—  Keys Unlock Dreams —  Baker Ripley Neighborhood Center

Speaker: Laurie Benner ofNational Fair Housing Allowance
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the voice of fair housing. NFHA works to eliminate housing discrimination and to ensure equal housing opportunity for all people through leadership, education, outreach, membership services, public policy initiatives, community development, advocacy, and enforcement.

Main Talk:  Keys Unlock Dreams
Laurie will join us virtually.

Musician:              Robert Kuhn

Speaker Bio:
Laurie Benner is responsible for developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating innovative national programs designed to advance research, programs, and policies that provide equitable access to homeownership, housing, economic, and other opportunities. Her primary focus is to spearhead the Keys Unlock Dreams initiative – a 10-city program aimed at expanding affordable and fair housing options; increasing the homeownership rate and related benefits for people and communities of color; preventing an unbalanced recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and closing the racial wealth and homeownership gaps.

Laurie is a seasoned housing and nonprofit professional with experience in financial management, strategic planning, communications, organizational development, land conservation, grant management, real estate development, affordable housing, community outreach, program development, financial literacy, fair housing, diversity issues, foundation management, and consumer education. Prior to joining NFHA, Laurie served as the Director of Housing Programs for Maryland REALTORS®, the largest professional trade association in the state. Her team focused on programs serving first-time and moderate-income homebuyers, fair housing, education, industry outreach, communications, and public policy work.

Laurie holds a Bachelor’s in Legal Studies, a Master’s in Nonprofit and Association Management, and an MBA. She is a trained mediator and experienced facilitator. Laurie also serves on several nonprofit organizations’ boards and committees. She lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her two daughters.

Musician Bio:        
Multicultural poet and musician Robert Kuhn was born in Houston, Texas and moved back in 2010 after bouncing around the world for twelve years. Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua all played home for him as different doors, jobs, occupations and art forms opened and led him on from an academic all-American line backer to a vagabond fisherman farmer writing the songs and words he has carried throughout the Americas. Broken hearts, broken backs, failed marriages, violence, riches, drugs, labor, poverty, music, poetry, dirt and salt; so it goes and continues.

 Back in Houston, Robert joined forces with like-minded musicians (including extraterrestrial ancient bluesman Little Joe Washington and recorded the album “Everybody Knows”. It was Little Joe’s last studio work and recognized by the press as one of Houston’s Top Releases of 2014. The latest album, “Maria the Gun” was released in September of 2017 during Hurricane Harvey and has garnered recognition from critics and community radio stations all over the place.

 Robert currently lives in Galveston, Houston, and on the road, where he is still sharing with the world the honest and independent folk, blues and world psyche-rock and roll Americana music that he writes and finds. 

For your safety, Masks REQUIRED for ALL individuals.  We will be requiring all people ages 2 and older to wear masks indoors.

Additionally - Bring proof of vaccination!

In order to keep all participants safe, we will be observing the following:

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days, are waiting for COVID-19 test results, have COVID-19 symptoms, or if you have had close contact with a person who has tested positive for or who has symptoms of COVID-19 DO NOT attend an Oasis event. 

If you test positive and have attended ANY Oasis event within 14 days please notify the Board at [email protected].  We will keep your name and information anonymous.  

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