As of April 2018, Marlene serves as the Western, Central, and Southern Tier Regional Coordinator for Empire Justice's Anchor Partner Program for the office of the NYS Attorney General’s Homeownership Protection Program (HOPP). Marlene coordinates legal services and housing counseling services related to HOPP and organizes out of the Rochester office of Empire Justice Center.
Previously, Marlene served as a bi-lingual Foreclosure Prevention Intake Paralegal with the Consumer Finance and Housing Unit (CFH) in Empire Justice Center's Rochester office. She provided administrative support to the attorneys and paralegals in the CFH Unit.
Before joining Empire Justice Center, Marlene worked with Preferred Care (MVP Health Care) as an enrollment representative for 9 counties. Prior to that she worked for a private attorney as a Legal Assistant and also with Monroe County Legal Assistance in various positions.
HOPP Regional Coordinator
Maria DeGennaro joined Empire Justice Center as a Staff Attorney with the Consumer Finance and Housing Unit of Empire Justice Center, and is the Long Island Regional Coordinator for its Anchor Partner Program for the Office of the NYS Attorney General's Homeownership Protection Program ("HOPP"). Maria provides and coordinates legal services and housing counseling services related to HOPP out of the Central Islip office at Touro Law School's Public Advocacy Center.
Maria's previous experience includes being the Foreclosure Prevention Program Manager for Long Island Housing Services, Inc. ("LIHS"). Maria worked at LIHS and built their foreclosure prevention program while attending law school. After graduating from Touro Law School, Maria worked in legal private practice handling a range of litigation cases.
Prior to attending law school, Maria worked for two decades in business, banking and lending institutions. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.S. in Business Administration and received her M.B.A. from Sacred Heart University.
Staff Attorney, HOPP Regional Coordinator
Kirsten E. Keefe is a senior staff attorney with the Consumer Finance and Housing Unit in Empire Justice Center's Albany office. Kirsten works on policy issues regarding mortgage lending, foreclosure and consumer financial issues. Kirsten is also the Director of Empire Justice’s Anchor Partner program for the NYS Office of the Attorney General’s Homeownership Protection Program (HOPP), overseeing the statewide administration of grants to non-profit organizations providing direct assistance to homeowners. Kirsten has focused on anti-predatory lending and foreclosure since 1998, having started in direct services at Community Legal Services, Inc. in Philadelphia, PA. From 2009 - 2011, Kirsten served on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System’s Consumer Advisory Council. Kirsten has taught consumer law at Temple University Beasley School of Law, and has lectured at Albany Law School and other local universities. She received a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and a J.D. from Beasley School of Law at Temple University.
Prior to law school, Kirsten served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand.
Senior Staff Attorney, Director of HOPP Anchor Partner Program
Ellie Pepper joined Empire Justice Center in December 2012 as the Hudson Valley and Northeast Regional Coordinator for its Anchor Partner Program for the office of the NYS Attorney General’s Homeownership Protection Program (HOPP). Ellie coordinates legal services and housing counseling services related to HOPP and organizes training and technical assistance for HOPP grantees out of the Albany offices of Empire Justice Center.
Ellie’s previous experience includes being the Deputy Director of a non-profit homeownership center in Schenectady, NY for six years. Her focus in this position was the management of a tri-county Housing Counseling Program that provided prepurchase education and counseling, post purchase counseling and mortgage default and foreclosure counseling. Her previous experience includes non-profit program management and substance abuse counseling.
Ellie graduated from SUNY Empire State College with a BA in Psychological Counseling.
HOPP Regional Coordinator
Shannon joined Empire Justice Center in January, 2015, as the New York State Mortgage Assistance Program Assistant, working with The Center for New York City Neighborhoods to support housing counselors and legal services providers across New York State. As the point of contact for both housing counselors and legal services providers, Shannon ensured the smooth processing of loan applications for thousands of New York homeowners. Over 1,000 homes were saved as a result of this program.
Shannon now overseas the day-to-day operations of the HOPP Anchor Partner program for all funded agencies outside of New York City. Her role has also expanded to include supporting the organization’s Marketing & Communications Team, as well as its Diversity Committee.
Grants and Development Manager
Amadi is the Foreclosure Prevention Technical Services Coordinator on the HOPP Anchor Program team. She is the point person for data collection questions or issues. She also maintains internal data bases and systems, communications with grantees, provides technical support with trainings and more. Amadi comes to Empire Justice Center with experience in foreclosures, having worked for a private practice firm representing lenders and working with borrowers in foreclosure settlement conferences. She has strong computer skills and has a strong commitment to social justice issues and helping others, evidenced by a long list of volunteer and community participation activities. She works out of the Rochester office.
Foreclosure Prevention Technical Services Coordinator
Shannon began her winding career at Empire Justice Center in January 2015, as the NYS Mortgage Assistance Program Assistant working with The Center for New York City Neighborhoods to support housing counselors and legal services providers across New York State. She moved on to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP) Anchor Partner program for all funded agencies outside of New York City. In her next role, she took ownership of key aspects of organizational funding, from creating and implementing successful annual appeal campaigns, to ensuring organizational compliance and timely reporting on more than 30 contracts, to securing over $1.5 million in new funding. She most recently added “system administrator” to her list of descriptors, overseeing the launch and ongoing custom refinement of our case tracking and reporting system. She has supported the organization’s Marketing & Communications Team as well as its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee throughout her tenure.
Senior Manager for Grants and Data Systems
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