The Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council seeks to ensure equal access to housing and places of public accommodation for all people through education, counseling, investigation, and enforcement.

Our Staff

Ch. Will Jordan

Executive Director

Will Jordan is the Executive Director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council (EHOC), which works to ensure equal access to housing for all people through education, counseling, investigation, and enforcement. EHOC was recognized in 2008 with HUD’s Blue Ribbon Award and by FOCUS St. Louis in 2003 with a “What’s Right with the Region” Award. Will personally was awarded the 2012 Missouri Commission on Human Rights Fair Housing Advocate Award and the 2005 Governor’s Human Rights Award from the State of Illinois. Will received his B.S. in Psychology from Southeast Missouri State University and his J.D. from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Before coming to EHOC, he served as Program Manager for the Emerson Park Development Corporation’s YouthBuild Program in East St. Louis, as Hearing Officer for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, as Regional Trainer for the Missouri Division of Youth Services, and as Community Outreach Coordinator for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. He is a member of Stand for Children’s grassroots organizing initiative.

314-534-5800 Ext. 7018

Elisabeth Risch, MSW

Assistant director

Elisabeth Risch is the Assistant Director. She joined EHOC  in 2009 as a full-time volunteer through the Mennonite Voluntary Serviceand subsequently became a full-time employee. She oversees EHOC’s education and outreach activities, and works on policy advocacy and research on fair housing and fair lending issues. She helped found and is the Co-Chair of the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance (SLEHCRA), a coalition working with banks to increase investment in low- and moderate-income communities and in communities of color. She graduated from Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a B.A. in Sociology and International Development Studies and completed her M.S.W. at Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work, where she concentrated on policy and social and economic development.

314-534-5800 Ext. 7012

Katina Combs

Director of Testing

Katina Combs is the EHOC’s Director of Testing. Katina supervises EHOC’s testing program and is actively involved in all aspects of EHOC’s enforcement activities. Katina has been with EHOC for more than ten years and previously served as Fair Housing Assistant. She has completed training through the National Fair Housing Alliance in Fair Housing Fundamentals and Real Estate Sales. She has also completed training on accessibility through Fair Housing FIRST and predatory lending at John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Katina received her associate degree from St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. She has a passion for fair housing and fair lending and is deeply committed to EHOC’s clients.

314-534-5800 Ext. 7015

Kalila Jackson

Staff Attorney

Kalila Jackson is a native of St. Louis and represents clients with fair housing complaints and other legal issues as EHOC’s Staff Attorney. She earned her law degree from Washington University in St. Louis and her undergraduate degree from Saint Louis University.  She is admitted to practice law in Missouri. Before coming to EHOC, Kalila worked as an Associate Attorney at a civil litigation firm, where she represented individuals and businesses in a diverse range of civil litigation matters, including employment and housing discrimination. Kalila is also a member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Family Services.

314-534-5800 Ext. 7007

Marissa Cohen, MSW

Education Coordinator

Marissa joined EHOC as the Education Coordinator in 2019. Marissa obtained a BS degree in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Missouri Kansas City, then served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador for two years. Immediately following the Peace Corps, Marissa studied at Washington University and acquired a Masters of Social Work in Domestic Social and Economic Development. Her studies focused on macro-level social work, specifically Housing and Nonprofit Management, where she received certificates in Nonprofit Management and Asset Management for Mixed-Income Housing Development through Neighborworks. Before beginning as the Education Coordinator at EHOC, Marissa supported the redevelopment efforts of Urban Strategies Inc. through the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Grant by providing holistic support and programming geared towards the residents’ housing stability. In this role, she served as a Case Manager and also acted as a liaison to the property manager and other community resources. Outside of EHOC, Marissa Cohen works in various capacities assisting with a faith-based non-profit, Higher Ground Economic Development Corporation (HGEDC) which is committed to identifying affordable housing solutions in North County.

314-534-5800 Ext. 2005

Glenn Burleigh

Community Engagement Specialist

Glenn Burleigh has been EHOC’s Community Engagement Specialist since 2015. Glenn was born in Pine Bluff, AR, and he came to live in St. Louis in 1997, while attending Saint Louis University. Since 2004, Glenn has been an active part of the Missouri progressive movement. Glenn spent many years working for progressive organizations, such as The Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition, SEIU, CWA, and ACORN. Glenn’s focus at EHOC is raising awareness of Fair Housing laws and the services EHOC offers to our clients. Glenn also staffs the St. Louis Equal Housing and Reinvestment Coalition (SLEHCRA), St. Louis’ Community Reinvestment Act coalition of which EHOC was a founding member organization.

314-534-5800 Ext. 7009

Melissa Pashia

Tenant Advocate

Melissa Pashia joined EHOC as a Tenant Advocate and Housing Resource Specialist with EHOC’s Eviction Defense team in early 2021 with over ten years of nonprofit, public service experience. Prior to EHOC, Melissa was a program manager for a local social services agency, leading social service programs and community COVID-19 crisis response efforts. She is experienced in Continuum of Care homeless program leadership and HUD housing stabilization management. In this role, she provided crisis intervention, case management, employment coaching, and academic development geared towards moving clients from homelessness to housing stability. Melissa earned a BS from the University of Missouri St. Louis. In her work with the Eviction Defense program, she works collabortatively with various local and state agencies to connect tenants facing eviction with resources to maintain or stabilize their housing and build community housing partnerships to combat the eviction crisis. 

