Housing Justice Center - about

Picture of Tim Thompson
Timothy Thompson
President, Senior Staff Attorney

Timothy (Tim) Thompson is a 1975 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School.  He joined HJC in 2000 (known as "HPP" back then) and up until 2006 was also employed as the Litigation Director of Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, Inc. Tim has worked for various legal services programs for more than 25 years, specializing in tenants' rights, government housing programs and class actions. He has been lead counsel or co-counsel on over 30 cases in Federal Court brought on behalf of low income residents. These suits have helped to secure rights to public assistance and federally subsidized housing programs for those most in need of these services. Tim's cases have had far reaching impact on the rights and opportunities of the poor and communities of color.

During the 1990's, he served as lead counsel for the plaintiffs in Hollman v. Cisneros, a class action in which a group of families of color and the NAACP sued various government agencies over racial segregation in government housing programs in Minneapolis.  A landmark settlement was negotiated in 1995 in which HUD provided initial funding of more than $117 million to dramatically expand opportunities for low income families under the public housing and Section 8 programs throughout the metro area.

In addition to litigating, Tim has lobbied extensively over the years at both the national and local levels for changes in policy and law, and has advised numerous community organizations on various legal issues. Tim has also lectured and prepared materials for continuing legal education seminars covering tenants' right, civil rights, government housing programs, and Federal Court litigation.

At HJC, Tim has appeared as co-counsel in a number of preservation cases in federal and state court, both at the trial and appellate level, both in Minnesota and across the country. He has particular expertise in preservation of 515 Rural Rental Housing, and in the obligation of Minnesota local governments to plan for affordable housing. Tim took over as HJC President in November 2006.

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Picture of Jack Cann
John Cann
Senior Staff Attorney

John (Jack) Cann graduated from Carleton College in 1964 and did three years of graduate work at Stanford University. In 1967, Jack began to work full time on a variety of housing related activities, many of them litigation oriented. This provided him with a unique breadth and depth of experience relevant to housing litigation, including tenants' rights organizing, advocacy, lobbying, and real estate development and finance. He graduated magna cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law in 1986.

Jack brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to the HJC staff. He has worked extensively with Section 236, Section 8, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and Community Development Block Grants. His knowledge of financing tools and compliance requirements gives HJC an advantage in both negotiations and litigation. He has also extensively litigated preservation cases on both the district and appellate level, both in Minnesota and across the country.

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Picture of Grace
Grace Fleming
VISTA Attorney

Grace Fleming is a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School.  She joined HJC in March of 2015 as a VISTA Affordable Housing Preservation Attorney through AmeriCorps and Equal Justice Works. Grace previously worked as a temporary law clerk fellow for the Honorable John R. Tunheim at the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Grace has worked in various public interest law positions throughout law school including working in federal civil rights enforcement at the Department of Health and Human Services and working as an employment law clerk at the University of Minnesota’s Office of General Counsel.  At the University of Minnesota Law School, Grace also served as a member and a student director of the Housing Clinic, working with Mid Minnesota Legal Aid to represent clients seeking expungements and repairs, or facing eviction.
In addition to her law degree, Grace achieved a joint degree masters in Bioethics from the University of Minnesota. Her thesis analyzed health requirements in adoption and foster care laws throughout the United States and whether those laws contribute to disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

At HJC, Grace will build the capacity of tenant associations in eligible Project-based Section 8 U. S.  Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)-assisted properties to increase tenants’ knowledge of their rights, responsibilities, and options for preserving their homes and improving their communities. She will work in tandem with community organizers and HOME Line Minnesota to work for affordable housing preservation in the state.

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Vanessa May
Office Manager

Since joining HJC in 2013, Vanessa May has provided administrative and legal support to the organization.  She earned her bachelor's degree at Reed College in Portland, OR, and has a master's in East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California.

Vanessa's background includes a strong interest in diversity and public service.  She previously worked in an administrative position in a large nonprofit museum.

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