About The Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center
Deborah Heffner, Director
Deborah Heffner is the Strategic Partnership Director at Community Advocates, bringing extensive experience and a deep commitment to community well-being. Since the inception of the Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center (RHRC) in 2020, Deborah has played a pivotal role in its development. In her current role, she will oversee daily operations for the Triage Team and partnership. Deb has over 20 years of experience in coalition-building and community mobilization around prevention efforts in Wisconsin. In 2017, Deb co-developed the Community Advocates Public Policy Institutes’ Healthy Housing Initiative, designed to influence policy to increase housing affordability, quality, and stability. Deb has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education Policy and Community Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Laura Silva, Client Services and Triage Specialist
Laura comes to the RHRC with an extensive background in community service and support. Her journey began in 2016 at Community Advocates, where she worked in the call center for Energy Assistance, providing essential aid to those in need. From there, she transitioned to become a Client Support Staff at the Milwaukee Women’s Center, further honing her skills in client care and empowerment. Laura also served as a W2 and FSET case manager at Maximus, expanding her expertise in case management and resources. Since December 2022, Laura has excelled in her role as a Triage Specialist for the Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center, leveraging her extensive experience to guide and support clients in their rental housing needs. Her passion for helping the community shines through in every facet of her work.
Sheykra Wheeler, Community Housing Liaison
Sheykra brings a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to community service to her role as a Community Housing Liaison at the Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center (RHRC) since October 2022. Prior to her tenure at RHRC, Sheykra served as a processor in the Energy Assistance Department at Community Advocates from 2016 to 2020, providing critical support to those in need to prevent disconnection. With a genuine passion for helping others thrive in life, she now dedicates herself to assisting clients navigate rental housing challenges to ensure stable and secure housing. Sheykra holds an Associate of Liberal Arts degree from Upper Iowa University.
Aisha Ware, Paralegal
Aisha joined the Rental Housing Resource Center Triage Team as a Paralegal in 2021. In the role, Aisha provides legal counsel to tenants seeking to stabilize their housing situations. Prior to joining the RHRC, Aisha served as the Legal Assistant to the Civil Division of the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee for five years. Aisha brings over 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector in Milwaukee, Seattle and New York. Aisha graduated from Auburn University in 2020 with a BA in Marketing and Public Relations. As the Paralegal, Aisha provides a legal perspective to rental housing solutions and when needed, connects tenants to eviction defense.
RHRC Advisory Group
The Advisory Group provides guidance and support to the Co-Partners, serves as a connection to the broader community on rental housing issues and eviction prevention, and works together to ensure the long-term sustainability of the RHRC.
It is a diverse group that represents various constituencies including tenants, landlords, legal and mediation services, housing providers, homeless prevention, local government, social services, basic needs, health care, philanthropy, and policymakers.