Upstate Conference Breakout Sessions

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Breakout Sessions

Meghan C. Altidor (Moderator) - Meghan Altidor is a partner at Nixon Peabody and represents nonprofit and for-profit developers in acquiring, constructing, rehabilitating and operating affordable housing developments around the country. Ms. Altidor frequently speaks about housing issues at national conferences such as IPED, IRHP and NYSAFAH. Meghan is the deputy leader of the firm's Affordable Housing Transactional team. She has her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, her M.A. in Urban Studies from MIT, and her B.S. from Georgetown University.

Susan Sturman Jennings - Susan Sturman Jennings is Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Conifer Realty. She is responsible for closing Conifer's tax credit and real estate transactions, advising on compliance, construction and property management matters and implementing policies to mitigate liability while keeping in mind Conifer's values, objectives and strategic plan. Prior to joining Conifer in 2000, Ms. Sturman Jennings was a principal of Hessel & Aluise, P.C., in Washington, D.C. where she represented developers, nonprofit organizations and lenders in Federal Housing Administration, Federal National Mortgage Association and conventional financing transactions. She also advised clients on issues regarding property management, mark-to-market, other HUD subsidy programs and state agency regulation of affordable housing. Ms. Sturman Jennings received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Policy Analysis from Cornell University and earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence, with a concentration in State and Local Government Law, from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law.

Jean Partridge - Jean M. Partridge, co-founder and managing member of Benchmark Title Agency, LLC has been in the title insurance industry for over 30 years. Prior to establishing Benchmark, Jean was a Senior Vice President and Branch Counsel of First American Title Insurance Company of New York and a member of their Board of Directors. She and her business partner, Thomas N. De Caro, have been working together successfully since 1985. Jean is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Real Estate Law Institute at Pace University School of Law. Jean is a frequent speaker on real estate matters and has been a CLE speaker for the New York State Bar Association, the New York State Land Title Association as well as for several local bar associations. Additionally, Jean has been certified by the New York State Department of Financial Services as a 'Broad Scope Instructor' qualifying her to teach on matters relating to title insurance, and to provide attendees Continuing Education credits. Jean is admitted to practice law in both the states of New York and Connecticut. She is also rated AV for ethical standards and legal ability by Martindale-Hubbell peer review.

Jacqueline Tom - Jacqueline Tom is an Associate General Counsel at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Jackie leads a team of attorneys responsible for providing legal support to many of HPD's preservation finance programs. She earned her J.D. from St. John's University School of Law and her B.A. from Boston University.


Deborah VanAmerongen (Moderator) - Deborah VanAmerongen is a strategic policy advisor in Nixon Peabody's Affordable Housing practice group and works with attorneys in the firm and clients, including developers, owners, managers, and funders to craft creative solutions to issues relative to affordable housing development and preservation. Prior to her tenure at Nixon Peabody, Deborah was the Commissioner for the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (HCR), served as the Director of the Multi-Family Hub at HUD, and worked as a Legislative Coordinator in the NYS Assembly. Deborah earned a B.S. in Political Science from Utica College of Syracuse University and her M.P.A from SUNY Rockefeller.

Bob Moss - Bob Moss leads CohnReznick's federal and state government relations efforts with a focus on the affordable housing industry. In this capacity, he helps to protect client interests in the affordable housing industry through the legislative process. Bob operates out of CohnReznick's Boston and DC-metro offices. Bob has 30 years of affordable, multifamily housing experience that includes syndication, preservation and development, debt financing, tax credit applications, and property management. In 2015, he was inducted into the National Affordable Housing Hall of Fame by Affordable Housing Finance magazine. In addition, he was honored with the Daniel M. Grady Memorial Award by NAHB for his commitment to advocacy.Prior to joining the Firm, Bob was Senior Vice President and Director of Origination, Affordable Housing, for Boston Capital.

Emily Cadik - Emily Cadik is the Executive Director of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition (AHTCC), where she leads advocacy to support affordable rental housing financed using the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). Prior to joining the AHTCC, she was a Senior Director of Public Policy at Enterprise Community Partners, where she led policy and advocacy related to the Housing Credit and other affordable housing and community development issues. While at Enterprise she served on the board of the AHTCC, chairing the Legislative Committee, co-chairing the Marketing Committee, and serving on the Executive Committee since 2016. She earned a master's degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

David Gasson - David S. Gasson is Vice President and a Director at Boston Capital Corporation. Mr. Gasson joined Boston Capital in 1995.  He is responsible for all external communications for Boston Capital including community affairs, state and federal legislative issues, housing policy and public relations. He also directs Boston Capital's philanthropic outreach through the Boston Capital Foundation. Mr. Gasson is a frequent speaker at forums around the country on state and federal policy issues. He is Executive Director of the Housing Advisory Group, an organization comprised of industry professionals from around the country founded to advocate on behalf housing issues. Before joining Boston Capital, Mr. Gasson served in several capacities on the staffs of Congressman Richard Gephardt of Missouri and Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine. He is a graduate of the University of Florida.

