Watch this video to learn more about the Center
Affordable homeownership is about equality.
We’re in this together.
Neighborhoods are the heart of New York.
Working collaboratively is working strategically.
Christie was named Executive Director of the Center in February 2012. Under her leadership, the Center has become a leading local and national voice for affordable homeownership, while greatly expanding its portfolio of services for homeowners. Christie has been instrumental in organizing foreclosure prevention services statewide with the New York Attorney General’s Office, raising millions of dollars for homeowners recovering from Hurricane Sandy, and launching a $7.5 million resiliency program for coastal communities. Christie also oversaw the expansion of the New York State Mortgage Assistance Program with an $80 million loan fund and the establishment of one of the nation’s largest annual affordable homeownership conferences. Before joining the Center, she worked in affordable housing preservation for the New York State Housing Finance Agency, and for affordable housing developers in Washington Heights and Bushwick. She also spent several years in healthcare advocacy for Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the Medicare Rights Center and the Women’s Prison Association. Christie has a B.A. from Harvard College and a Master’s of Social Work in Community Organizing and Planning from Hunter College.
Natasha joined the Center in October of 2014 and manages the internal operations teams including Fiscal, Human Resources & Administration, IT and Facilities. Natasha has an extensive background in structured finance, capital markets and economic development, having worked in non-recourse commercial lending and institutional bond sales at Deutsche Bank, and corporate finance at Prudential. She also managed a $1.5 billion portfolio of major development projects at Empire State Development. Prior to joining the Center, Natasha was the Chief Financial Officer at Harlem RBI. Natasha holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis, and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Howard has over 35 years of senior management of lending and investment experience for CDFIs, community development corporations and mortgage banks. He has provided consulting services to Ford Foundation; the US Department of Energy, Energy Programs Consortium and Enterprise Community Partners among others. He has been based in New York City, Oakland, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Mr. Banker has served on the boards of several nonprofits including credit unions, financial intermediaries and locally based and national advocacy organizations. He is currently the Treasurer of Grand Concourse Academy Charter School in the Bronx New York. He has a B.S from Fordham University in Medieval Studies and an M.S. from Pratt Institute in Urban and Regional Planning. He has been licensed as a mortgage banker, secondary market and mortgage broker.
Lisa joined the Center in May 2015 from Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, where she practiced law for over 15 years in the commercial real estate area focusing on complex transactions involving financing, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions and leasing. Prior to entering the law, Lisa was an environmental engineer working for Tenneco Gas in Texas and Louisiana. Lisa has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and a JD-MBA from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.
Lucy joined the Center in December 2009 and oversees supportive programs for homeownership services through a network of non-profit service providers. Lucy began working at the Center after developing affordable housing projects in Scotland. She previously worked in City government, at both the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Department of Homeless Services, as well as a consultant at K. Backus & Associates. Lucy has a B.A. from Brown University and a Master of Urban Planning from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Jessica came to the Center with more than 20 years of experience in fundraising, management, and external relations, and leads the fundraising, communication, and policy departments. She has secured millions of dollars in new and increased funding for effective organizations in social justice, housing, poverty, and the environment, including at Barnard College, Theatre Development Fund, the National Audubon Society, Girls Write Now, and The Opportunity Agenda. Jessica serves as a founding board member for the Octavia Project; Young, Black, & Giving Back; and POYS (Proud Out Youth Scholarships). She is also on the Advisory Board of EarthShare New York.
Lusheena joined the Center in 2018 as Chief of Staff. Previously, she served as the inaugural Managing Director at Dancewave, and prior to that she held numerous leadership positions including the Deputy Chief of Staff at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. There, Lusheena worked closely with the President to develop and execute priority initiatives and policies across the organization. She engaged local communities in projects such as the creation of a memorial for a former African Burial Ground in Harlem, construction of the East River Waterfront Esplanade in Lower Manhattan, and the Inwood NYC community planning initiative to bring investments to the area. Prior to joining NYCEDC, Lusheena worked at Hunter College in the President’s Office as the Director of External Affairs. Lusheena holds a B.A. from Hunter College and a M.A. from the Baruch College School of Public Affairs.
Joseph joined the Center in 2013 and currently serves as deputy general counsel. He previously oversaw homeowner services, where he helped mobilize coastal resiliency programs that provide services to thousands of NYC homeowners, manages rapid state-wide services provided by the Homeowner Hub, and oversees the Center's HUD-certified Housing Mobility Program. Joseph came to the Center after working as a Senior Attorney at Legal Services NYC, where he brought affirmative impact litigation to combat predatory mortgage lending and enforce consumer protections for low- and moderate-income homeowners. Joseph earned his B.A. at the University of Washington and his J.D. at Georgetown University.
