Founded in 1999 as the Housing Preservation Project, Housing Justice Center (HJC) is a nonprofit public interest advocacy and legal organization whose primary mission is to preserve and expand affordable housing for low-income individuals and families.
HJC attorneys work with tenant and advocacy organizations, public and private housing funders, owners, developers, and policy makers in their efforts to protect and expand affordable housing. Based in Minnesota, HJC works nationwide.
Margaret Kaplan, President
Margaret graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2003 and began her legal career with the Housing Preservation Project. She subsequently worked for All Parks Alliance for Change and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota. After spending six years as the Community Development Director at Minnesota Housing, Margaret was a policy fellow with the North Star Policy Institute. Margaret brings a wealth of knowledge about local, state, and federal housing policy and programs as well as a robust background in the intersection of community organizing and the law.
Shana Tomenes, Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Target Corporation
Shana works with low-income tenants and community organizations to protect and expand accessible affordable housing through impact litigation and public policy. Shana attended the University of St. Thomas School of Law and graduated magna cum laude in 2019. During law school, she was the Managing Editor of the St. Thomas Law Journal, volunteered with the restorative justice program Washington County Community Circles, and clerked at the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office. She was also a student attorney at the University of St. Thomas School of Law Appellate Clinic, where she represented a federal prisoner seeking relief in a civil appeal, and successfully argued the case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Before joining the Housing Justice Center in September 2020, Shana was a judicial law clerk to Justice G. Barry Anderson and Justice Paul Thissen at the Minnesota Supreme Court.
As an Equal Justice Works fellow, Shana’s legal and policy advocacy focuses on the areas anti-displacement and anti-discrimination to preserve existing affordable housing and fight for expansion to improve access to fair housing. As a first-generation college graduate from Minnesota, Shana works hard for her clients and is excited to collaborate with others in her community.
Meg Daly, Operations and Communications Associate
Meg joined Housing Justice Center’s staff in March 2021 as the Operations and Communications Associate. Meg supports operational, administrative, and communications efforts that build organizational capacity for HJC’s continued success. She is particularly passionate about HJC’s mission after growing up on Long Island (Lawn Guyland)—a case study in racial covenants and redlining, mired in the legacy of Levittown.
Before joining HJC, Meg worked as a Council Assistant for St. Paul Councilmember Nelsie Yang, addressing homelessness in Ward 6. She recently completed a Policy Fellowship with the Minnesota Youth Collective and worked as a communications consultant in a variety of settings, ranging from a children’s television show to a legal advisory firm focused on governance and rule of law. Meg is especially interested in advancing narrative strategies that bring us closer to a goal of homes for all.
Meg graduated from Middlebury College in 2018 where she majored in English Literature and ran the campus radio station. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, learning about the diverse biomes of Mni Sota Makoce, and chasing the perfect slice joint. Meg lives in St. Paul with her significant other and two cats.
Teresa Garcia-Delcompare, HOME Line VISTA Tenant Organizer
Teresa is originally from Guatemala and came to the United States when she was five years old. She graduated from Humboldt High school, then continued her education as a Spanish community interpreter. Teresa considers it such a blessing to be a part of Pueblos and Housing Justice Center as a Tenant Organizer. Her experiences with affordable housing and the need that she has seen in her community are part of the reasons why she applied for this position. Teresa is looking forward to supporting her community and creating a positive change.
Harper Beeland, HOME Line VISTA Tenant Organizer
Harper is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee. He moved to the Twin Cities after graduating in 2020 from Kenyon College, where he majored in American Studies, with an emphasis on folk cultures and built environments. Before coming to HOME Line, he applied these interests through roles in public radio, communications, and sustainable agriculture. He sees the Twin Cities’ robust landscape of tenant advocacy and organizing as an exciting and promising space to promote justice, equity, and accessibility in housing.
Tim Thompson, Senior Staff Attorney
Timothy (Tim) Thompson is a 1975 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. He joined HJC in 2000 (known as “HPP” back then) and up until 2006 was also employed as the Litigation Director of Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, Inc. Tim has worked for various legal services programs for more than 25 years, specializing in tenants’ rights, government housing programs and class actions. He has been lead counsel or co-counsel on over 30 cases in Federal Court brought on behalf of low income residents. These suits have helped to secure rights to public assistance and federally subsidized housing programs for those most in need of these services. Tim’s cases have had far reaching impact on the rights and opportunities of the poor and communities of color.
Jack Cann, Senior Staff Attorney
John (Jack) Cann graduated from Carleton College in 1964 and did three years of graduate work at Stanford University. In 1967, Jack began to work full time on a variety of housing related activities, many of them litigation oriented. This provided him with a unique breadth and depth of experience relevant to housing litigation, including tenants’ rights organizing, advocacy, lobbying, and real estate development and finance. He graduated magna cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law in 1986. Jack brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to the HJC staff. He has worked extensively with Section 236, Section 8, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and Community Development Block Grants. His knowledge of financing tools and compliance requirements gives HJC an advantage in both negotiations and litigation. He has also extensively litigated preservation cases on both the district and appellate level, both in Minnesota and across the country.