Richard Roberts - Richard Roberts is Principal and Chief Business Development Officer for Red Stone Equity Partners, LLC assisting in the origination and management of developer relationships in the Northeast and the development of new business strategies for the firm. Richard has extensive experience in affordable housing and urban market investments having worked in these areas for over 25 years. Prior to joining Red Stone, he worked in the government, for profit and nonprofit sectors including serving as the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, one of the largest allocators of Low Income Housing Tax Credits in the country. Richard holds both a BA and JD from Yale University.


Bret Garwood (MODERATOR) - Bret Garwood joined Home Leasing in 2017. He serves as Chief Executive Officer for Home Leasing and Home Leasing Construction. Bret provides executive leadership and oversees the day-to-day operations of the company. Before Home Leasing, Bret served as Senior Vice President for Multifamily Programs for New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). He oversaw the development and implementation of affordable housing finance and development programs, including Tax Exempt Bonds, 4% and 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), State Low Income Housing Credit (SLIHC), and capital grant and loan sources. Bret holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from Lehigh University and a Master of Science in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University.

RuthAnne Visnauskas - RuthAnne Visnauskas was appointed Commissioner of the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (HCR) by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2017 and also serves as the President/CEO of the New York State Housing Finance Agency, the State of New York Mortgage Agency and the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation. RuthAnne previously served as HCR's Executive Deputy Commissioner for Housing Development. Prior to joining HCR, RuthAnne was Managing Director of the Housing Advisory Board for the Robin Hood Foundation and has held several key positions at New York City HPD, including the role of Commissioner. She received her Bachelor degree in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and holds a Master's degree in Urban Planning from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.

Brian Kavanagh - State Senator Brian Kavanagh represents more than 320,000 residents in New York's 26th Senate District which include neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Brian was first elected to the Senate in 2017 after representing the 74th District on Manhattan's East Side in the State Assembly, where he was elected to six terms, beginning in 2006. His work focuses on promoting affordable housing, preventing gun violence, protecting the environment, creating a more open and equitable political process, and advancing economic and social justice. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction, and Community Development, Brian has built on his decades of advocating for access to high quality, safe, affordable housing for all New Yorkers. In 2019, he led the Senate effort to enact the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, which gave New York the toughest tenant protections in the nation. The HSTPA dramatically strengthened the rent regulation laws, made them permanent, enabled any locality with a very low vacancy rate to adopt rent regulation, created new protections for residents of mobile and manufactured home parks, and instituted other substantial new rights for all renters statewide. Senator Kavanagh holds degress from Princeton University and NYU Law School.

Steven Cymbrowitz - Assemblymember Steven H. Cymbrowitz was elected in 2000 and represents the 45th Assembly District in Brooklyn as a full-time Assemblyman. His district includes portions of Sheepshead Bay, Midwood, Manhattan Beach, Gravesend and Brighton Beach. In January 2017, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz was appointed Chairman of the Assembly's Housing Committee, where he works to addresses important issues that directly affect low- and middle-income families across New York State, including public housing, the Mitchell-Lama housing program and rent regulation protections. Prior to this post he served as Chair of the Aging Committee, where he focused on issues such as elder abuse and the challenge of helping seniors "age in place." Assemblyman Cymbrowitz also chaired the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee and helped craft the State's first comprehensive initiative to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic. Assemblyman Cymbrowitz holds a bachelor's degree from C.W. Post College, a master's degree in social work (MSW) from Adelphi University and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School.


Gifford Miller - After more than a decade of experience at the highest levels of New York City government, including four years as Speaker of the City Council, Gifford Miller today brings his expertise to bear on private sector initiatives. Miller formed Signature Urban Properties (SUP) to pursue transformational development in transitional urban areas. As SUP's Co-Managing Principal, Miller has led multiple projects strengthening and enhancing New York City's neighborhoods. In recent years, under his leadership, SUP completed the largest private rezoning in the history of the Bronx and is leading the development of more than 1,600 units of affordable housing, transforming formerly derelict industrial areas into new, vibrant residential and mixed use communities. In addition to his development work, Miller is also the Principal of Miller Strategies, a highly successful strategic consulting firm. As its principal, Miller advises a variety of companies on navigating New York's complex business, regulatory, and political waters. Mr. Miller is a graduate of Princeton University.

Gale Brewer - Gale A. Brewer is the 27th Borough President of Manhattan. Since she took office in 2014, she has successfully passed legislation to reform the deed restriction process, add 'caregivers' to the city's anti-discrimination law, remove criminal history questions from initial employment applications (the "Fair Chance Act"), and enforce requirements for street numbers on buildings in Manhattan (to aid emergency workers). She has also spearheaded community planning initiatives at the South Street Seaport, in East Midtown, and in other neighborhoods to address development and zoning issues. Brewer previously served on the City Council for 12 years, serving as the founding chair of the Technology Committee and leading the Government Operations Committee. There, the Council passed her legislation guaranteeing paid sick leave for most hourly employees, requiring all City data be published online, and protecting domestic workers from abusive practices. Brewer has an MPA from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and did her undergraduate work at Columbia University and Bennington College.

