Watch this video to learn more about the Center

Our Values

Affordable homeownership is about equality.

We’re in this together.

Neighborhoods are the heart of New York.

Working collaboratively is working strategically.

Important stuff you might want to know

• HUD-approved counseling group
• Licensed mortgage banker in New York State
• Certified Community Development Financial Institution
Click Here for the Annual Report
Freddie Mac Borrower Help Center in New York State

Our History

In 2008, the leadership of New York City and private foundations created the Center to meet the challenge of the Great Recession's foreclosure crisis.



Christie Peale CEO & Executive Director
Salima Etoka Chief of Staff
K. Scott Kohanowski General Counsel
Lisa Lofdahl Senior Counsel
Natasha Pallan Chief Financial Officer
Pamela Sah Chief Program Officer
Jessica Wells-Hasan Chief External Affairs Officer
John Baker Director of HAF Data and Technology
Sarah Brown Director of Finance
Tiffany Chambliss Deputy Director of Procurement & Compliance
Viviana Chan Deputy Director of Finance
Laura Cheung Deputy Director of Development
Kim Fowler Director of People and Culture
Jade Gary Senior Staff Attorney
John Gestautas Deputy Director of Salesforce
Ron Golden Director of Marketing and Communications
Dakarai Griffin Deputy Director of Homeowner Hub
Michael Haynes VP of Lending & Servicing
Felicia Itri Deputy Director of Closing and Compliance
Caren Johnson Deputy Director of Digital Products
Jennifer Leisure Deputy Director of Energy Sustainability Programs
Braden Listmann Director of Programs
Mireille Martineau Director of the NY State Homeowner Assistance Fund
Julian St. Patrick Clayton Director of Policy and Research
Jessi Penkoff Senior Staff Attorney
Lucy Raimes Vice President of Partnerships
Rudy Ulin Deputy Director of Underwriting
Caitlin Valley Deputy Director of Grants Management 
Kevin Wolfe Deputy Director of Advocacy & Public Affairs
Nicole Zajdman Deputy Director of The NY State Homeowner Assistance Fund
Christie Peale

Christie was named CEO & 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 significantly 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 established one of the nation’s largest annual affordable homeownership conferences.

Most recently, Christie has led the organization in administering the New York State Homeowner Assistance Fund (NYS HAF). NYS HAF program is being administered by the New York State affordable housing agency, NYS Homes & Community Renewal (HCR), in partnership with Sustainable Neighborhoods LLC, a non-profit dedicated to foreclosure prevention and homeownership preservation. NYS HAF is a federally-funded program designed to help homeowners at risk of default, foreclosure, and displacement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected to provide assistance to over 30,000 homeowners throughout the state.

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. Christie serves on the Board of Directors for organizations that work to strengthen and promote permanently affordable homeownership opportunities, including Restored Homes, Habitat for Humanity New York City and Westchester County, Community Partnership Development Corporation, Interboro Community Land Trust, NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence Program, Community Advisory Boards, Santander CAB, and PHH Mortgage Community Advisory Board. 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 of Social Work in Community Organizing and Planning from Hunter College.

Salima Etoka

Salima Etoka is the Chief of Staff at the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, where she serves as a key thought partner and trusted adviser to the CEO/Executive Director. As a member of the Executive team, she sits at the intersection of programs and operations, participates in organizational decision-making, and is central to operationalizing organizational decisions. Before the Center, Salima served as an Urban Fellow at the NYC Human Resources Administration. She holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. from Trinity College, where she received a Truman Scholarship. Salima enjoys reading, watching TV, and listening to music from different parts of the world.