James Poradek, Housing Rights Attorney
Jim works with low-income tenants and community organizations to enforce their legal rights to fair, safe, and affordable housing. Before joining Housing Justice Center in January 2020, Jim worked for 19 years as lead trial counsel at one of the top law firms in the country, Faegre Baker Daniels, where he won dozens of complex, high-stakes cases frequently involving disputes over $100M. Before that, Jim worked as a law clerk for a federal district court judge in Minnesota after graduating magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Minnesota Law Review. Jim has been consistently ranked as one of the top civil litigators in the country by Best Lawyers in America and IAM 1000 World’s Leading Litigation Professionals: “Jim Poradek is one of the most gifted oral advocates anywhere; . . . brilliant at taking complex technical subject matter and making it easy to understand and, above all, interesting.”
Jim’s work in housing justice law goes back to the 1990s, when he worked as a community organizer and affordable housing activist in Washington, DC., and did scholarly work on access to justice and affordable housing at the University of Minnesota Law School. At Faegre, Jim developed the firm’s pro bono tenant rights enforcement practice and served as lead counsel in many successful tenant rights lawsuits, including a groundbreaking consumer fraud class action against predatory landlords that resulted in a class settlement that returned millions of dollars in rent to tenants. Jim received the 2018 Baker Benson Pro Bono Award for his tenant rights work and was recognized by the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court for “extraordinary efforts to help low-income tenants [that] sets a shining example for all in the legal profession.”
Jim’s approach as a litigator is the same today with housing rights clients as it was with Fortune 500 clients when he worked at Faegre: he believes in rolling up his sleeves and working side-by-side with clients and colleagues to develop creative strategies that achieve high-impact wins for his clients.
Walter Battle (Board Chair) is a shareholder of the Wilder Square Cooperative, an affordable housing community that was only saved though Mr. Battle’s leadership.
Martha Hernandez-Martinez, MPA, (Board Vice-Chair) serves as Senior Research Associate at Rainbow Research & Evaluation. She holds a Master in Public Affairs from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota with a concentration in Women’s International Human Rights and Development Policy and a License in Psychology from the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua.
Howard Goldman (Board Treasurer) is the former Minnesota State Director of the U.S. Humane Society, and served as the Multifamily Hub Director for HUD. His other experience includes: Vice Chair of Little Earth Board of Directors; Real estate Committee of Beacon Interfaith, and Temple of Aaron Housing subcommittee (social action committee).
Eric Hauge (Board Secretary) is the Executive Director of HOME Line, an organization providing free legal, organizing, educational, and advocacy services so that tenants throughout Minnesota can solve their own rental housing problems.
Linda Soderstrom is a fearless community advocate for affordable housing. She was a former tenant of the Crossroads apartments and currently lives in Saint Charles.
Maria Johnson is a community leader and a former renter at the Crossroads Apartments.
Richard Kahn, currently President of National Affordable Housing Advisors, is a former affordable housing developer, former board member of Jewish Community Action, and a founding member of the HJC Board of Directors. He now works on acquisition and financing of existing affordable rental housing on behalf of non-profits.
David Anderson is Executive Director of All Parks Alliance for Change (APAC), a state-wide advocacy group for residents of Minnesota’s manufactured home parks. APAC and HJC have worked closely together to develop strategies to keep parks open in recognition of their value as an affordable housing resource.
Michael Bodaken is President of the National Housing Trust, the only national nonprofit organization engaged in housing preservation through a combination of real estate development, lending, and public policy endeavors. Among other activities, Mr. Bodaken leads the National Preservation Working Group, a coalition of groups (including HJC) advocating for stronger preservation policies on the federal level.
Warren Hanson is President of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF), an intermediary funding organization providing financial and technical assistance to promote affordable housing in Greater Minnesota communities. Mr. Hanson is a founding board member of HJC and GMHF is one of HJC’s founding organizations.
Our Funders & Supporters
HJC represents clients and supports the advocacy efforts of community based organizations free of charge. The mission-driven work of the Housing Justice Center is supported by generous contributions from our funder partners.
- Legal Services Advisory Committee
- Equal Justice Works sponsored by Target Corporation
- McKnight Foundation
- Otto Bremer Trust
- Target Foundation
- Minnesota State Bar Foundation
- Heading Home Funders Collaborative
- Greater Minnesota Housing Fund
- Minnesota Housing
- Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps VISTA)
In Kind Support: HJC depends on student interns and volunteers to support our work. Through the Minnesota Justice Foundation, the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and the University of St. Thomas law clinic we have had the privilege of working with the next generation of lawyers and researchers. HJC also works with pro bono attorneys as co-counsel on our larger impact litigation efforts.
HJC’s work is also sustained by individual donors. To make a contribution to our work, donate here.