Essex Community Land Trust
Providing High Quality PERMANENT Affordable Housing
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL HOUSING INSTITUTE
From 1994 through 2007, Harold Simon was the executive director of the National Housing Institute and editor of Shelterforce Magazine, the only independent, national journal on affordable housing and community building. In 2009, he returned to NHI as ED and publisher. Over the past few years, NHI has also published books and research papers on progressive public policies in housing and community development, including Bringing Buildings Back, now in its second edition; Building a Better Urban Future: New Directions for Housing Policies in Weak Market Cities; and Shared Equity Homeownership: The Changing Landscape Of Resale-Restricted, Owner-Occupied Housing. In 2008, Harold lead the formation of the Community Asset Preservation Corporation of NJ, a local intermediary engaged in foreclosure remediation and neighborhood revitalization, and in 2010 helped launch the Essex County Community Land Trust Initiative, Harold is a board member of HANDS, Inc. in Orange NJ and the National Community Land Trust Network Academy, and a commissioner on the Montclair Housing Commission.
ECLT VICE PRESIDENT
LENDING OFFICER; NJ COMMUNITY CAPITAL
Mr. Arndt has been a lending officer at New Jersey Community Capital since 2009 and works in all areas of NJCC’s lending activities but focuses in particular on NJCC’s small business lending through the “BCDC Newark Fund”, the New Markets Tax Credit program and more recently REBUILD New Jersey, NJCC’s Sandy relief loan program for small businesses. Prior to his current position, Mr. Arndt contributed to NJCC’s mission through his work as research associate focusing on a variety of tasks including research on the current challenges for community development organizations. Mr. Arndt holds a Master in Public Affairs and Politics with a concentration in community economic development from the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University as well as a Master in Public Administrative Sciences from the University of Konstanz in Germany.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM MANAGER FOR IRONBOUND COMMUNITY CORPORATION
Since graduating from Rutgers University, Drew Curtis has been working for the betterment of urban communities. This started with two years of service as an AmeriCorps member with New Jersey Community Development Corporation in Paterson, NJ. Drew served in a YouthBuild program, teaching GED classes, construction training classes, and leadership development classes. Drew continued with national service after his time in AmeriCorps by leading programs at The After School Corporation and City Year New York. Drew also spent time in public service with the Bergen County Division of Community Development, where he oversaw compliance with labor, fair housing, financial and environmental regulations as well as managing economic development projects with HUD block grant programs, such as CDBG, HOME, and ESG. While working, Drew went on to earn a Master of Science in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from Milano the New School University. Currently, Drew serves as Community Development Program Manager for Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC), where he oversees all community development, economic development, and affordable housing initiatives. ICC is a multi-service, community-based organization rooted in and representative of the diverse Newark neighborhood called Ironbound. Founded in 1969 by residents, ICC’s mission is to engage and empower individuals, families, and groups to realize their aspirations and, together, work to create a just, vibrant, and sustainable community. Drew also serves on the board of the Coalition for Affordable Housing and the Environment, and as a founding board member of Green Collar Futures, which provides apprenticeships in green collar job training, sustainable living, and leadership development designed for young adults in transition and hands-on, low-cost, educational workshops in organic garden, seasonal food preparation, natural building, permaculture, and team-building.
ECLT BOARD MEMBER
DIRECTOR OF REAL ESTATE; URBAN LEAGUE OF ESSEX COUNTY
Prior to joining the Urban League, Lenny was responsible for the development and delivery of housing related training and technical assistance programs for the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ. In 1998, Mr. Robbins served as the Director of the Vailsburg Improvement Program at Unified Vailsburg Services Organization, a nonprofit multi-service organization serving the West Ward of Newark. He also has worked as a private developer, in New Jersey, as well as a construction specialist and neighborhood director of nonprofit housing agencies in and Syracuse and New York City. Mr. Robbins is an NDC Housing Development Finance Professional, graduate of the Network’s Housing Development Training Program and active member of the Newark Community Development Network.
ECLT BOARD MEMBER
SENIOR POLICY COORDINATOR; HOUSING & COMMUNITY DEV. NETWORK OF NJ
Responsible for coordinating the Network’s public policy advocacy and outreach activities. Prior to joining the Network in 1994, Arnold began his career as a grassroots advocate organizing statewide public policy campaigns in the areas of affordable housing, early childhood education, health care, and environmental justice. In addition to his work at the Network, Arnold sits on the boards of the Coalition for Affordable Housing and the Environment and the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness and is a member of the Anti-Poverty Network Steering Committee. He represents the Network on the HUD Sustainable Communities grant through Together North Jersey’s Regional Plan which includes the 13 county North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority Region of New Jersey. In his role as the Sr. Policy Coordinator at the Network, Arnold has been instrumental in leading campaigns that have led to the passage of the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit, State Rental Assistance Program and the Abandoned Properties Act. Through Arnold’s efforts, the Network has been a leader in advocacy for creating homes lower income people can afford, revitalizing the communities where they live and strengthening the work of nonprofits in these areas.
ECLT BOARD MEMBER
PROGRAM DIRECTOR AT THE DETERMINED TO ACHIEVE PARENT NETWORK; REPRESENTATIVE AT THE REGIONAL FAMILY SUPPORT PLANNING COUNCIL
Darlene is a committed and responsible team player for children, parents, and the community. She graduated from Partners in Policy Making, an innovative training program for adults with disabilities and parents of children with developmental disabilities. As a Program Coordinator, Darlene provides recreational activities to children with special needs in an integrated community environment and mutual support to families in distress for the Determined to Achieve Parent Network. Prior to her work with the Determined to Achieve Parent Network, she served as a Program Director for the Irvington East Ward Community Collaborative. Darlene currently serves as a Representative for the Regional Family Support Planning Council #4 (Essex County), a volunteer advocacy position that represents families voices in the disability community. Darlene bridges the Essex Community Land Trust to the community & political arena.
ECLT BOARD MEMBER
Renee Pearson is a proud mother of two daughters and three granddaughters. Renee currently works as a care giver while also being an active member of the ECLT's Financial Freedom Homebuyer's Club. Renee, who is currently a renter, strives to be a first-time homeowner in the near future. Renee values time with her family and is looking forward to continuing her education in Human Services. Renee is one of two board members currently participating in the ECLT's FFHC program and brings real-world insights from the people we strive to help.
ECLT BOARD MEMBER
Lisa Cupid is an immigrant from the island of Trinidad. Lisa was born to wonderful, loving parents, who worked hard to build and own their home and made sure that their children were well taken care of. She has carried these attributes into her adult life, doing the same for herself and her family. Lisa came to America in search of opportunity. Her first job in America was in child care. Since then, Lisa has moved into retail, working for Strawbridge’s, Perry Ellis, and presently for Macy’s. Lisa is an honest, responsible, reliable, respectful, and caring mother to three sons. In addition to raising a family, Lisa is pursuing a degree in General Science and Nursing and preparing herself through the Financial Freedom Homebuyer's Club for her pursuit of home ownership. Lisa serves as one of two board members currently participating in the ECLT's FFHC program and brings real-world insights from the people we strive to help.