The Staff of Tenants & Neighbors

Mariel De La Cruz, Tenant Organizer, HUD-Assisted Housing, has been in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for the last two years. Last year, she was a Bilingual Paralegal at the Georgia Legal Services Farmworker Division, where she conducted outreach and educated workers about their rights. The year before, she worked with the United Community Housing Coalition in Detroit, assisting people who were going through a foreclosure or eviction. In her current role, Mariel is educating and organizing tenants in buildings that HUD has determined to be at risk of loss of affordability. She graduated from Fordham University with a major in Political Science and a minor in Urban Studies.

Emily Goldstein, Coordinator of Preservation Organizing and Policy, worked previously at ANHD and LISC NYC, where she worked on preserving HUD-subsidized housing. Prior to that, she was a union organizer with the New York Hotel Trades Council. At Tenants & Neighbors, Emily coordinates our efforts to preserve subsidized buildings that are at risk of loss of affordability and also engages tenants in formulating and advancing programmatic solutions to the loss of affordability, with a focus on city and federal level reforms. Emily is a life-long New Yorker. She has a BA in Urban Studies from Vassar College.

Katie Goldstein, Senior Organizer, has been with Tenants & Neighbors since 2007. She initially came to us through the AVODAH Jewish Service Corps program. In her current role, Katie helps to oversee our grassroots organizing work as well as our base building and leadership development initiatives. Katie previously worked as an organizer for and served on the Board of Directors of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. She studied political and economic geography at Sarah Lawrence College.

Oksana Mironova, Grant Administrator, is responsible for the administrative management of our Tenant Resource Network grant, through which we educate and organize tenants living in Section 8 properties that HUD has determined to be at risk of loss of affordability. Oksana is also a Morgan Stanley/ANHD fellow at the West Side Federation of Senior and Supportive Housing and a Research Assistant at the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities. She is currently finishing up her Masters of Urban Planning at Hunter College.

Maggie Russell-Ciardi, Executive Director, previously worked at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where she developed a wide range of programs to foster dialogue about challenging social issues such as housing and immigration. Her past work experience includes serving as the Strengthening Neighborhood Assets Program Coordinator at Citizens Committee for NYC, managing a $1.1 million program of grants, training, and technical assistance for organizations working to promote positive inter-group relations in communities with new immigrant residents. She has also led a city-wide education program on immigrant rights at the Center for Immigrants Rights and organized migrant farm workers with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee. Maggie has a BA in Spanish and Labor and Trade Union Studies from Oberlin College, and a MA in Latin American Studies from New York University.

Miriam Serrano, Office Manager and Member Services Coordinator, oversees the maintenance of our office and also plays an instrumental role in member services, including coordinating the logistics for the annual membership meeting and conference and providing information and referrals to rent regulated tenants. She also plays a major role in our grassroots fundraising. Miriam is a fluent Spanish speaker and has been with Tenants & Neighbors for fifteen years.

Sam Stein, Rent Regulation Campaign Coordinator, coordinates our legislative campaigns to strengthen the rent laws as well as our annual Rent Guidelines Board campaign. He also provides organizing support, information, and referrals to rent regulated tenants. Sam's previous experience includes working as a campaign researcher for SEIU 32BJ. He has a Masters degree in Urban Planning.

Nicole Zanardi, Tenant Organizer, is our 2012-2013 Jesuit Volunteer. She is from Los Gatos, CA and she graduated from Boston College in 2012 with a degree in political science and international studies. While in college, Nicole founded Rural Water Ventures BC, a student organization that raises awareness about the global water crisis, and she led a number of service-immersion trips to the Appalachia region, where she worked with local community members who lacked access to adequate housing and education. At Tenants & Neighbors, Nicole is focusing on educating and engaging rent stabilized tenants.

The Board of the NY State Tenants & Neighbors Coalition

Most of the Coalition Board members live in regulated, subsidized, or formerly subsidized housing. Ten of the Board members are elected by the general membership at general membership meetings. People who stand for election to the Coalition Board typically have already made significant contributions to the organization through service on one of our Tenant Leadership Committees. The other five Board members, mostly staff members from allied organizations, are appointed by the elected Board members.

Board Officers:

Ricardo Gotla, President*
Rent Regulated Tenant

Emanuel Hickson, Vice President*
Section 8 Tenant

Katy Bordonaro, Secretary*
Mitchell-Lama Residents Coalition

Natasha Winegar, Treasurer*
Rent Regulated Tenant

Tom Waters, Assistant Treasurer*
Community Service Society

Board Members:

Afua Atta-Mensah

Greg Bangser
Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation

Ellen Davidson
Legal Aid Society

Lucy Levy
Rent Controlled Tenant

Wasim Lone*
Good Old Lower East Side

Melissa Del Valle Ortiz*
Section 8 Tenant

Jackie Peters
Mitchell-Lama Residents Coalition

Hilary Saunders
Former Mitchell-Lama Tenant

Thomas Yu
Asian Americans for Equality

* Also on the Board of the New York State Tenants & Neighbors Information Service.

There is currently one vacancy on the Coalition Board.