Our organization is run by a dedicated team of individuals and a Board of Directors who are all committed toward the goal of community enrichment and support.
Stephanie J. Simeon, MUP
Originally from Brooklyn, Stephanie achieved her Masters in Urban Planning in 2005 from the University at Buffalo. This led her to taking on a leadership role as Executive Director at HOCN in 2007. Through her leadership, HOCN’s ambitious approach to fighting blight and property abandonment in Buffalo has made a real difference in improving whole neighborhoods. Her guidance has expanded HOCN’s work into Buffalo’s Eastside community as project manager and co-developer. These partnerships have given community groups the opportunity to strengthen the trust between residents and prospective developers by providing a platform for the community to have their voices heard, views considered, and needs acknowledged. When Stephanie’s not advocating for disenfranchised communities facing housing insecurities, she and her family live a minimalist low waste lifestyle in Buffalo.
Jennifer Yuhnke Carman
Director of Housing & Community Development
While receiving her Bachelors in Sociology at Buffalo State College, Jenn’s interest in community development and Buffalo’s vacant housing issues led her to an internship with HOCN in 2010. Inspired by HOCN’s mission and work, she then joined our team as an AmeriCorps Member in 2011, overseeing our grant writing, grant management, and community outreach. Now as Director of Housing & Community Development, Jenn manages our state and locally funded housing programs, working directly with both program funders and our residents in need of affordable housing services. She is a Buffalo native who, thanks to her previous experience working at a toy store, is an excellent gift wrapper.
Healthy Housing Coordinator
Director of Community Engagement, Fruit Belt Community Land Trust
A lifelong resident of the Fruit Belt neighborhood in Buffalo, NY, Brandi’s roots were uniquely planted here in the 1930s when her great grandparents became owners in the same neighborhood. The legacy, work ethic, and commitment to community and the neighborhood that her family is known for is what drives Brandi’s passions today. Brandi works as the Director of Community Engagement at HOCN impacting housing support and program efforts of the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust. She graduated in 2005 from Daemen College with a B.A in English-Communications, Specializing in Public Relations. A fun fact about Brandi- she loves to laugh, travel, and eat!
Lilian J. Quirós
Office Manager and Property Manager
Lilian joined the HOCN team in 2016 after moving back home to Buffalo from Medina, where she lived for eight years. Born and raised in Buffalo’s West Side, she values returning to the City and being able to connect with residents. If you call our office or walk through our doors, Lilian is always happy to assist you. When Lilian isn’t spreading the word about HOCN’s programs and services or managing the Cynthia Gardens apartments, she enjoys reading, exercising and spending as much time as she can with her family.
After graduating from the University at Buffalo with a degree in Business Administration in 2006, Michelle obtained her CPA license and worked at a public accounting firm for several years. She joined the HOCN team in 2013, providing accounting services and managing the finances of the organization- from day-to-day transactions to annual requirements. Michelle’s attention to detail makes her a true asset to our organization. A born and raised Buffalo native, she loves spending time in her garden, and you’ll even find a few chickens in her yard.
Director of Environmental Stewardship
Deirdre joined the HOCN team in March 2021 after a brief hiatus from Buffalo. After receiving her B.S. in Sociology and minor in Creative Studies, this AmeriCorps Alum began her 18-year nonprofit journey in strategic, innovative, multi-program and partner development within agencies of the Western New York community. Her guidance of building and leveraging relationships at a local Federally Qualified Health Care Center (FQHC) helped expand holistic healthcare into the Eastside of Buffalo. This work inspired her to be a change agent as a Collaborative Projects Consultant, creating numerous projects with unlikely partnerships from diverse religious, socio-economic and racial backgrounds. These leadership efforts continue to have a positive impact on Social Determinants of Health of our families. When Deirdre is not connecting people to create opportunities in the area, she enjoys long drives to getaway destinations while listening to a wide variety of music!
Our 2022 Board of Directors
Eric Lander, President
Jason Falk, Vice President
Alexander Drainville, Secretary
Daniel Bender, Treasurer
Colleen Roberts, Esq.
Adebare Ogunleye, Esq.
Lisa Vahapoğlu, PhD, JD