The Collective

The San Francisco Tenants Union was formed in 1971 as a radical collective. While not a union in the traditional sense, the organization is run with a collective ethos and praxis. The organization is run primarily by volunteer members, and membership dues help fund the staff positions that are in charge of office management, administration, and political organizing. The staff are hired through a process facilitated by the steering committee, which is made of up volunteers and staff.

Becoming a Steering Committee Member 

The Tenants Union is collectively run, and we are always looking for new members to help run the organization. Steering Committee members are volunteers that want to contribute more to the functioning of the organization. Important tasks include administration/finance, policy/legislative advocacy, fundraising, media, and organizing/outreach. If you are interested in helping to run this organization, email info [at] sftu [dot] org for more information.

Staff Members


Deepa Varma

Executive Director

Contact deepa [at] sftu [dot] org regarding media inquiries, donations and fundraising, coalition building, attorney referrals, and legal and policy concerns related to tenant rights.
Deepa Varma has worked as an organizer, litigator and activist in a range of issues related to social justice, including women’s rights, public benefits, criminal justice reform and immigration. She worked as a tenants rights attorney in New York at the West Side SRO Law Project, and from 2011 at the Eviction Defense Collaborative in San Francisco. She helped spearhead the EDC’s litigation project, which has helped to train a new generation of eviction defense lawyers in San Francisco to zealously enforce the tenant protections we have in the city, and to provide last minute litigation support for tenants in housing court. She first began working in partnership with the San Francisco Tenants Union through the Occupy San Francisco Housing Coalition in 2011. Deepa joined the SFTU team in January, 2016.

Jennifer Fieber

Political Campaign Director

Contact jennifer [at] sftu [dot] org for questions or requests that pertain to membership, eviction research, short-term rental legislation and seasonal political campaigns.
Jennifer Fieber began volunteering with the Tenants Union in 2011 and became staff in 2015.  She is a founding member of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project—a tech-savvy activist collective that produces analysis and data visualizations of social justice issues. Jennifer has been involved in coalitions that advocate for policy changes, including Ellis Act reform and short-term rental policy. She has experience with cartography, coordinating collaborative projects and direct action campaigns.  Jennifer moved to San Francisco in 1990 and lives in Bernal Heights.

Layla Stanley

Volunteer Director

Contact volunteer [at] sftu [dot] org for questions or requests about volunteering.
Layla Stanley began volunteering with the Tenants Union in 2011 as a counselor and counselor trainer and became staff in February 2017.  She has been a community organizer/campaign worker for the Aaron Peskin, Eric Mar and Dean Preston for San Francisco Supervisor and other campaigns.

In Memoriam: Ted Gullicksen

From 1988-2014, Ted Gullicksen was the Office Manager of the San Francisco Tenants Union. Ted was also a co-founder of the homeless advocacy group, Homes Not Jails, which advocates for the use of vacant buildings to house people who are homeless and was on the Board of Directors of Tenants Together, the California statewide tenants rights organization.