K. Scott Kohanowski

Scott jointed the Center as General Counsel in 2023, having previously directed the Homeowner Stability and LGBT Advocacy Projects at the City Bar Justice Center. In that role, Scott has trained attorneys, supervised cases placed with pro bono and staff attorneys, provided direct legal representation to distressed homeowners, and engaged in law reform to preserve homeownership and communities. His areas of expertise include foreclosure defense, heirs property and community stabilization, and deed theft and scam prevention with an acute focus on racial equity and social justice across all communities. Scott worked at Morrison and Foerster LLP in real estate finance prior to transitioning to the public interest realm. He serves on the New York City Bar Association’s Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force , the New York City Deed Theft Task Force and the New York City Non-Profit Legal Services Foreclosure Prevention Task, and formerly served on the City Bar’s Housing and Urban Development and LGBT Rights Committees. Scott is a 1996 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Portuguese and Spanish, summa cum laude, and a 2001 graduate of NYU School of Law.

Lisa Lofdahl

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.

Natasha Pallan

Natasha joined the Center in October of 2014 and manages the internal fiscal operations teams. 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. 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.

Pamela Sah

Pamela Sah is the Chief Program Officer at the Center, with responsibility for the Lending and Program Delivery teams. Pamela is an experienced manager who has worked on affordable and fair housing issues for over 20 years in the non-profit and public sectors. Pamela began her career as a legal services attorney at South Brooklyn Legal Services, representing homeowners facing foreclosure on their homes due to predatory lending practices. She then served as the Legal Director for the Fair Housing Justice Center, where she developed a network of non-profit and private attorneys representing New Yorkers who had suffered housing discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, source of income, and other protected characteristics. Before joining the Center, Pamela worked for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Office of the Inspector General, managing a team of 50 investigators and personally conducting systemic investigations, including concerning lead paint in public housing. Pamela has a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from NYU School of Law.

Jessica Wells-Hasan

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.

John Baker

John Baker is the Director of HAF Data & Technology at the Center for NYC Neighborhoods as part of the External Affair team. He leads a team of brilliant technical professionals that support Center programs by developing software processes and analyzing and visualizing data. Since joining the Center in 2016, John has led climate policy initiatives, conducted research on the New York City housing market and its impact on working and middle class homeowners, developed an innovative technology deployment for a half-billion dollar COVID recovery fund, and revamped the organization’s data architecture, reporting, and analysis capabilities. John has helped lead the Center’s Data Integration Project, The Equitable Homeownership Blueprint, The Outsized Power of Cash Buyers in New York City’s Housing Market, The Homeowner Landlord Research Project with the Robin Hood Foundation, and the New York State Homeowner Assistance Fund. John resides in Brooklyn, where he raises two lovely kids and spends time listening to Weird Dad Jazz. John holds a MS in Geography from the University at Buffalo and a BA in Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington.

Sarah Brown

Sarah joined the Center in February 2017. As Director of Finance, she oversees accounts payable, some accounting functions and loan disbursements. Sarah came to the Center from an international nonprofit focused on elections and democracy, where she worked first in Washington, D.C. and later in Jakarta, Indonesia managing operations and overseeing the finance functions. Sarah holds a Master's Degree from the London School of Economics.

Carolyn Canahuate

Carolyn first joined the Center in May 2015 as a Bilingual Counseling Hotline Representative and provided support for homeowners facing legal and housing issues following Hurricane Sandy. She has since garnered the role of Deputy Director of the NY State Homeowner Assistance Fund helping New Yorkers who are struggling due to the economic effects of the pandemic to save their homes. Her years of knowledge and experience include areas such as foreclosure prevention, loss mitigation, and mortgage lending, particularly loan origination, underwriting, closing, and mortgage servicing. As a native New Yorker who is passionate about promoting affordable homeownership, Carolyn has collaborated in the development, design, and implementation of programs aimed to assist middle and working-class families across NY state. Prior to joining the Center, she worked at a legal services non-profit organization as the Office Administrator, where she was the primary liaison in connecting other non-profits which created vital programs that benefited low-income New Yorkers of all ages. Carolyn earned her B.A. in Clinical Psychology from Baruch College.

Tiffany Chambliss

Tiffany Chambliss a Deputy Director of Procurement and Compliance with almost a decade of successful experience in public sector procurement.Tiffany specializes in government contracting and program compliance. In her role she works collectively with the Legal Department to implement those policies.

