The Housing Justice Center is pleased to announce that our new President is Margaret Kaplan. Margaret took the helm of HJC July 1st and will help lead the organization as it celebrates 20 years of successful legal and policy advocacy for the right to safe stable affordable places for people to call home.
Margaret was already well-known and respected in the field of housing and community development when she joined HJC in December of 2018. She began her career as a community organizer, fighting for the rights of manufactured home community members with All Parks Alliance for Change. After law school, Margaret joined HJC under its former name Housing Preservation Project, where she worked on a range of issues including preservation of federally subsidized housing and manufactured home community preservation. She then returned to APAC as the Legal and Public Policy Director where she helped resident associations fight for their rights in parks, represented resident associations in court, and help push legislation to support manufactured homeowners including a law that prevented deceptive lending practices and creation of the relocation trust fund for homeowners who are displaced through park closures.
Next she spent four years at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs as the Operations Director for the Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing, working to ensure that people affected by decisions had the tools and skills to organize and advocate on issues ranging from education to transportation to police community relations to housing. Most recently she spent six years as the Community Development Director at Minnesota Housing where she worked to create connections between community needs across the state of Minnesota and the programs and policies of Minnesota Housing.
“I have spent the better part of 20 years working on housing and community development because the places we call home are such a big part of our lives but for so many people safe, stable, and affordable homes are out of reach,” said Kaplan. “Law and policy are some of the most important tools in the toolkit of communities fighting for housing justice. I am excited for the opportunity to lead this work because HJC does something that nobody else can do.”
“I’m so pleased to be able to pass the reins at HJC to such an effective advocate and leader as Margaret Kaplan,” said Tim Thompson, current HJC President. “We knew it would take a special person to maintain the unique position HJC occupies in the Minnesota affordable housing ecosystem, and in Margaret we have that person.”
Over the course of the next six months, Kaplan will work with focus on positioning the organization for the future, while continuing the work of using the law and policy to encourage and production of affordable housing, the preservation of the homes that we have, and the protection of the people who live there.
Over the next 12 months HJC will create new strategies and tools focused on creating and preserving homes for families making less than $25,000 a year, push for local policies to prevent displacement and create access to affordable places for people to call home, fight for more deeply affordable housing opportunities, and use the power of the law to aggressively assert the housing rights of very-low income families.
“I am excited about the work that we have planned, and excited that we have the opportunity with the upcoming relaunch of our website and our work with community partners to help demystify housing issues so that more people can be engaged and involved in planning for the future of communities.”