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.
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.
Director of Finance
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.
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.
Community Engagement Specialist
Charnice originally joined the HOCN team serving was a VISTA Americorps member from 2022-23. Charnice achieved her Master of Science (Sport Administration) in 2019 from The Canisius College. Charnice was born and raised on Buffalo’s East side. Charnice learned about real estate at an early age from her father who owns multiple properties around Buffalo’s East Side. She believes that everyone deserves a chance to live in a safe and healthy home. Charnice is excited to learn more about housing and how she can be of help to the community. Fun Fact Charnice enjoys dancing, traveling and museums!
Home Rehabilitation Specialist
Born and raised in Buffalo, Brandon comes from a family of skilled tradesmen; father and grandfather both carpenters and uncle owning his local concrete business. He’s worked in residential and commercial settings since 2008 and is a proud member of the Local 111 Cement Masons union as of 2022. All the while gaining his experience in the field, he received his Bachelor’s in Sociology at Buffalo State College in 2016. Brandon joined HOCN as of January 2023 as a Home Rehab Specialist, in hopes of rebuilding our community by working closely with residents performing inspections and writing bids to our local contractors. While at home, Brandon spends quality time with his family, enjoys standup comedy, and has been a music producer/vinyl record collector since 2011.
Our 2024 Board of Directors
Eric Lander, President
Alexander Drainville, Secretary
Daniel Bender, CPA, Treasurer
Lisa Vahapoğlu, PhD, JD