YAH! is led by a small and passionate steering committee comprised of the following eight members. We are a non-hierarchical and collaborative group striving to bring open communication, empathy, new ideas, and positive energy to the fight for affordable housing.
Chirag Gunvantbhai Bhakta is an organizer with an affordable housing developer in the Mission. He, the son of rural farmers from India, is a born-and-raised San Franciscan who has been organizing since university, and in the Mission District for the last 4 years. He views gentrification as an apex issue for our generation, and seeks justice in all endeavors.
Erin cut her teeth on housing policy and politics working as Communications Manager for the Council of Community Housing Organizations, the coalition for San Francisco's non-profit, community-based affordable housing developers, service providers, and tenants' rights organizations. She now coordinates YAH!'s steering committee and dreams of the day when housing is about people and communities, not profit. When she's not ranting to friends and strangers about housing justice, Erin is working on her complicated relationship with her sourdough starter, Alastar, and hiking medium-sized hills with her medium-sized dog, Rocket.
Javier serves as Community Organizer for Community Housing Partnership. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz in Community Studies. Javier has a passion for ending homelessness and fighting mass incarceration.
Marilyn is a community organizer with People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights, PODER where she focuses on community planned people powered solutions, anti-displacement initiatives, and building strong relationships with low-income immigrant community members. She was born and raised in San Francisco's Mission District where she organizes and has been for more than 10 years on issues ranging from environmental justice, civic engagement and housing. Marilyn has traveled across the nation and internationally to learn more about social justice within different communities on how people are surviving and thriving amidst everyday injustices they face.
Samantha splits her time between TODCO as the Community Advocacy Manager and Baird + Driskell Community Planning as an Associate Planner. After working on sustainability issues for several years, she was drawn to affordable housing advocacy by the link between urban sustainability efforts and gentrification, and now dreams of neighborhoods that are both green and equitable in their service of everyone. When she isn't at work, you can find Samantha throwing bowls at the ceramics studio or tending her many rescue plants.
Shanti grew up in Pittsburgh and got started in her teen years at education research, health NGO, refugee resettlement, and Latinx community nonprofits while studying economics and political science at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s been organizing around tenants’ rights and affordable housing issues since relocating to the Bay Area, most recently with the 2015 Aaron Peskin for Supervisor and 2016 Sandra Lee Fewer for Supervisor campaigns in San Francisco, as well as with the SF chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. She is currently the Communications and Development Coordinator at Tenants Together.
Steven was born and raised in Hawaii and found his way to San Francisco for school at USF. He's now a campaign database expert and is freakishly good at predicting election outcomes. His housing knowledge is so sharp that we had to ban him from our housing trivia nights.