Herman De Jesus
Herman joined the Center in 2013 and leads its Lending Department, and oversees the New York State Mortgage Assistance and Escalations programs. Previously, Herman worked as Senior Program Associate for New Economy Project, where he helped manage the NYC Foreclosure Prevention Gap Loan Fund, worked in the Consumer Law Project program, and worked on research, policy, and advocacy initiatives on behalf of low-income New Yorkers. For nearly a decade, Herman also served as Supervising Paralegal of the Foreclosure Prevention Project at South Brooklyn Legal Services, where he worked with hundreds of homeowners, investigated complex predatory mortgage lending cases, negotiated and resolved cases, and worked with attorneys to build cases for litigation in state and federal court.
Braden joined the Center in October 2012 and is the Deputy Director of the Network Programs team, which manages programs through the Center’s network of housing and legal service providers, including foreclosure prevention, the Senior Initiative, and homeowner outreach. Previously, Braden worked for a non-profit organization in Chicago where he led campaigns to establish court-sponsored mediation in foreclosure cases and a vacant property ordinance to address abandoned foreclosed buildings. Braden holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University.
Caroline joined the Center in 2013. Her work is focused on the foreclosure crisis, affordable homeownership, and the impact of climate change on homeowners. Her research has been cited in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and she regularly provides expert testimony on housing policy issues to the New York City Council and New York State Legislature. Caroline has also served as a policy advocate for children experiencing homelessness at Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, and conducted urban policy research at the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. She received a J.D. from NYU School of Law, and a B.A. and M.A. in Political Science from Ohio University.
Cristian joined the Center in April 2016 and oversees all communications, including media relations and public awareness campaigns. He previously spent over a decade in daily journalism. He worked as a crime reporter in Paterson, N.J., as a news editor for amNewYork and as a general assignment reporter for The Associated Press in New York City. His stories have appeared in The Washington Post, The Daily Beast and several other outlets. He has an M.S. from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. in Political Science from Metropolitan State University of Colorado.
Rachel Eve Stein
Rachel joined the Center in January 2017 and manages the Residential Technical Assistance Program, along with other citywide resiliency services offered through FloodHelpNY.org. Before joining the Center, she managed sustainable energy outreach initiatives for the New York State Public Service Commission and NYSERDA, after working at the New York State Assembly and the House of Representatives. Rachel has been a community organizer for over ten years, working on political, issue, and neighborhood-based campaigns. Rachel received her B.A. from Boston University, majoring in Social Movements and the Democratic Process.
Zar joined the Center in 2018 as the Deputy Director of Lending for the New York State Mortgage Assistance program. Prior to joining the Center, Zar was a [roject manager and senior consultant with The Oakleaf Group and Treliant Risk Advisors focusing on loan review projects for compliance, due diligence, and litigation. Over the last 15 years, Zar has held various positions with regional banks and mortgage lending institutions. Zar earned her B.S. in Finance and Management Information Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Since joining the Center as a call center representative in 2014, Nicole has grown into her role of Deputy Director of the Center’s Homeowner Hub. As Deputy of the Hub, she leads the team that provides rapid services and support to homeowners statewide. Crucial to the delivery of the Center’s programs, the Hub handles disaster recovery, coastal resiliency, mortgage assistance, foreclosure prevention, and more. Nicole came to the Hub after serving two years with AmeriCorps for the Champlain Housing Trust, the largest community land trust in the United States. While working in CHT’s Shared Equity Program, she developed her passion for affordable housing and innovative models of program delivery. Nicole earned her B.A. in Global Studies Business/Economics from Providence College and Project Management 360 Certificate from Cornell.
