EDC Staff

Ben Baczkowski, Shelter Client Advocate (SCA)

Carol Bettencourt, Managing Attorney

As the EDC’s first paid employee, Carol has supervised the EDC’s legal services since our creation in 1996. Carol oversees Staff Attorneys, Eviction Defense Advocates, the Volunteer Coordinator, Volunteers, Interns and all the legal paperwork we help prepare. She received her bachelor’s degree from Simon’s Rock Early College and is a graduate of Stanford Law School. Carol is a member of the California Bar and an inactive member of the Bar of the District of Columbia. She has been practicing housing law for 20 years, at the EDC and previously at D.C. Law Students in Court.

Maria Brambila, Rental Assistance Coordinator

Maria Brambila is a social justice advocate who graduated from San Francisco State University in 2013 with a Bachelors Degree in Health Education. While working as an Immigration Paralegal for three years, Maria developed a keen appreciation for supporting and empowering under-served individuals to learn and assert their rights. Now as a member of our Rental Assistance team as a RADCo Coordinator, Maria is able to advocate and work directly with members of the community daily. She believes that all people deserve a safe place to call home regardless of their income and background, and she is committed to helping individuals and families to make this possible. Also Maria is fluent in both English and Spanish.

Arianas Campos-Reese, Welcome & Security

Justin Chang, Litigation Staff Attorney

Prior to joining EDC, Justin served as an extern for San Francisco Superior Court Judge Bruce Chan. He was also a Law Clerk for the California Supreme Court Clinic at University of California, Davis as well as a Research Assistant at University of California, Davis, specifically researching the free speech clause of the first amendment. Justin studied Law at the University of California, Davis and graduated in 2014. He feels strongly that everything he he has ever achieved has been through the help of others; he wants to give back to society because society has given a lot to him. Justin works toward housing justice because he believes housing is a basic necessity that everyone should have a right to. He enjoys working at EDC because it is a human rights organization where everyone is welcome. Justin is fluent in Mandarin.

Virginia Chapman, Rental Assistance Coordinator

Virginia has a long history of assisting people within her community. Her past work for the Homeless Prenatal Program for 13 years and the Public Defenders Office for a year before joining the EDC team has given her a unique set of knowledge that she utilizes in her daily work assisting clients.

Virginia’s approach to social justice work is through the lens of Maya Angelou’s phrase, “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

Virginia is an avid comrade of the community she empowers daily through her work.

Szuwei Co, Clinic Staff Attorney

Kimberly Craige, Volunteer & Pro Bono Coordinator

Kimberly first came to work with EDC as part of her field study while a student at UC Santa Cruz, where she also founded the Santa Cruz Tenant Organizing Committee and interned with Tenants Together. Housing Justice is important to Kim because she is a person born in San Francisco and who works in San Francisco, but cannot afford to live here. She understands there is a call to reshape the system that creates houseless folks. She believes it is a basic human right to have safe, affordable housing for all.

Martina Cucullu Lim, Executive Director

Martina joins us from Centro Legal de la Raza in Fruitvale, Oakland where she has been running their Tenants’ Rights Program since 2014, directing legal services in eviction defense and rent-controlled related matters. During her tenure at Centro Legal, Martina drove strategic leadership for her program, nearly quadrupling the program’s funding and staff. Martina has a proven record for creating programs that maximize effective, client-centered services while ensuring a healthy, stable work environment. More recently, she was a key leader in the collaborative efforts to create over $5 million in new funding for anti-displacement services and support from Alameda County and the City of Oakland. Three and a half million dollars were awarded to Martina’s program as Program Administrator for Alameda County’s Anti-Displacement Crisis Intervention Program, consisting of legal services to homeowners and renters as well as the provision of emergency financial assistance. Mar-tina’s experience administering a countywide program will prove invaluable as EDC strives to enhance its services and position itself as the beacon for universal eviction defense.

Tom Drohan, Litigation Attorney

Tom Drohan is a long time member of the housing justice community and has served tenants in San Francisco since 1992. A full time Supervising Housing Attorney at Legal Assistance to the Elderly (LAE), Tom also assists the EDC by providing advice to staff and representation for tenants as needed. Tom is also a musician and plays in his band The Shut Ins.

Jacquelynn Evans, Shelter Client Advocate (SCA)

Jessica Flores, Director of Operations and HR

Jessica Flores is a social justice advocate who graduated from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 2012 with a Bachelors degree in English and Philosophy. Before joining EDC as a volunteer and later an Office Manager, Jessica worked for various activist groups across the country such as the Community Justice Project in Miami, Florida. She is committed to Housing Justice because she believes that everyone deserves access to stable and dignified housing.

Emily Frias, Law Clerk

Hannah Gallagher, RADCo Assistant Manager

Hannah attended UC Santa Cruz and graduated with a BA in Anthropology in 2010. She worked as a full time volunteer for Notre Dame Mission Volunteers – Americorps from 2010-2012 as a Family Engagement Coordinator at a community school in Redwood City. Prior to this, she worked as a crisis counselor/reunification counselor for Seneca Center Family of Agencies in 2013. And before that, she worked as a high school Spanish and Latin American History teacher at Summerfield Waldorf school in Santa Rosa. Hannah enjoys listening to people’s stories and working with people to help them achieve their goals. She believes that everyone deserves a chance to achieve their version of success, and that helping in this process is a great use of her time and a way for her to learn as well. She believes that we all deserve a decent place to sleep, eat and feel safe, and that the availability of this is so incredibly limited and segregated. Hannah joined EDC to learn more about tenant rights and to advocate for people who are limited by a myriad of social and economic factors out of their control. She loves the team here and has been impressed by how friendly and helpful everyone is. Hannah speaks Spanish and French.

