years at two different companies building houses and doing punchouts and homeowner services. He also installed and serviced windows and doors for 15 years. He came to work for Urban Housing Solutions because he was looking for a service-oriented job with a wide variety of challenges. He enjoys the teamwork of his fellow employees.
Randell Laney, Sr.
Eddie attended MTSU and holds a Universal HVAC certification. He enjoys our residents and his coworkers and the daily routine typical of our maintenance staff. Working in Nashville’s urban sector offers him an experience that’s much different from his rural upbringing. One of his favorite memories is spending time after work with our former property manager, Michael, playing “full contact” darts. He says that Michael couldn’t compete with him playing regular darts because he couldn’t see well enough, so Michael would run toward the board to punch out at darts while Eddie would attempt to knock him down as he did. Eddie laughs that this resulted in a number of torn shirts and a broken cell phone. Eddie is married and lives in Wilson County.
Sandy is proud to work at UHS because it’s given her the opportunity to prove herself, get back on her feet, and start to regain her self-confidence. She works with some of the nicest people she knows. When she’s not busy keeping our offices tidy, she loves to clean her apartment, cook, and take long walks.