Tiffany joined the Center in 2014 as a Hotline Representative for the Build it Back program. She joined the Center after working at the Bronx County District Attorney's Office, where she was a case aide in the Domestic Violence Bureau. Tiffany is one of the founding leaders of our Homeowner Hub and has worked diligently across all Center Programs.
Tiffany possesses a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Master's in Public Administration from Walden University, and a Master's in Legal Studies from Purdue University Global. She also has a Professional Certificate from George Mason University’s Schar School of Public Policy in Federal Contract Formation and Administration.
Tiffany is an advocate for low income families in New York City. In her free time she enjoys streaming shows and spending time with family and friends.

Viviana Chan

Viviana Chan is the Deputy Director of Finance at the Center. Viviana joined the Center in February 2019 and currently manages several key functions such as accounts payable, cash management, financial project management, audit preparation and compliance. Viviana’s accomplishments at the Center include overseeing the disbursement of 8,291 payments in loans/grants over 6 months for the Homeowner Assistance Fund, and successfully managing two PPP loan forgiveness procedures. Prior to joining the Center, Viviana worked with the nonprofit microlender Accion East and has also worked at Royal Bank of Canada in global private banking for Latin America and Europe. At RBC, Viviana managed the sales reporting of a book size AUM (asset under management) of $9 billion, overseeing an annual revenue of $68 million. Viviana is trilingual in English, Spanish, and Cantonese.

Laura Cheung

Laura joined the Center in April 2020. As Deputy Director of Development, she oversees all fundraising strategy for the Center, including government, foundation, and corporate philanthropy. She also oversees the team that organizes the Center's annual Affordable Homeownership Summit and supports on key board functions. Laura came to the Center from the world of children's publishing, and prior to that worked in non-profits focused on gender empowerment domestically and abroad. Laura holds a Masters in Politics from the New School for Social Research.

Kim Fowler

Kim Fowler, Director of People and Culture, brings a unique blend of expertise in human resources and transformative leadership. With a background as a consultant and executive coach, Kim thrives on guiding individuals and leaders to navigate and excel within challenging work environments.

Drawing from over a decade in HR and two decades as a practicing attorney, Kim specializes in compliance, policy development, conflict resolution, and team building. Her career has spanned impactful roles at organizations and firms like Wildfire Strategies, RealHR Solutions, the Latina Institute and Ascend Public Charter Schools, where she has championed respectful, safe, and engaging workplace cultures.

Kim collaborates closely with staff, conducting assessments and co-designing comprehensive strategies for sustainable change. She is dedicated to advocating for teams to achieve their fullest potential, ensuring they thrive in environments that reflect their vision of success.

Jade Gary

Jade Gary has devoted a significant portion of her career to public service. She brings a unique perspective as a former early childhood education teacher with Americorps’ Teach For America and a former Assistant District Attorney for the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted an array of misdemeanor and felony matters, including hate crimes. After serving as a prosecutor, Jade practiced in civil litigation handling a variety of matters including premise liability, labor law, and complex commercial insurance defense, achieving numerous favorable defense verdicts and settlements before returning to public interest work to serve as non-profit counsel for the Center. Originating from Chicago, Jade holds a law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, masters degree in early childhood education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and an undergraduate degree in business administration from DeVry University. Over the years, she has contributed articles to several notable legal publications on various topics from juvenile justice reform to skillful litigation practice for the American Bar Association's Solo & Small Firm Newsletter and currently serves as co-chair of the Minorities in the Profession Committee of the New York City Bar Association. In joining the Center, Jade now serves as a Senior Staff Attorney providing legal support to the Center in furtherance of its mission to make homeownership achievable and sustainable for middle and working class families.
Jade is currently admitted to the New York State Bar and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and pending admittance to the New Jersey State Bar. She spends her spare time balancing life as a new parent and new homeowner as well as exploring arguably the best borough in New York City.