- Christie Peale
- Lusheena Warner
- Terence Hagans II
- Sarah Brown
- Acacia Edmondson
- Natasha Pallan
- Michael Rodriguez
- Maya Sambolah
- Caitlin Valley
- Patricia Vera
- Rabyaah Althaibani
- Adrienne Bess
- David Brice
- Tara Brown
- Evelyn Carmack
- Jessica Castro
- Tiffany Chambliss
- Collin Clarke
- Jovan Ellis
- Rachel Elmkies
- Salima Etoka
- William Fairhurst
- Dakarai Griffin
- Sophie Haas
- Joanie Imlay
- Jennifer Leisure
- Sara Melomedov
- Marc Morales
- Chase Nackenson
- William Norten
- Aaron Ochylski
- Lauribel Pantaleon
- Randy Reed
- Alexandra Rickert
- Danisa Schiff
- Rachel Stein
- Rosibel Tavares
- Rudy Ulin
- Vella Voynova
- Clair Weatherby
- Sydney Wells
- Kevin Wolfe
- Courina Yulisa
- Nicole Zajdman
- Lisa Lofdahl
- Joseph Sant
- Candybelle Acevedo
- Janel Alfred
- Joseph Antwi-Boasiako
- Thomas Baker
- Howard Banker
- Carolyn Canahuate
- Herman De Jesus
- Maura Guillaume
- Hilman Guillory
- Heeyeon Jung
- Jennifer Nascimento da Silva
- Felix Okema
- Christina Olmo
- Ellen Park
- Alina Robateau
- Melissa Rosario-Tavarez
- Christopher Sevigny
- Zar Tun
Policy and Communications
- John Baker
- Roberta Barnett
- Leo Goldberg
- Max King
- Caroline Nagy
- Justine Pak
- Ivy Perez
- Cristian Salazar
- Jessica Wells-Hasan
The Center for NYC Neighborhoods’ Board of Directors represents a diverse range of the City’s government agencies, elected officials, non-profits, foundations, and corporations.
Mr. Sturz is a Senior Advisor to the Open Society Foundations. He is the Founding Chairman of The After-School Corporation and the Founding Director of the Vera Institute of Justice. Mr. Sturz has served as: New York City Deputy Mayor for Criminal Justice, Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission, and as a member of the editorial board of the New York Times. Mr. Sturz received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and an M.A. from Columbia University. He has received various honorary degrees and is the recipient of the Rockefeller Public Service Award, the Roscoe Pound Award from National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the August Vollmer Award, American Society of Criminology, and others.
Mr. Grannum has served as President of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation since March 2001. Restoration, the nation’s first community development corporation, was founded by community leaders and U.S. Senators Robert Kennedy and Jacob Javits in 1967 and partners with local residents and business to improve economic stability and quality of life in Central Brooklyn. Before embarking on his career in community development, Colvin practiced law for over 17 years in the public and private sectors. Mr. Grannum earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.
Ms. Kende is Vice President and New York market leader for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. With nearly 20 years of experience in community development, nonprofit leadership, and finance, as well as a deep commitment to creating opportunity for her fellow New Yorkers, she oversees a cross-functional team working with community partners, the public sector and private capital sources to incubate solutions, advocate for more resources and finance affordable housing.
Ms. Mahon is CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, an organization dedicated to helping low- and moderate-income people and communities achieve financial independence through credit unions. Previously, Ms. Mahon served as Deputy Commissioner for Financial Empowerment with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and as the Policy and Program Director for the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.
Mr. Marks is Executive Director of Local Initiatives Supper Corporation New York. LISC is a national nonprofit organization that assists community development corporations as well as other private and public community development-oriented entities in their efforts to create and maintain healthy sustainable communities. Mr. Marks oversees LISC New York’s training, technical and management assistance, financing and public policy functions. Before joining LISC, he was Vice President at the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, and Director of Housing Development at WHEDCo.
Ms. Menschel is Chairman of Phipps Houses and previously served as its President and CEO. She is also a current trustee of its affiliate, Phipps Neighborhoods. Ms. Menschel was Deputy Mayor, and subsequently Executive Administrator, of New York City from 1978 to 1982. She served on the Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority from 1979 to 1990. From 1998 to 2004, she served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Ms. Menschel currently serves on several not-for-profit boards including Weill Cornell Medical College and the Museum of the City of New York.
Mr. Mintz is Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, a national non-profit organization that supports municipal efforts to help low-income families and individuals achieve long-term financial stability. He also founded and co-chaired the Cities for Financial Empowerment Coalition, which brings together pioneering municipal governments from across the country to advance innovative financial empowerment initiatives on the municipal, state, and national level. From 2006-2013, Mr. Mintz served as the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, having been appointed to the role by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Council Member Richards was elected to the 31st District to represent southeast Queens and the Rockaways in February 2013. In response to Superstorm Sandy, he sponsored legislation to track monies designated to rebuilding. Seeing Sandy as an opportunity for the city to adapt to a rapidly changing climate, he sought chairmanship of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee. As Chairman, he introduced legislation to revamp the city’s decades old air code, addressed systemic flooding in Southeast Queens and created the City Council's first citywide Environmental Initiative. Currently, Richards is chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, where he worked to negotiate a stronger Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program.