314-534-5800 Ext. 7006

Niya Foster

Fair Housing Specialist

Niya Foster is the Fair Housing Specialist for EHOC. She has her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Harris Stowe State University. Her introduction to the organization occurred in 2004 while completing her internship with HUD’s Fair Housing Equal Opportunity Division; this is when she discovered her passion for fair housing. Upon graduation, she was offered a position at EHOC and served as the Landlord Tenant/Fair Housing Assistance from 2005 – 2007. From 2016-2017, Niya served as EHOC’s Testing Coordinator and most recently returned in 2020 as the Fair Housing Specialist. Throughout her 16-year career in public service, Niya has sharpened her skills as a housing and community advocate. In 2019, she was a Neighborhood Leadership Fellow (NLF), a community leadership program in partnership with UMSL Extension. In her various roles, Niya has always made EHOC’s mission to eradicate housing discrimination an integral part of her work. One word she would use to describe herself would be “Connector,” as she considers this to be one of her strongest qualities. Niya believes equitable, affordable, quality housing is the key to sustaining neighborhoods and the foundation to build strong communities. 

314-534-5800 Ext. 7023

Thomas "TJ" Pearson

Staff Attorney

Thomas “TJ” Pearson represents tenants in eviction cases and related landlord-tenant disputes. TJ is from Belleville, IL. He received his law degree from Washington University School of Law and his undergraduate degree in Philosophy from Grinnell College in Iowa. TJ started his time at EHOC as an intern through the law school’s Civil Rights, Community Justice and Mediation Clinic, then continued at EHOC as an Eviction Prevention Legal Fellow for five months before becoming a Staff Attorney in January 2021. In law school, he was a Staff Editor for the Journal of Law and Policy. He also interned for a Judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, the Illinois Attorney General, and a local law firm.

314-534-5800 Ext. 1018

Clarice Lipsey

Tenant Advocate

Clarice Lipsey is the Tenant Advocate and Housing Resource Specialist with EHOC’s Eviction Defense program. She joined EHOC in Spring 2021 as the St. Louis Metro Area was experiencing thousands of looming eviction cases. Clarice brought nearly seven years of valuable HUD program management experience implementing target interventions to clients at risk of eviction or program termination, long-term case management, eviction prevention counseling and advocacy, and Continuum of Care and community building experience. She is certified in HMIS: Homeless Management Information System, HUD Fair Housing, and SAMHSA’s SOAR program for SSI benefit qualification. She is in her final semester of her BSW from Fontbonne University in St. Louis. Clarice is dedicated to fair housing and is deeply committed to eviction prevention.

 

Malissa Shaw

Program Assistant - Centreville

Malissa Shaw is the Program Assistant for the Centreville program working to help develop initiatives fighting for environmental injustice and housing equality. After leaving the University of Missouri St. Louis, Malissa began her career in operations management working within Fortune 500 companies producing operation efficiencies and profitable business plans. Wanting to utilize her skill sets obtained in corporate America, Malissa began over 5 years ago working with community organizations in helping develop programs and initiatives bettering her community. She has served within various leadership roles within the community and continues to fight for justice in disproportionated communities.

314-534-5800 Ext. 1027

Kennedy Moehrs Gardner

Eviction Defense Legal Fellow

Kennedy Moehrs Gardner recently joined EHOC as an Eviction Defense Legal Fellow, representing tenants in eviction cases and other landlord-tenant disputes. Kennedy received her law degree from Washington University School of Law and her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Mississippi State University. Kennedy started her career at EHOC as a summer intern and also served at EHOC through the law school’s Civil Rights, Community Justice, and Mediation Clinic. While in law school, Kennedy served as the Co-President of the Public Service Advisory Board and interned for the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps as well as the Simon Law Firm. As an attorney for the Eviction Defense Program, Kennedy works alongside EHOC’s housing resource specialists to provide legal counsel to clients facing eviction, seeking to keep the community stably housed.

314-534-5800

Board of Directors

  • Nate Johnson (President), Real Estate Solutions
  • Dennis Lavallee (Vice President)
  • Vernon Mitchell (Secretary), Washington University in St. Louis
  • Aimee Wehmeier (Treasurer), Paraquad
  • Gail Brown, Brown-Kortkamp Realty
  • Eric Madkins, Regions Bank
  • Ed Wartts, Retired U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Valerie Bell, Attorney, Retired
  • Valerie Marion, Community Resident
  •  Sam Henderson, Attorney
  • Benjamin Bozicevic, Attorney 
  • Jeanette Mott Oxford, Public Policy Advocate & Organizer  
  • *Hedy Epstein, Civil Rights Activist, In Memoriam

     

     

     

(Organizations listed for identification purposes only.)

Our History

EHOC was founded in 1992 as a result of a Confluence St. Louis (now Focus St. Louis) task force on Racial Polarization. By 1994, a dedicated volunteer Board was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to set up an office and hire the first paid staff. By early 1995, EHOC had three full time staff members and the capacity to investigate individual claims of housing discrimination. Since that beginning, EHOC has expanded our funding base to include the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of St. Louis Community Development Administration, St. Louis County Department of Community Development, foundations, corporate contributions, and individual donors.

Heroes’ & History: A Brief Outline of the Struggle for Fair Housing in St. Louis