Kansas City Eviction Project is a collaborative effort involving researchers, community organizers, neighborhood leaders, lawyers, and policymakers. We aim to advance a housing justice agenda in Kansas City and to build sustainable political power with people affected by housing injustice.

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Tara Raghuveer is an organizer and researcher whose work has focused on housing, immigration, and voting rights. A Kansas City native, Tara has studied eviction in the five-county metro area for five years. She is currently the Housing Campaign Director at People’s Action, a national network of grassroots organizations committed to economic and racial justice. Prior to joining People’s Action, Tara was the Deputy Director of the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), a coalition of the nation’s 37 largest immigrant rights organizations. Tara has been featured in outlets such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, Washington Post, NPR, The Guardian, and Slate. She has also written for TIME and VICE, and her research on eviction and poverty in Kansas City is cited in the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Evicted. Tara graduated from Harvard College, where she served as student body president. She is an Australian-born, Indian-American immigrant who came to the US with her family in 1995.

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Diane Charity

Mrs. Charity is a 30+ year Community Activist / Organizer in Kansas City, MO. Her career background includes Neighborhood Mobilizer Supervisor, Team Leader for KCMO’s City Planning’s Neighborhood Strategic Planning Initiative (FOCUS), Mental Health First Aid instructor; Life Skills, Effective Parenting, Child Abuse Protection workshop facilitator, school advisor and community liaison. Diane’s passion is to build stronger relationships where civic participation drives community equity. She serves as Board Chair for Kansas City Public Television’s Community Advisory Board, founding and current member of Crossroads Charter Schools, past and current President of several (Urban Core) Neighborhood Associations.

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Gina Chiala is the Executive Director and Staff Attorney for the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom. Gina has years of experience with both social justice campaigns and public interest litigation. Since co-founding the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom, Gina has conducted numerous legal rights workshops for nonprofit organizations that work with underpaid workers, she helped establish a tenant's rights clinic at the Jackson County courthouse, and she is partnering with lawyers in the community to hold businesses accountable for gross workplace and consumer abuse.

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Evie Craig is the executive director and CEO of reStart Inc., an organization which provides housing and supportive services to help homeless men, women, youth and families move toward independence and self-sufficiency with the goal of ending homelessness in our community. Evie holds a master’s in English from Indiana University Bloomington.



Jed Dougherty is a lead data scientist at Dataiku. He has a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. He is skilled in R, SQL, Python, ETL, and machine learning. He is experienced with spark, hive, and the Hadoop ecosystem.



John Ezekowitz is a Vice President at Bain Capital Credit where he has worked since 2013. Prior to Bain, John spent three years working as a basketball analytics consultant for the Phoenix Suns and has had his analytics work published in Sports Illustrated, the Wall St. Journal and Grantland. John received an A.B. magna cum laude in economics from Harvard College.



Shannon Jaax currently serves as the Director of Planning & Real Estate Services for Kansas City Public Schools, where she oversees the district’s planning efforts and manages the Repurposing Initiative, a nationally-recognized community-driven effort to repurpose 30 closed school sites. Shannon’s career has focused on community and economic development in the public, private and non-profit sectors. She served as a planner for the city of Kansas City, MO, and managed neighborhood revitalization programs at Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI). Shannon also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Slovakia where she developed a micro-lending program for rural women. Jaax currently serves as the Past President for the Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA), Co-Chair of the APA Public Schools Interest Group, and on the Advisory Boards for the University of Missouri at Kansas City, School of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, and the Kansas City Design Center. Shannon received a Master of Planning degree from the University of Southern California and a BSBA in International Business and Finance from American University, Washington DC.

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Lora McDonald is the Executive Director of MORE2 (Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity). McDonald has successfully organized to win these criminal justice issues: Ban the Box (in KCMO, KCKS, and Johnson County, KS); Ban the Ban (eliminating the lifetime ban on food stamps for Missourians with drug offenses); removed the words “Registered Offender” from Kansas ID’s/ Driver’s Licenses; and modified the Liquor License City ordinance in KCMO, three times, to make more jobs available to people with felony convictions. In her current job at MORE2 McDonald addresses the spectrum of issues from education to workforce, from classism to racism that led to mass incarceration. McDonald lives in Kansas City with her 14-year-old son. She is a member of Community Christian Church. McDonald earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Missouri.

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Dina Newman is the Director of the UMKC Center for Neighborhoods in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design (AUPD). Before her role at the Center, Dina was the Health Initiatives Manager and Advocate for Change at the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, a not-for-profit neighborhood improvement organization located in the Ivanhoe Neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. In partnership with several local and national organizations, Dina’s role included developing and implementing advocacy strategies that promoted and increased health, wealth and social equity in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.



Brent works at the Local Investment Commission in Kansas City. LINC is an organization which serves low-income communities in the Kansas City area primarily by considering schools as the centers of neighborhoods and communities. He has an extensive background in journalism including stints at The Associated Press, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Business Journal and The Budapest Business Journal. Brent is a graduate of Grinnell College and the London School of Economics. He is deeply involved in community issues including energy, libraries, and local and regional history.

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Carolyn Stein is a PhD candidate at MIT studying economics. She graduated from Harvard in 2013 with a BA in applied math and economics, and spent two years working in finance before starting her PhD. Her research interests lie at the intersection of labor and behavioral economics, with a particular focus and inequality and discrimination.

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Dr. Jacob A. Wagner is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning + Design, the Director of the Urban Studies Program, and Faculty Director of the UMKC Center for Neighborhoods. Dr. Wagner teaches courses in urban planning and urban studies focused on neighborhood planning, equity and community development in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design (AUPD). He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Urban Design and the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). He served on the Vacant Lot Task Force for the Environmental Management Commission of the City of Kansas City, MO and currently serves on the Board of Cultivate KC.

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Sam is a software developer and data scientist and is the CTO and co-founder of the travel start-up Freebird. At Freebird Sam leads the data science team developing the technology and predictive analytics that power Freebird. Previously, Sam worked as a quantitative risk analyst in the currency markets, as a team lead automating a large-scale data classification problem for an energy intelligence company, and on a grant in decision theory through MIT’s artificial intelligence group. Sam is a graduate of Duke University. In his free time Sam walk dogs, works in with grey parrots studying animal cognition, and teaches Sunday school.

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