Maria Torres-Springer is the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the nation’s largest municipal housing agency. As Commissioner, she is leading the charge to implement Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ten year Housing New York plan to create or preserve 200,000 affordable homes and apartments in diverse, thriving neighborhoods. Torres-Springer previously served as President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), spearheading initiatives to raise wages, expand skill-building, support innovation and entrepreneurship across all industries, and create a dynamic city economy that works for all New Yorkers. She received her bachelor’s degree in ethics, politics, and economics from Yale University and a master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Alexa joined Settlement Housing Fund as its President in January, 2014. She has 20 years of affordable housing and community development experience. Prior to joining SHF, Alexa served as the Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and External Affairs at The Community Preservation Corporation, an affordable housing lender. From 2006-2012, Ms. Sewell worked at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in various capacities, including as Assistant Commissioner of Federal Affairs, and most recently as Chief of Staff and Deputy Commissioner of Policy and External Affairs. Alexa served as Chief of Staff under three Commissioners and two Deputy Mayors. During Ms. Sewell’s tenure with HPD, the Agency designed and implemented Mayor Bloomberg’s ambitious New Housing Marketplace Plan, which created and preserved 165,000 units of affordable housing.
Mr. Wambua joined The Richman Group of Companies as President of RHR Funding LLC in October of 2013. RHR Funding LLC is part of The Richman Group’s recently-established mortgage lending business, which includes RICHMAC Funding LLC. Mr. Wambua is charged with growing and expanding the firm’s mortgage lending platform both nationally and within the New York market. In March 2011, Mr. Wambua was appointed Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. During his tenure, Mr. Wambua oversaw the financing of approximately 47,000 housing units, representing a $6 billion investment.
Mr. Weisbord is the Director of Credit and Housing Access at Fannie Mae. He is responsible for developing corporate-wide, strategic business initiatives to increase access to mortgage credit and affordable housing. He works with senior management, customers, regulators and a wide range of industry stakeholders to understand emerging market needs and to develop responses aligned with Fannie Mae’s historic mission, regulatory mandates and business objectives. Mr. Weisbord also led efforts to prevent foreclosures and reduce credit losses through partnerships with lenders, housing and credit counseling organizations, and government in distressed markets across the country. He joined Fannie Mae in 2005 to lead the company’s homelessness initiative, which invested in creation of over 7,800 units of supportive and affordable housing for homeless and at-risk individuals and families. Mr. Weisbord has over 30 years of experience in affordable housing finance, development and policy.
Our Escalations program works directly with housing counselors statewide to resolve complex cases for homeowners seeking to avoid foreclosure. We leverage our extensive relationships with staff at banks and mortgage servicers to escalate cases and get results. The Escalations program is a component of the Attorney General’s Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP).
Our Housing Mobility Program coordinates long-term, affordable solutions for New Yorkers leaving homes they can no longer afford. The program helps transitioning homeowners explore their housing and financial options and offers tailored plans that include referrals and resources to help identify alternative affordable housing and access financial empowerment services.
New York State Mortgage Assistance Program
Go to nysmap.org to learn more.
New Yorkers across the state can now apply for the New York State Mortgage Assistance Program. NYS-MAP provides a 0% interest mortgage loan up to $40,000 to eligible New York homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Homeowners must have experienced a financial hardship and must demonstrate an ability to afford their housing payments after receiving assistance.
FloodHelpNY.org Home Resiliency Audit
Learn more at FloodHelpNY.org/homeowners
Homeowners who are eligible for a free Home Resiliency Audit have an engineer visit their house and meet one-on-one with a housing counselor to discuss their vulnerability to future flooding. The result is a report and elevation certificate that allows homeowners to determine their future flood insurance rates and what mitigation options might fit their needs.
Senior Homeowner Initiative
The Senior Homeowner Initiative is a coordinated effort led by Center for NYC Neighborhoods and seven community based legal services and housing counseling organizations dedicated to serving and educating elderly homeowners. With the New York City Council as a principal supporter, this initiative focuses on integrating cross-sector services by coordinating with government partners, elected officials, and mortgage lenders to collectively reach out to community-based organizations and older homeowners, advance policies protecting seniors and homeowners, and provide services to address foreclosure, estate, and financial issues.