John Gestautas

John Gestautas serves as the Deputy Director of Salesforce, overseeing the strategy, vision, and execution of technological solutions that bolster program initiatives across multiple Salesforce platforms. His journey into business systems administration began during his tenure in data analysis and corporate training within the beverage industry, igniting a passion that led him to pursue a career in Salesforce administration. Initially volunteering for a non-profit, John transitioned into the private sector before becoming an integral member of a team responsible for constructing a comprehensive enterprise-wide Salesforce implementation at the University of Arizona. John finds immense satisfaction in the knowledge that his skills are once again contributing to a non-profit organization, this time making a meaningful difference in the lives of New York homeowners.

Ron Golden

Ron Golden, in concert with the Chief External Affairs Officer, leads the Center’s omni-channel media strategy, marketing, design, digital content, internal communications, and storytelling capabilities. Ron’s team leverages copywriting, video production, media coverage, and social media to unify the Center’s work through messaging to homeowners, community members, and government officials.

As native New Yorker, Ron has witnessed the city’s transformations — ranging from economic shifts to housing developments — and understands their profound impacts on communities. This personal connection deepens his commitment to ensuring that homeowners and community members have the needed support to thrive. His approach to work is shaped by a rich background in nonprofit and for-profit organizations, where he developed a unique blend of strategic and compassionate storytelling.

Dakarai Griffin

Dakarai Griffin was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. He graduated from Langston University, a Historically Black University located in Oklahoma. Since graduating, Dakarai has been a dedicated nonprofit professional and leader throughout NYC. Before joining the Center, Dakarai worked as a Student Advocate for underserved Harlem youth. Dakarai has been with the Center for over 9 years and is currently the Deputy Director of the Homeowner Hub team and a founding member and chair of the Center's Racial Equity Working Group. Dakarai works directly with the most client-facing part of the Center. He is committed to helping communities throughout NYS and underserved communities overall.

Michael Haynes
Felicia Itri

Felicia Itri is the Deputy Director of Closing and Compliance for the Center of New York City Neighborhood’s lending team. She started her career at the Center in August of 2022, however she has been in the banking and lending industry since January of 2015. She started in consumer lending and provided borrowers with credit cards, car, motorcycle, RV, debt consolidation, and even boat loans! She eventually made her way into mortgage lending and has been in love with it ever since. There is something truly wonderful about helping a person buy their first home. She stayed within the mortgage industry because it is a very diverse market and you never have the same day twice. She has experience in FNMA, Freddie MAC, FHLB, and SONYMA mortgage underwriting guidelines. Ultimately though she wanted to get experience in not for profit mortgage lending which is what brought her to the center. She can honestly say that the mission at the Center is truly inspiring and she couldn’t be more proud of her place of work.

Caren Johnson

Caren Johnson is the Deputy Director of Digital Products. Her team builds websites, web apps, and fintech products that educate users about homeownership, scam prevention, flood zone lookups, and home maintenance. She is passionate about building accessible, robust sites. Before working at the Center, she was a project manager and a QA analyst at various companies.

Jennifer Leisure

After a tornado hit her college town in Alabama, Jennifer started her career going door-to-door and educating the community about disaster recovery resources. She later returned to her home state of New Jersey to help residents rebuild after Superstorm Sandy. Jennifer joined the Center in 2016 where she has worked on resiliency, sustainability, and outreach initiatives and where she currently leads the NYSERDA-funded Bronx & Brooklyn Energy Hub.

Braden Listmann

Braden joined the Center in October 2012 and is the 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.

Mireille Martineau

Mireille Martineau has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 15 years to advance social justice initiatives that seek to improve access to equitable banking, legal, housing, healthcare services and equal rights for low-income communities. Mireille joined the Center in 2014 as the Deputy Director for Recovery and Resiliency where she managed the organization’s Build it Back Counseling Program and the Residential Technical Assistance Pilot Program (RTAPP). She left the Center briefly, and returned in 2021 to serve in her current role as the Director of the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF).

Mireille received her Master of Urban Planning from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service in 2010 and received her Bachelor of Arts from Fordham University in 2008.

Julian St. Patrick Clayton

Joining the Center in 2020, Julian has over a decade of experience with policy analysis, design, research, and advocacy across multiple sectors and policy disciplines. In his work, he spearheaded engagement with elected officials, nonprofits, and community stakeholders around policy campaigns, legislative action, and social service program implementation.

