Our mission is to help low-income residents stay in their homes and strengthen their communities, through representation, support, and ownership.

United Community Housing Coalition is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing housing assistance to Detroit’s low-income residents. Since 1973, we have worked to keep people in their homes and secure affordable housing for those in need.

We believe that having a place to live is a basic human right, and are passionate about preserving this right in our communities. Our services are provided to income-eligible families and individuals free of charge.



Ted Phillips

Executive Director

Ted has been the Executive Director of UCHC since 1986, with the exception of two years with the Detroit Housing Commission. Previously, he worked as an attorney for the Legal Aid and Defender Landlord-Tenant Clinic from 1984 to 1985. Ted is a member of the State Bar of Michigan. He is a graduate of Cass Tech High School and Wayne State University undergraduate and law school. He majored in History and has been a licensed attorney since 1983.

Muriel ‘Bev’ Ealy

Deputy Director

Bev has been employed with UCHC since 1981. She was originally hired as an Administrative Assistant and for two years served as Interim Director, after which she was elevated to the position of Deputy Director. Prior to her employment with UCHC, she was the Administrative Assistant at Michigan Legal Services for 10 years. Bev attended Alabama AM College (now University) in Huntsville, Alabama majoring in Business Administration.

Jolayne Thompson

Director of Finance

Jolayne Thompson has been the Finance Director of UCHC since 2013. Prior to that, she was a contractor assisting UCHC with grants management and oversight of their annual audit. Previously, she worked as Director of Administration & Finance for Shamrock Broadcasting radio properties in Detroit. She is a graduate of Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Social Work. She is Vice President and co-founder of The FACES Foundation.

Claudia Sanford

Director, Tenant Organizing

Claudia has been with UCHC for 10 years and worn many hats. She was originally employed as a housing placement counselor and assisted with the early days of the tax foreclosure program, overseeing the direction, hiring staff for the 2009 Housing Preservation and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP) programs, and the ESG program. She currently oversees Tenant Organizing which included supervising a 4 year AmeriCorp VISTA tenant organizing program.


She was one of the founders of the Senior Housing Preservation-Detroit coalition (SHP-D) and is currently the chair of that coalition. She has co-authored several papers on senior displacement and co-authored a chapter in "Forensic Social Work" published by Fordham University, NY. In December 2018, Claudia received the "Best of the Health Net Award" from Authority Health in recognition of her extraordinary commitment and service to community health care. Claudia has a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art.

Gabriel Elder

Director, Housing Relocation and Rental Assistance

Gabriel oversees the rental assistance and housing relocation areas of service at UCHC. Gabriel has over five years' experience in the low-income tax credit and project based housing industry. She has worked at several nonprofit agencies that serve residents of Metro Detroit in various capacities. Gabriel is a Detroit native and graduate of Renaissance High School and Wayne County Community College. Gabriel’s educational background is in social work with a focus on substance abuse treatment. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling abroad and viewing documentaries.

Tim Bishop

Director, Repair Services

Tim has been the Director of Repair Services at UCHC since 2018 and previously worked in the property preservation industry. He has over 30 years of experience in residential and commercial construction and was the owner and operator of multiple construction companies. He has also worked as real estate agent and was a licensed builder. Tim is a graduate of Jefferson High School and a U.S. Army Veteran.

Michele Oberholtzer

Director, Tax Foreclosure Prevention

Michele leads the tax foreclosure prevention team, which serves thousands of households across Detroit and Wayne County each year to retain homeownership for those at risk of foreclosure. Michele is a writer and entrepreneur. Most of her career has been in the environmental sector – with a focus on renewable energy, efficiency, clean air and water in Detroit, New York City, and Durban, South Africa. Michele is a graduate of University of Michigan with a BSE in Mechanical Engineering.

Kim Stroud

Director, Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention & Land Contract Support

Kim has been the Director of Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention & Land Contract Support at UCHC since 2008 and also oversees title research and real estate transactions for UCHC. She is HUD-certified in both Foreclosure Prevention and Financial Coaching, and is a licensed Associate Broker in real estate. Kim worked previously as communications specialist for the Detroit City Council President, the ACLU of Michigan, the Neighborhood Information Exchange, and the Metropolitan Center for High Technology. Kim is a graduate of Oberlin College and holds Masters of Urban Planning from University of Michigan.

