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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Lael Robertson
Staff Attorney

Lael Robertson is a staff attorney at Housing Justice Center. Prior to joining HJC, Lael was the Supervising Attorney of the Housing Discrimination Law Project at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. She served as a staff attorney in the unit since 2006 and took over the supervisory role in 2013. Ms. Robertson focuses her work on enforcing fair housing laws on behalf of low income and on advocating for fair housing policy throughout the region. Ms. Robertson graduated from the University of St. Thomas School of Law, cum laude, and previously has served as an adjunct professor at UST teaching Disability Law.

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