Executive Director and Legal Director

Mr. Kirschner litigates and manages the prosecution of fair housing cases filed with administrative agencies and in state and federal courts. He received his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. in History from the George Washington University. Representative reported decisions include Laflamme v. New Horizons, Inc., 605 F. Supp. 2d 378 (D. Conn. 2009); Gashi v. Grubb & Ellis, et al., 801 F.Supp.2d 12, 16 (D. Conn. 2011); Parris v. Pappas, 844 F.Supp.2d 271, 278 (D. Conn. 2012); Francia v. Mt. Vernon Fire Insurance Co., 2012 WL 1088544 (March 6, 2012 ) (53 Conn. L. Rptr. 687).

Erika Aquiles
Bilingual Intake Specialist Paralegal

Ms. Aquiles joined the center in 2023 as a Bilingual Intake Specialist Paralegal. With a strong academic foundation, Ms. Aquiles holds an Associate’s Degree and successfully completed a Paralegal program. As a Bilingual Intake Specialist Paralegal, Ms. Aquiles serves as a crucial point of contact for clients from diverse linguistic backgrounds, ensuring effective communication and understanding throughout the intake process. Fluent in both English and Spanish, they bridge the gap between clients and legal resources, ensuring that all individuals receive the assistance they deserve.

Fair Housing Specialist

Ms. Cuerda joined the Center in 2010 and runs fair housing tests, works directly with clients who believe they have been the victims of housing discrimination, and conducts education and outreach regarding fair housing laws. She is particularly interested in using fair housing law and community organizing to overcome barriers faced by people with criminal records when looking for housing. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Cuerda worked as a legal services advocate for 20 years concentrating on issues facing undocumented immigrants, farm workers, and people receiving public benefits. At Western Massachusetts Legal Services, she ran a project providing legal assistance to residents of the North End neighborhood of Springfield, the poorest census tract in the state of Massachusetts. A San Francisco native, Ms. Cuerda is a graduate of Smith College.

Staff Attorney

Dudek-Rolon joined the Center in August 2022 as part of the foreclosure prevention and fair lending team. Ms. Dudek comes to the center as a Singer Fellow through the Connecticut Bar Foundation. She received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Hartford and her J.D. with a public interest concentration from the Western New England University School of Law. While there, she completed an externship with the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center and became actively involved in the Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference, an annual event with an emphasis on social justice and housing equity.

Managing Attorney, Fair Lending and Foreclosure Prevention Project

Mr. Gentes joined the Center in 2010 and manages work on fair lending and foreclosure prevention. He is also a member of the state’s Bench-Bar Foreclosure Committee, the George W. and Sadella D. Crawford Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, and a registered lobbyist. Prior to joining the Center, Mr. Gentes worked at the Homeowner Defense Project of Staten Island Legal Services. Mr. Gentes was raised in Lebanon, Connecticut and received his B.A. from the University of Connecticut and his J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Staff Attorney

Coming soon!

Staff Attorney & Co-Director, Fair Housing Enforcement

Pamela Heller joined the Center in 2011. As staff attorney and co-director of fair housing enforcement, Ms. Heller advocates for clients and litigates cases involving housing discrimination and other tenants’ rights’ issues at all stages of the legal process. She is a graduate of University of Connecticut School of Law (JD ’08), University of Connecticut School of Social Work (MSW ’08), and Stanford University (B.A. Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity ’02). Ms. Heller completed clerkships for Connecticut Superior Court and Connecticut Appellate Court prior to joining the Center. Ms. Heller also has experience adjunct teaching and is a board member of the University of Hartford Paralegal Studies program.

Staff Attorney

Mr. Kazerounian joined the Center in 2012 and works with the fair housing enforcement team to represent the victims of housing discrimination in administrative actions and in state and federal court. Prior to joining the Center’s staff, Mr. Kazerounian was a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, where he specialized in representing rural low-income individuals and community organizations in civil cases. He received his B.A. from the University of Connecticut and his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law, where he was a Gates Public Service Law Scholar.

Staff Attorney & Co-Director, Fair Housing Enforcement

Ms. Labrencis joined the Center as a fair housing enforcement staff attorney in 2014. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Labrencis was an associate attorney at a law firm in San Diego where she represented employees in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and wage and hour cases. She received her B.A. in English from Stonehill College, and her J.D. magna cum laude from California Western School of Law, where she was a member of the Public Service Honors Society.

Director of Operations

Mr. Lavery joined the Center in 2016 as a staff attorney, and litigated fair lending, fair housing, and foreclosure cases. In 2022 he became the Center’s Director of Operations, and focuses on financial and grants administration.

Staff Attorney

Leah Levinger is the Center’s Equal Justice Works (“EJW”) Fellow and a recent graduate of Yale Law School.  Prior to law school, Leah worked as a tenant organizer and served for ten years as the founding executive director for the Chicago Housing Initiative (CHI), a citywide housing rights coalition. Leah is troubled by substandard housing conditions in HUD’s Project-Based Section 8 Program, which disproportionately affect black and brown communities. Through her EJW Fellowship at the Center, she is working on a project to evaluate and challenge the design flaws which are driving unequal housing conditions in this Program. Overall, Leah is passionate about helping grassroots, popular movements and social justice lawyers combine forces to make American cities more just and equitable.

Staff Attorney

Ms. Martinez came to the Center as a foreclosure prevention staff attorney in 2012. Before joining the Center, she served as an attorney advisor for the Social Security Administration, Office of Appellate Operations in Washington, D.C. Ms. Martinez received a B.S. with honors in Management and International Business from the University of Connecticut and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law. While in law school, she interned with the Community Law Center in Baltimore.

Tenant Organizer 

Bio coming soon!

Director of Development and Engagement

Ms. Perkins joined the Center as the Director of Development and Engagement in 2023. Prior to joining the Center, she served as Director of Programs and Director of Education and Training at the Connecticut Women’s Consortium. Ms. Perkins received a B.A. with honors in English and Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut and her M.S.W. with a concentration in administration from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. She is also a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW).

Education and Outreach Coordinator

Ms. Rattray joined the center in 2020 as the Education and Outreach Coordinator. Rashida’s professional experience is rooted in foreclosure prevention and mitigation counseling as well as legal administration. In her previous work as a housing counselor, Rashida assisted over 40 families gaining positive outcomes while going through foreclosure. She also has a strong background in community engagement that was fostered by her work for the City of Waterbury. At the Center, Rashida facilitates outreach to a multitude of different stakeholders by planning and executing fair housing trainings, maintaining the Center’s social media channels, and brainstorming new ways to connect with the people we serve. She is actively pursuing her passion for advocating for people in all she does. She is currently enrolled at Trinity College as a Sociology major.

Staff Attorney

Ms. Romanow joined the Center in 2021. Previously, Ms. Romanow was a staff attorney at Community Legal Aid in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she practiced in the education and disability benefits units. She received her B.A. from Smith College and her J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Staff Attorney

Sarah White joined the Center’s fair lending and foreclosure prevention program in 2012. Previously, she was a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. Ms. White received her B.A. from Hendrix College and her M.A. and J.D. from the University of Washington. She was the recipient of the National Lawyers Guild’s C. B. King award in 2010 for her social justice efforts.