Prior to his time with the Center, he held positions at JPMorgan Chase, NYS Senate, NYS Assembly and the New York City Council. Along the way, he earned international recognition as a recipient of the Robert Bosch Foundation, New Urban Progress and Atlantik Initiative fellowships. Julian holds a BA and an MS in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University.

Jessi Penkoff

Jessi has practiced law for over a decade. She is a career public-interest attorney and zealous housing and access-to-justice advocate. Prior to joining the Center in July of 2021, Jessi advocated for NYC homeowners in need of restoration after Hurricane Sandy (at NYLAG), defended tenants facing eviction in Brooklyn (at CAMBA Legal Services), engaged in successful affirmative litigation against NYCHA (at CAMBA and VOLS), and trained and worked alongside pro bono attorneys to provide end-of-life estate and advance directive planning to low-income seniors and veterans during the pandemic (at VOLS). Jessi also worked as the Pro Bono Coordinator for Pro Bono Net, where she learned about how technology and pro bono capacity can be used to fill gaps in the landscape of available legal services for folks who cannot afford to pay for an attorney.

At the Center, Jessi brings these experiences to bear on the provision of legal and programmatic support to all of the Center’s departments and programs. Whether she is negotiating a contract with one of our vendors, drafting a set of lending documents for one of our lending programs, collaborating to create and officialize program policies, or troubleshooting tough cases with our program teams, Jessi enjoys the opportunity to practice law in a non-monolithic fashion - there is so much more to lawyering generally, and on behalf of an organization, than folks may think.

Jessi is a lot of other things, too! Originally and always a California girl, a hiker, a musician, a baker, a person who squeals when they see cats and/or dogs, and mostly just a person who thinks life is hard and so we should try to make it easier for each other in whatever way we can.

Lucy Raimes

Lucy joined the Center in 2009 and currently serves as Vice President of Partnerships, providing strategic guidance on collaborations with the Center’s network of nonprofit service providers. Lucy previously oversaw homeowner services, where she helped to launch a home repair program, strengthen access to sustainability and resiliency resources, further the analysis of the homeowner experience, and support direct homeowner services through the Center’s Homeowner Hub and the Center’s nonprofit network. Lucy previously developed affordable housing projects in Scotland, and in New York City at NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Lucy holds a B.A. from Brown University and a Master of Urban Planning from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Lucie Scott
John R. Smith

John is a Deputy Director for the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) Program and manages several processes for the HAF Operations Team, including Policy Committee case review, fraud review, recoupment of HAF awards, and quality control reporting, as well as supporting the HAF Director. He came to the Center in 2022 after 25 years in education and educational administration, and after shorter stints in nonprofit executive leadership and in public health during the pandemic. Throughout his career he has worked to support and uplift people in underserved communities. John holds a B.A. degree from Harvard University and a Certificate of nonprofit executive management from the Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership at Georgetown University. When not at work, he enjoys listening to jazz, cooking, reading, and dad jokes.

Aaron Sturm

Aaron Sturm is the Deputy Director for the Homeowner Assistance Program, providing technical assistance, strategy, program design, and expertise in housing and resiliency issues impacting homeowners. He has over 14 years of experience advocating for homeowners and is a HUD-certified housing counselor. Aaron holds a BA in psychology from Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan, where he also completed graduate coursework in Rehabilitation Counseling. In his free time, you can find him on a running trail, in the kitchen exploring new recipes, or spending time with his wife and two cats.

Rudy Ulin
Caitlin Valley
Kevin Wolfe

Kevin joined the Center in June of 2015, coordinating the outreach efforts of the Center’s Network before managing advocacy and government affairs. He has prior experience as the special assistant to the then Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and as housing specialist in the office of New York state Senator Jeff Klein. A self-described policy wonk, Kevin has lived in three of the five boroughs. Kevin holds a B.A. in history from Washington University in St. Louis.