Charlene Snow

Director, Legal Services

Charlene is the Director of Legal Services and also supervises the Housing Clinic that UCHC and Michigan Legal Services operate at the 36th District Court. Prior to joining UCHC in 2008, she also worked in private practice and legal services. She was co-counsel for women prisoners in two large class actions; one in federal court and one in the Michigan Court of Claims. She also handled divorce, employment discrimination, unemployment cases and other civil matters. Additionally, she is a facilitative mediator with both family law and general civil mediation credentials.


Charlene is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the ADR Section of the state bar. She is a member of the National Lawyer’s Guild and also a member of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. She is also a board member of the Justice Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party and active in the 14th District of the MDP. Charlene has Bachelor of Arts from James Madison College at MSU and Law degree from University of Detroit.

AJ Fouts

Director, Data Analytics

Aj oversees the accuracy and wholeness of program and client data UCHC collects, and her team is responsible for using this data to properly monitor client status and program outcomes. Her favorite aspect of this position is the opportunity to use the large amount of information UCHC has access to to attempt to answer pressing questions within the field of housing injustice. Aj has previously spent time in Yellow Springs, Ohio as a Fellow at a Community Land Trust, while earning her bachelor’s degree in Political Economy from Antioch College. Aj is a fan of trying new foods, taking walks and advocating for public transit any opportunity she gets.



Robert Shimkoski Jr.

Board Chair

Beverly Lemlé

Board Treasurer

Margo Dalal

Board Member

Michelle Fallena

Board Member

Katie Hearn

Board Member

Kamer Zindani

Board Member

Thelma Best

Board Member

Brenda Thompson

Board Member

Cassadra Walker

Board Vice Chair

Latanya Harris

Board Secretary

Alexa Eisenburg

Board Member

Christina Guzman

Board Member

Henry Lewis

Board Member

Kathy Ralston

Board Member

Joshua Akers

Board Member



We have been privileged to receive a number of grants and donations from corporations and partners. If you are interested in supporting us or receiving additional information about how you can help, please contact us.


We want to recognize and thank our existing partners, who are instrumental in helping us achieve our mission.




United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC) was founded by a group of tenants in the Cass Corridor/Wayne State University area, who organized to save their historic apartment building from owner neglect, deterioration and blight. The core program focused on tenant organizing efforts in the corridor.


UCHC began legal representation on behalf of clients for landlord-tenant conflict resolution.


UCHC expanded its services to include counseling and relocation help for homeless families in need of suitable permanent rental housing. The housing placement work served about 1,000 people (450-500 households) annually with two HUD grants, until December 31, 2018. Those grants ended and were not renewed due to changing HUD priorities. Current placement work is limited to assisting households with a judgment to move, or if they are being displaced due to tax foreclosure or housing code violations that their landlord has failed to address.


Following changes in state tax laws in 1999, UCHC started its tax foreclosure prevention efforts to help owner and tenant occupants of properties in tax foreclosure.


UCHC added mortgage counselors and foreclosure defense attorneys to its staff, responding to the mortgage foreclosure crisis. This partnership with Michigan Legal Services (MLS) has also sought to face the challenge of predatory land contracts and has since modified that approach to include dealing with lending scams.


UCHC began working with homeowners to save properties from the October tax foreclosure auction conducted by the Wayne County Treasurer. The first year, UCHC purchased 147 homes for the (mostly homeowner) occupants of those homes in a pilot project with a small revolving loan pool of $80,000. Since then, with support from the Skillman Foundation, UWSEM, the Ford Foundation and others, UCHC has been able to provide purchase support for more than 3,000 homes.


UCHC started its Housing Defense Legal Clinic in the 36th District Court which now runs three days per week and includes an eviction diversion program twice a month. This work has since been expanded to include intervention in development projects that jeopardize the housing of low income residents. With support from the City of Detroit, UCHC helps impacted tenants with relocation.


UCHC and Michigan Legal Services partnered with the City of Detroit to create the Right of First Refusal program by exercising the city’s option to purchase foreclosed homes back from Wayne County before auction. With support from the Quicken Loans Community Fund, UCHC purchased 80 tenant-owned homes for the occupants and sold them to the occupants for cost. Prices ranged from $2,500 to $5,500 per home plus administrative costs.


The success of the 2017 pilot program allowed for UCHC to expand the program to purchase 520 tenant-owned homes with additional support from Quicken Loans Community Fund.


UCHC is in the process of implementing a repair program to address the needs of some of the 520 homes. These repairs address major needs such as roofing, furnaces, plumbing and electrical issues. This program assists new homeowners who are not eligible for traditional government sponsored repair programs.



We believe that having a place to live is a basic human right, and are passionate about preserving this right in our communities.

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© 2019 by United Community Housing Coalition