Louise Carroll - Louise Carroll is the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the nation's largest municipal housing agency. Louise was previously General Counsel and Senior Vice President at the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC). She formerly served at HPD from 2006 to 2018, most recently as Associate Commissioner for Housing Incentives. During her tenure at the agency, Louise was the primary architect of changes to the City's tax programs to leverage greater affordability and better promote the goals of this Administration's housing plan. She holds a JD from Tulane Law School, an MBA from the University of Leicester, England, and a B.Sc. from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth. Louise is a recipient of the Ibo Balton Community Planner Award from the Citizens Housing and Planning Council.

Eric Enderlin - Eric Enderlin brings more than 20 years of experience in public policy and affordable housing to HDC. He most recently served as Deputy Commissioner for Development and Special Advisor at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), overseeing divisions including New Construction Finance, Preservation Finance, Housing Incentives, Property Disposition and Finance, Special Needs Housing, Building and Land Development Services (BLDS), Storm Recovery, and Credit and Underwriting. At HPD, Mr. Enderlin was instrumental to the historic levels of affordable housing production achieved under the Housing New York plan. Mr. Enderlin holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics and a Master of Science in urban planning and policy, both from Rutgers University.

Matt Murphy - Matthew Murphy is the Executive Director of the NYU Furman Center. Previously, he served as Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Policy and Strategy for the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and was responsible for creating strategies to advance HPD's housing policy objectives and overseeing initiatives to help achieve agency goals and improve operations. He directly oversaw two divisions: Housing Policy and Strategic Operations & Analytics, playing a central role in many of the City's signature achievements, including the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, the reform of 421-a, and the new Certification of No Harassment policy, among others. Matt started with HPD as Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Planning in 2015 after having served as a Senior Project Manager and Policy Advisor at HDC since 2011. Matt began his urban planning career as a Graduate Research Assistant with the NYU Furman Center, during which time he completed a Masters of Urban Planning at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. He holds an undergraduate degree from DePaul University.


Kirk Goodrich - Kirk Goodrich is NYSAFAH's Board Chairperson. Mr. Goodrich is also the Director of Real Estate Development for Monadnock Construction which include their affordable housing efforts. Prior to joining Monadnock, Kirk ran the tax credit syndication business for Enterprise Community Investment in the Northeast Region. Kirk received a Juris Doctorate from Fordham University, a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University.

Majora Carter - Majora Carter is a real estate developer, urban revitalization strategy consultant, MacArthur Fellow and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. She is responsible for the creation and successful implementation of numerous economic developments, technology & green-infrastructure projects, policies and job training & placement systems. Carter combines her corporate consulting practice focused on talent-retention, and applies it to reducing Brain Drain in American low-status communities. She advises and partners on transformational real estate developments in the South Bronx and around the country. In 2017, she launched the Boogie Down Grind, a Hip Hop themed speciality coffee shop & craft beer spot, and the first commercial "3rd Space" in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx since the mid-1980s. This venture also provided a rare opportunity for local families to invest. Majora is a graduate Wesleyan University and earned her MFA from New York University (MFA).

Fred Freiberg - Prior to co-founding the Fair Housing Justice Center in 2004, Mr. Freiberg worked for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice where he directed a national testing program that he helped to establish in 1992. From 1999 – 2002, Mr. Freiberg directed the field work in two national research projects conducted by The Urban Institute involving testing – a study of mortgage lending practices and the national Housing Discrimination Study (HDS). During the 1980s, Mr. Freiberg worked as a fair housing consultant for private and public fair housing organizations. Mr. Freiberg was a founder and the first Executive Director of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council from 1977-1981. Mr. Freiberg's professional activities for fair housing span more than forty years during which time he has testified in dozens of fair housing cases, published articles on fair housing, and received numerous awards for his accomplishments in the fair housing field. He was also the Executive Producer for the documentary, A Matter of Place. Mr. Freiberg is one the nation's leading experts on the use of testing as an investigative tool to enforce civil rights laws.

Kim Mitchell - Kim Mitchell, VP of Program Development and Operations is responsible for leading NPower's programmatic direction and strategic growth agenda for impact and expansion. This includes managing the regional locations across the country and supporting the Executive Directors to achieve best-in-class outcomes; drive operational excellence and lead the creation and refinement of systems, processes & practices for recruitment, curriculum development, facilitation and training, professional development, placement and governance. Kim is a seasoned professional with decades of leadership experience in Philanthropy, Human Resources, Consulting, and Diversity and Inclusion while at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Xerox Corporation. As the former Northeast Region Executive for JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Kim led philanthropic, civic and employee engagement activities and managed a social investment portfolio of over $40 million in grants and strategic sponsorships. Given this unique blend of experience, Kim is recognized for her expertise and proven record in leading high profile projects, building and leading high performing teams and advising senior business and community leaders on integrating organizational assets to achieve business and community outcomes. Her work in corporate diversity has been a valuable asset in service to the nonprofit sector. As a funder and thought partner Kim has worked with organizations fighting housing, education and economic inequity to help identify solutions at the organizational, policy and systems level. Ms. Mitchell  is a graduate of Lake Forest College with a B.A. degree in urban studies.




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