Nicole Zajdman

Since joining the Center as a call center representative in 2014, Nicole has grown into her role of Deputy Director of The New York State Homeowner Assistance Fund. Nicole came to the Center 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.

The Team


  • Kenny Botchway
  • Moneshia Nurse

Development & Ext Relations

  • Laura Cheung
  • Grace Kim
  • Adhira Udayaraj

Digital Products

  • Alexandra Chin
  • Ian Iyengar
  • Caren Johnson
  • Alexander Manzi
  • Juan Carlos Patrón
  • Alejandro Weil

Executive Office

  • Salima Etoka
  • Takako Kono
  • Christie Peale

External Affairs

  • Jessica Wells-Hasan


  • Marie Abraham-Gustave
  • Christina Carpentier
  • Viviana Chan
  • Acacia Edmondson
  • Natasha Pallan
  • Lady Parada
  • Johanna Plotkin
  • Matthew Ramos
  • Gabriel Sanchez
  • Sarah Stevenson
  • Caitlin Valley

HAF Tech

  • John Baker
  • John Gestautas
  • Jacquelyn Perry
  • Taylor Ray
  • Daniel Walsh

Homeowner Assistance Fund

  • Carolyn Canahuate
  • Andrew Cross
  • Sarah Helden
  • Mireille Martineau
  • Lucie Scott
  • John Smith
  • Aaron Sturm
  • Nicole Zajdman

Homeowner Hub

  • Daira Abdul-Raheem
  • Jessica Castro
  • Collin Clarke
  • Deanni Dalrymple
  • Jovan Ellis
  • Magnolia Garcia
  • Dakarai Griffin
  • Matthias Howley
  • Ashfaq Khan
  • Pablo Leocadio
  • Paola Portilla
  • Arjun Ramrup
  • Yarelys Vasquez
  • Sydney Wells
  • Stuart Wong


  • Pushpa Bhat
  • Tiffany Chambliss
  • K. Scott Kohanowski
  • Lisa Lofdahl
  • Jessica Penkoff
  • Jade SanFilippo
  • Julissa Sepulveda


  • Lauren Camasta
  • Hilman Guillory
  • Michael Haynes
  • Muhammad Haidar
  • Felicia Itri
  • Reynold Martin
  • Josette Mills
  • Jennifer Nascimento Da Silva
  • Felix Okema
  • Melissa Rosario-Tavarez
  • Pamela Sah
  • Maya Sambolah
  • Rudy Ulin Lorenzo
  • La Tasha Williams

Marketing and Communications

  • Ron Golden


  • Lucy Raimes

People & Culture

  • Kim Ashby Fowler
  • Michelle March-Cooper
  • Sydni Scott

Policy & Public Affairs

  • Sabrina Bazile
  • Yvette Chen
  • Julian St. Patrick Clayton
  • John Edward Dallas
  • Grace Fulop
  • Sophie Harrington
  • Michelle King
  • Theodora Makris
  • Kedar Nagarajan
  • Josephina Oluwanifise
  • Melanie Salazar Cobos
  • Ariana Shirvani
  • Kevin Wolfe

Program Delivery

  • Rabyaah Althaibani
  • Jennifer Leisure
  • Braden Listmann
  • Robert McCool
  • Sara Melomedov
  • Marc Morales
  • Lauribel Pantaleon
  • Alexandra Rickert Melvin
  • Genesis Sanchez
  • Christopher Zimmerman

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.

Louise Carroll

Board Chair Louise Carroll is currently Partner, Real Estate, at Katten Muchin Rosenman. Prior to that Ms. Carroll was the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the nation's largest municipal housing agency. There she helped design and implement the city's groundbreaking Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program (MIH) requiring that permanently affordable housing be part of residential rezoning. Ms. Carroll was recently awarded the James W. Rouse Civic Medal of Honor for using housing as a platform for economic opportunity, collaborating on urgent work related to the effects of the pandemic and empowering BIPOC developers in New York City. Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Ms. Carroll as housing commissioner and chair of the Housing Development Corporation (the city's bond financing agency) in 2019 after she had served as associate commissioner for housing incentives and before that, assistant commissioner for inclusionary housing.

