About Us

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.
Our Staff
Margaret Kaplan

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. 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…

Contact Margaret at mkaplan@hjcmn.org 

Jack Cann

Jack Cann

Senior Staff Attorney

Jack Cann graduated from Carleton College in 1964 and graduated magna cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law in 1986. Jack has a unique breadth of experience relevant to housing litigation, including tenants’ rights organizing, advocacy, lobbying, and real estate development and finance…

Contact Jack at jcann@hjcmn.org

Teresa Garcia-Delcompare

Teresa Garcia-Delcompare

Community Organizer

Teresa is originally from Guatemala and came to the United States when she was five years old. Her experiences with affordable housing and the need that she has seen in her community motivate her as an organizer. Teresa is looking forward to supporting her community…

Contact Teresa at tgarcia-delcompare@hjcmn.org

Emma Diers

Emma Diers

AmeriCorps VISTA Tenant Organizer

Emma graduated from Carleton College in 2021 with a degree in Political Science. Before HJC, Emma worked as a paraprofessional teacher with the Migrant Education Program in East Central Illinois and as an English language assistant at a high school in France! In her free time Emma enjoys hiking, reading, and knitting…

Contact Emma at ediers@hjcmn.org

Jessica Szuminski

Jessica Szuminski

Housing Justice Litigator

Jessica joined HJC’s litigation team in September 2022. She is eager to support the expansion of affordable housing and the rights of tenants by eliminating needless barriers. Prior to her work with HJC, Jessica spent a year as a law clerk in Hennepin County Juvenile Court after graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School…

Contact Jessica at jszuminski@hjcmn.org

Ivory Taylor

Ivory Taylor

Associate Director

Ivory is the Associate Director of Housing Justice Center. Since 2017, she has worked to advance the rights of renters in Minnesota by engaging in both grassroots organizing and policy and systems change advocacy. She is also deeply committed to building local organizing infrastructure and supporting new organizers…

Contact Ivory at itaylor@hjcmn.org 

Markanetta Smith

Markanetta Smith

Housing Systems Navigator

Markanetta graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Social Work and earned an MSW degree in 2017. She is passionate about social justice and equity and seeks to help members of marginalized communities gain access to the opportunities and services that are often denied to them. She started at HJC in 2021…

Contact Markanetta at msmith@hjcmn.org 

Sara Byler

Sara Byler

Law Clerk

Sara is currently a 2L at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Sara is passionate about creating spaces and systems that empower humans and uphold the inherent worth of every individual. In her free time, you can find Sara hiking, hammocking at the local park, or searching for the best ice cream in the cities…

Contact Sara at sbyler@hjcmn.org

Ellie Benson

Ellie Benson

Office Manager & Communications Associate

Ellie Benson joined HJC in September 2022 as Office Manager. In her previous tenant organizing work, Ellie had the opportunity to build renter power to improve housing conditions and move rent stabilization forward in Minneapolis. She’s excited to tap into her administrative skillset…

Contact Ellie at ebenson@hjcmn.org 

Jim Poradek

Jim Poradek

Director of Litigation

Jim works with tenants and community organizations to enforce their legal rights to fair, safe, and affordable housing. 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., later attending the University of Minnesota Law School…

Contact Jim at jporadek@hjcmn.org

Tim Thompson

Tim Thompson

Senior Staff Attorney

Tim Thompson is a 1975 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. Tim has worked for various legal services programs for more than 25 years, specializing in tenants’ rights, government housing programs and class actions. Tim’s cases have had far reaching impact on the rights of the poor and communities of color…

Contact Tim at tthompson@hjcmn.org

Zaria Whitlock

Zaria Whitlock

Paralegal

Zaria joined HJC in September 2021, as a paralegal. Zaria attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and graduated summa cum laude in 2021. Zaria graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Philosophy and Sociology with a specialization in Diversity and Social Justice along with a minor in Black Studies…

Contact Zaria at zwhitlock@hjcmn.org 

Abbie Hanson

Abbie Hanson

Housing Justice Litigator

Abbie joined Housing Justice Center’s litigation team in August 2022. She attended the University of Minnesota Law School and graduated magna cum laude in 2021. During law school, Abbie worked at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, supporting their family law, public benefits, and elder law units…

Contact Abbie at ahanson@hjcmn.org 

Our Board

To contact the Housing Justice Center Board of Directors, please email board@hjcmn.org.

Walter Battle

Walter Battle

Board Chair

Walter Battle graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Communications in 1982, earning a Master’s Degree in Management from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in 1993. He is a shareholder of the Wilder Square Cooperative, an affordable housing community that was only saved through his leadership…
Eric Hauge

Eric Hauge

Board Secretary

Eric is the Executive Director of HOME Line. Eric joined HOME Line after obtaining his B.A. in Political Science and Peace Studies in 2003, later earning a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 2009. Eric has door-knocked thousands of rental units throughout the state of Minnesota…
Maria Johnson

Maria Johnson

Board Member

Maria is currently working for Hennepin County as a Human Services Representative while attending Metropolitan State University for her undergraduate degree. Maria was introduced to the HJC as a class representative in the Crossroads at Penn class action lawsuit. She has served on the Board of Directors since 2019…
Warren Hanson

Warren Hanson

Board Member

Warren is the President & CEO as well as founder of Greater Minnesota Housing Fund. Warren leads the executive team and works closely with state and local governments, philanthropy, investors, and community leaders to assemble resources and design strategies to meet affordable housing needs in Minnesota…
Martha Hernández-Martínez, MPA

Martha Hernández-Martínez, MPA

Board Vice-Chair

Martha serves as Senior Research Associate at Rainbow Research. She holds a Master in Public Affairs from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs with a concentration in Women’s International Human Rights and Development Policy, and a License in Psychology from the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua…
Linda Soderstrom

Linda Soderstrom

Board Member

Linda graduated from Carleton College and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota before getting her LPN at Southeast Technical College. Linda is a fearless advocate for affordable housing. The Crossroads at Penn class action filing was her “baptism by fire” in societal neglect of our most deeply in need of affordable housing…
David Anderson

David Anderson

Board Member

David is Executive Director of All Parks Alliance for Change (APAC), the statewide association 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…
Howard Goldman

Howard Goldman

Board Treasurer

Howard is the former Minnesota State Director of the U.S. Humane Society, and served as the Director of Multifamily Housing in HUD’s Minneapolis field office. He has also served as Vice Chair of Little Earth Board of Directors and as a member of Beacon Interfaith’s Real Estate Committee…
Richard Kahn

Richard Kahn

Board Member

Richard is currently President of National Affordable Housing Advisors, is a former affordable housing developer, former board member of Jewish Community Action, and 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…
Michael Bodaken

Michael Bodaken

Board Member

From 1993 to 2018, Michael Bodaken served as head of the National Housing Trust (NHT). Under his leadership, the Trust financed and preserved more than 30,000 affordable homes throughout the nation, leveraging more than $1 billion in financing. He is a frequent guest lecturer and panelist at affordable housing industry events…
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. 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.