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HJC welcomes new attorney, paralegal, and rental assistance navigator - Housing Justice Center

Larry McDonough, Zaria Whitlock, and Markanetta Smith have joined the team at Housing Justice Center.

Housing Justice Center has grown remarkably over the last few months, welcoming Larry McDonough, Zaria Whitlock, and Markanetta Smith to the team. “Increased staff capacity means the increased ability to support strategies for housing justice in the Twin Cities and beyond,” said HJC President Margaret Kaplan. “We are excited and honored to have Larry, Zaria, and Markanetta on board.”

Larry comes to HJC with over 38 years of experience in civil legal services. As a legal services and pro-bono civil litigation attorney, he has represented over 10,000 clients, with 250 trials, 1,000 motion hearings, and scores of appellate hearings under his belt. Over the years, he has become a state and national expert in housing law, having taught both academic and clinical law courses and presented at seminars across the country. “I’m looking forward to bringing my expertise in tenant-landlord law to HJC, and to learning from their powerful team,” said Larry.

Zaria joins HJC as a paralegal, holding a B.S. in Philosophy and Sociology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she graduated summa cum laude. Zaria hails from St. Paul and aims to dismantle the barriers that prevent people from accessing sufficient legal advocacy. As HJC’s paralegal, she supports legal administration work in the office, which includes drafting letters, communicating with clients, and filing documents. “I’m most excited about having a positive impact on members of my community seeking assistance with housing,” said Zaria. “And I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn from the knowledgeable members of the HJC staff.”

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.

Read complete bios for Larry, Zaria, and Markanetta here.