David Hernandez, Litigation Law Clerk

David graduated from UC Hastings in 2017 and he is currently awaiting Bar results. Before EDC, David worked at an array of organizations in the community including Aids Legal Referral Panel and Homeless Advocacy Project. After college he decided he wanted to use the law as a tool to help improve people’s lives. He seeks housing justice to ensure that people can live with dignity and respect, all humans deserve it.

Shephali Ides, Rental Assistance Coordinator

Shephali has over 20 years of nonprofit experience, working with families and children in San Francisco at such places as Edgewood Center for Children and Families and Wu Yee Children’s Services. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Development and is a certified legal assistant. Shephali volunteered at the Homeless Advocacy Project, another agency that works to prevent renters from becoming homeless.

Nick Kimura, RADCo Coordinator

Nick Kimura is a long time social justice advocate who has experience in volunteering at the Coalition on Homelessness, being Chair of the Shelter Monitoring Committee in SF, and doing outreach work in HIV Prevention at the AIDS Office for the Department of Public Health. Nick firmly believes that inequality and mistreatment based on ignorant prejudices is a system issue that fails our communities. Furthermore Nick’s commitment to protecting housing is due to the fact that he considers housing as a human right and believes no one can survive and truly thrive without the safety and stability of affordable housing. Nick speaks Spanish and divides his time between the Shelter Client Advocacy and Rental Assistance departments.

Thomas Lee, Supervising Attorney

Thomas Lee attended Harvard Law School, and UC Berkeley for his undergrad. Before he was at EDC he worked at Advancing Justice- Asian Law Caucus. As a son of immigrants, he works in social justice in hopes to give back and open doors for immigrants and other vulnerable populations. He believes that housing is a basic human right, and sees the difficulty of trying live a stable life without an address, place to store your things and place to lay your head. He loves working at EDC and even claims we have the best staff in the entire Bay Area!

Susan Mai, Paralegal

Susan completed her undergrad at Colgate University in East Asian Studies, Class of 2013. She then attended University of Chicago’s  Masters Program in the Humanities. Susan wants to use her knowledge and skills to help others and be a positive force in the world. She believes that no one should be in a position where making rent is impossible or believe that they have no other option but to accept poor living conditions. She appreciates how the EDC team treats each person in a caring and respectful manner, and gives their one hundred percent everyday to helping those in need. Susan is fluent in Spanish and Chinese.

Meredith Merkin, Supervising Litigation Attorney

Meredith graduated from New York University School of Law and attended University of Southern California for her undergraduate degree. She has a passion for litigation, and before EDC she was an attorney for the Public Defender’s office in Miami.

Jayanti Muliyil, Staff Attorney

A graduate of UC Hastings Law School, Jayanti has dedicated herself to helping those who cannot help themselves. Before coming to EDC, Jayanti did immigration work and volunteered with JDC and Bay Area Legal Aid as a housing rights attorney. Jayanti enjoys helping people navigate the legal system and assert their rights as tenants.

Luba Palionny, Government Grants Administrator

Luba Palionny has dedicated her life to social justice work. Prior to joining EDC in 2015, Luba was an Advisor at Tides (2002 – 2015). Luba has in-depth knowledge and understanding of 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Operations & Management, as well as Philanthropy and Government Grants. In addition to Luba’s expertise in nonprofit management, Luba is an excellent database manager having managed and created multiple databases, Luba also helped design a new business relationship management tool. On a personal note, Luba is proud to be a first-generation native of San Francisco, her family immigrated to the United States in 1966.

Jacqueline Patton, Staff Attorney

Jacqueline has spent years advocating for underrepresented communities and is a recent Law School Graduate. Her internship for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, participation in Law Students for Reproductive Justice, Kansas Appleseed, and internship for Rep. Boog Highberger in the Kansas Legislature has given her outstanding experience that she utilizes daily in the EDC clinic.

She has always had a passion for social justice work and becomes more committed to unique San Francisco issues as she continues to learn and advocate for diverse groups. Jacqueline believes that access to housing is a basic right and a human right.

She is conversationally proficient in Spanish with advanced reading and writing skills.

Amy Price, Rental Assistance Manager

Amy Price joined the EDC in 2007. She is fluent in Spanish and has a background working with low-income clients. Amy worked with Head Start, Fox Vocational Services, the Agency for Independent Mobility and Children’s Specialized Services.

Christian Siegenthaler, Law Clerk

Christian attended UC Davis and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science in 2008. Afterwards he attended University of San Francisco and graduated with a JD in 2016. Christian is an advocate of housing justice and believes that shelter is one of the essentials of everyday life. He enjoys providing service to our clients who are navigating the eviction process, and he likes working beside our staff who are equally passionate about protecting tenants in San Francisco.

Raymond Zamudio, Rental Assistance Coordinator

Raymond Zamudio is a native San Franciscan who was born and raised in the Mission district. He has worked in the non-profit field for over 20 years and has a strong passion for social justice.
Raymond received his Undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University and obtained his Juris Doctorate in 2011. He is also fluent in Spanish.