Eric Enderlin

Eric Enderlin joined the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) as its President in October 2016, following a formal nomination by Mayor Bill de Blasio. As President of HDC, Mr. Enderlin is tasked with leading the nation’s largest municipal Housing Finance Agency towards furthering the Administration’s goals under the Housing New York plan.

Colvin W. Grannum

Colvin W. Grannum served as the president and CEO of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation from May 2001 through June 2022. Restoration is recognized as the nation’s first community development corporation. Colvin is also a founder of Bridge Street Development Corporation and served as its first CEO. He serves on the boards of directors of several organizations including Carver Federal Savings Bank, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Center for New York City Neighborhoods, Billie Holiday Theatre, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. City and State Magazine named him to the Brooklyn Power 100 and New York Economic Development Power 75. He has authored articles and op-eds on issues related to African American wealth creation including homeownership. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University Law Center.

Baaba Halm
Frederick S. Harris

Frederick S. Harris has been a leader in the real estate and housing finance industries for more than 30 years. He is the Managing Director of Mission Title Agency and a member of the board of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. Mr. Harris has served as: the Director of Real Estate for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Executive Vice President of Real Estate Development at the New York City Housing Authority, and a Project Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. He received a JD and MS from New York University. He is the recipient of HUD’s John J. Gunther Award for Blue Ribbon Practices in Housing and Community Development, the Community Builder Award from Phipps Houses, and the Spirit of the City Award from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Cathie Mahon

Ms. Mahon is President/CEO of Inclusiv, which works to bridge the credit union movement to the community development field, promoting financial inclusion and identifying and connecting credit unions to unserved and untapped markets and communities. 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.

Sam Marks

Mr. Marks is CEO of FJC – A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, a boutique public charity that offers a diverse menu of philanthropic services to a range of stakeholders, including donor advised funds and fiscal sponsorships. Sam comes to FJC from his role as executive director of the New York City office of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC NYC) which supports local champions to advance equitable development of historically underinvested neighborhoods. Before joining LISC NYC, he was Vice President at the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, and director of housing development at WHEDCo. Earlier in his career he founded Breakthrough New York, a youth development program.

Jonathan Mintz

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.

Gwen Robinson

Gwen Robinson is the Director of Community Investment Data and Strategy at KeyBank. In this role she will serve as KeyBank’s Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Officer and develops strategies to support Key’s companywide commitment to maintain its “Outstanding” CRA rating. Gwen has over 25 years of cross-sector community development experience. Before joining KeyBank, Gwen led a market research and strategic consulting practice for financial technology companies and impact investment funds. She has served as an executive in the New York State Department of Financial Services and as the CRA Officer for GE Capital Retail Bank, Goldman Sachs Bank, and Santander Bank. At Santander she led the turnaround of the bank’s community development programs and the creation of the bank’s $11 billion Inclusive Communities Plan

Prior to entering banking, Gwen was a program officer at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she managed a philanthropic portfolio supporting economic and financial inclusion. She began her career as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation's largest and longest-standing network of local faith and community-based organizations

Gwen holds a BA in political economy from Harvard College and a MS in economics from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is currently enrolled in the business analytics program offered jointly by Harvard Business School and the Paulson School of Engineering at Harvard and serves on the New York Advisory Board for Enterprise Community Partners.

Merilyn Rovira

Merilyn Rovira returned to CDT in 2012 as a Senior Vice President responsible for Capital/Strategic Initiatives. She focuses primarily on developing new sources of long-term debt and equity capital and has led four capital raises that attracted more than $200 million in equity. She manages the company’s investor relations, government affairs, and impact evaluation and reporting activities. She had previously worked with CDT and its predecessor organization, the Local Initiatives Managed Assets Corporation (LIMAC) for 11 years. She was one of CDT’s founding officers and raised $32 million from 18 investors in its initial stock offering. With both LIMAC and CDT, she coordinated strategic planning efforts, initiated mortgage securitization programs, and marketed the firms’ loan purchase program to various affordable housing and community development lenders.

Merilyn has 35 years of experience in affordable housing development and finance. Between stints at CDT, she held various positions for Fannie Mae, where she headed the company’s multi-family and community development division in the mid-Atlantic region. She was the national account manager for two lenders and generated nearly $500 million annually in small multi-family loan purchases. As Fannie Mae’s senior deputy director for New Jersey, she implemented an $18 billion investment plan that involved single-family, 2-4 unit, multi-family, and community development loans and loan purchases. Earlier in her career, she spent three years as a mortgage officer for the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, where she underwrote, closed, and managed loans totaling more than $100 million. Ms. Rovira has a BA in Economics, Magna Cum Laude the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Alexa Sewell

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.

Hakim Thompson

Hakim Thompson is an Executive Director at JPMorgan Chase & Co., in the consumer home lending division. In this role, Hakim is focused on transforming the customer’s end to end experience when getting a mortgage with Chase. Hakim is a part of an innovation team who provides the strategy, design & execution of new home lending products that Chase customers experience via both mobile app,, and in-branch. Prior to working at Chase, Hakim co-founded a mortgage startup focused on first time homebuyers, and before that, spent 9 years at Goldman Sachs, working as a Vice President covering institutional clients investing & trading mortgage products. Hakim graduated from Princeton University undergrad in 2006, and received his MBA from MIT Sloan in 2010. Though he originally hails from Washington, DC, Hakim currently resides in Montclair, New Jersey with his wife Lauren, German Shepherd Bello, and baby girl due July 2019.

Mathew M. Wambua

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.

Joe Weisbord

Mr. Weisbord, the Board Secretary, 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.

Valerie White

As Executive Director of LISC NYC, Valerie is responsible for advancing a platform of racial and economic equity by building on $3.1 billion in LISC NYC investments to spur affordable housing, economic development, health equity, and workforce development in underserved neighborhoods. In this role, Valerie leads the team in developing a vision, and advancing strategic policies and programs that foster equity and inclusion in disinvested communities. Before joining LISC NYC in April 2020, Valerie was Executive Vice President at Empire State Development (ESD), as well as Executive Director of the New York State Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development. Previously, she was Vice President at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and Managing Director at Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings (S&P). In addition to her extensive professional experience, Valerie also serves as an advisory board member for the Fordham Urban Law Center, director on the Fordham Law Alumni Association, and board member for BRIC Arts Media in Brooklyn. Valerie holds both a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a J.D. from Fordham University, as well as a Master’s degree in Management and a Certificate in Organization Development from The New School.

Adolfo Carrión Jr. (Ex-Officio)

Adolfo Carrión Jr. is the HPD Commissioner. Mr. Carrión has spent his professional career working to build and improve historically marginalized communities in the Bronx, in other areas of New York City, and around the country. Before starting Metro Futures, Mr. Carrión served as regional administrator for Region II of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, deputy assistant to President Barack Obama, and director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs. Mr. Carrión’s work resulted in the establishment of a White House Urban Policy Working Group and the first interagency review in 30 years of federal government policy and funding in U.S. urban and metropolitan areas. Prior to his tenure in the federal government, Mr. Carrión served as Bronx Borough President and as a member of the New York City Council. His work as Borough President ushered in a new era of building and growth in the Bronx that increased investment in housing, schools, millions of square feet of commercial space, the new Yankee Stadium, and new businesses. Mr. Carrión also served as president of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), is an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellows alumnus, and has served on numerous boards for non-profit and government entities. He also served as executive vice president of Stagg Group, a housing development and management firm, and senior advisor for Corporate Development to the CSA Group, the largest Hispanic-owned architecture and engineering firm in the U.S.

Prior to joining HPD, Mr. Carrión was the CEO and founder of Metro Futures LLC, a real estate development and consulting firm, whose focus is the development of affordable housing, mixed-use and economic development projects, and strategic planning in the New York City Metro Area. Mr. Carrión received his Bachelor of Arts from the King’s College and a Master’s in Urban Planning from Hunter College.