Staff and Board

Staff Directory


Bill Vanderwall
Capacity Building Manager
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Cherre Palenius
Housing Development Manager
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Chip Halbach
Executive Director
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Kristina Gronquist
Business Manager
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Leigh Rosenberg
Research & Communications Director
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Libby Murphy
Policy Associate
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Luke Avery
Development Officer
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Matthew Reuland
Finance Associate
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Rosemary Fagrelius
Housing & Community Development Director

Sarah Bellefuil
Housing Programs Officer
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Sarah Berke
Director of Strategy & Partnerships
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Sarah Strain
Research Intern
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ThaoMee Xiong
Policy Director
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Victoria Clark
Communications & Office Associate
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Staff Bios

Bill Vanderwall - Capacity Building Manager

Bill assists many affordable housing organizations with strategic planning and organizational development efforts.  He also is responsible for getting new MHP initiatives up and running.  With over 20 years of experience in leadership, nonprofit management, partnerships & collaboration, and community engagement, he also works to build community development strategies that lead to economic sustainability. Bill believes in community involvement, and lives that ethic out as Board Chair of the Conflict Resolution Center and many other volunteer activities.  Trained in professional facilitation and community mediation techniques, Bill's favorite thing is to create the hidden opportunity in each and every challenge! 

Cherre' Palenius - Housing Development Manager

Cherre' has over three decades of experience working in the housing industry. As a certified HOME Program Specialist and Housing Development Finance Professional, Cherre' specializes in providing HUD-related technical assistance to promote single family and rental housing development and rehab. At her prior position working with the City of Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Department (CPED) Cherre' provided technical assistance to promote the design of homebuyer programs, homeownership rehabilitation, and rental housing development. Cherre' enjoys working with diverse groups of individuals/organizations creating and implementing affordable housing programs for their communities.  In her spare time, she enjoys most outdoor activities: gardening, camping, hiking, fishing and spending time with family and friends. 

Chip Halbach - Executive Director

Chip is responsible for overall coordination of MHP. Chip also specializes in state and federal housing policy. Chip's work in affordable housing spans several decades (and two centuries!). He has been occupied as a housing developer, tenant and policy advocate, researcher, organizational developer and program administrator. He takes most pride in his efforts to improve public perception and support for activities that improve the living conditions of lower income people and create communities which are inclusive. While three kids, two cats, a dog and spouse claim some of his time he does not venture far from the world of affordable housing.
Kristina Gronquist - Business Manager

Kristina is responsible for Finances and Human Resources. She joined MHP in August of 2014 and prior to that worked for ten years as Assistant General Manager at Eastside Food Cooperative. She also managed her own financial consulting practice and worked for the St. Paul Neighborhood Energy Consortium. Kristina is a founding member of the innovative Northeast Investment Cooperative and has a long history of advocating for social justice as a member of numerous organizations. When she's not at MHP, she can be found enjoying the farmers markets, independently owned restaurants, and the local jazz/blues scene. 

Leigh Rosenberg - Research & Communications Director

Leigh provides direction for MHP's research and communications work. Leigh has fifteen years of experience in research, evaluation, and data analysis in university, government, and non-profit settings in the US and abroad, mostly for social justice projects. She writes most of MHP's research reports such as the 2x4 Report, the County Profiles, and Housing Trends. She takes special pride in making data and information accessible and understandable. She is also responsible for overseeing MHP's communications, and serves as the Communications Co-Chair for the Homes for All Alliance. When not hanging out with data, words, and people, she can often be found meditating gratefully and marveling at the squash growing in her back yard.

Libby Murphy - Policy Associate

Libby's work focuses on the United for Homes Campaign, a national campaign to fund the National Housing Trust Fund. She is responsible for organizing action for the campaign and lobbying Minnesota's Congressmen and Congresswomen to support federal housing policies that promote, preserve, and protect affordable hsouing projects. She also supports MHP's other federal, state, and local housing policy issues and works with the communications team to promote MHP's federal policy agenda. Libby has experience in grassroots organizing on political and social justice issue campaigns. 

Luke Avery - Development Officer

Luke is responsible for communicating MHP's program goals and accomplishments to current and potential funders.  He has been with MHP since 2002, first as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member, and then as part of MHP's staff.  Along with preparing funding requests and reports for corporate and private foundations, he leads the application process for MHP's collaborative technical assistance contracts with HUD and USDA Rural Development. These national, multi-year requests bring together partners from throughout the Upper Midwest and across the country. He also participates in the management of MHP's technology resources, and helps people remember what that random report from five years ago said, and figure out where it might be living after all these years.  When he's not at MHP, he can be found enjoying the seasons in Como Park.

Matthew Reuland - Finance Associate

Matt provides finance and administrative support for several staff teams to strengthen the performance of MHP and its mission. His responsibilities include general office administration, fund development and communications, and general technology support. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Matt's diverse job history ranges from independent filmmaking to trail work to volunteer management. Most recently, he completed a year of service as an AmeriCorps member working for an organization that specializes in affordable housing - an invaluable experience that has led to his current passion and position at MHP. Outside of the office, Matt enjoys rock climbing, biking and frolfing, and is pursuing an additional degree in Computer Graphics and Animation.

Rosemary Fagrelius - Housing & Community Development Director

Rosemary has 35+ years of experience in the affordable housing field. She has designed and implemented housing programs at the federal, state, and community level, and has raised over $20 million dollars through public and private funding proposals. Rosemary has participated in the development or rehabilitation of over 2,000 affordable housing units through technical assistance and capacity building work with organizations developing multi-family ownership, rental, and supportive housing projects.  Her TA expertise includes accessing and complying with HOME, CHDO, CDBG, SHP (ESG), CoC (S+C), and NSP funding, conducting feasibility analysis, and coordinating public and private funding sources. She is a Certified HOME Program Specialist—Regulations. Rosemary lives in St. Paul with her husband and has three adult sons.  In her spare time she loves to downhill ski, bike and stay physically active and is the co-founder and Board Vice-Chair of the Highland Friendship Club, a nonprofit organization serving individuals with disabilities by providing a range of opportunities to develop lifelong skills, friendships and connections within their community.

Sarah Bellefuil - Housing Programs Officer

Sarah provides direct technical assistance and capacity building under the CHDO, HOME, McKinney-Vento, and rural development programs.  She holds two HOME Program certifications: HOME Specialist—Regulations and HOME Specialist—Rental Housing Compliance. Previously, Sarah worked as a Planner responsible for housing development and redevelopment activities.  When not at work, Sarah enjoys all the sights and sounds Minnesota has to offer.

Sarah Berke - Director of Strategy & Partnerships

Sarah works with MHP’s partners in our Investors Council and our capacity-building business, leading organizational strategy to implement creative approaches that leverage the respective strengths of each partner, toward a common goal of improving the conditions of home and community. She has more than a decade of professional experience in highly networked organizations, innovative housing practice, community development finance, and sustainable business strategies for mission-based organizations. Before joining MHP in 2014, she directed a portfolio of emerging social enterprises at the Housing Partnership Network, and facilitated a $2.75M national initiative investing in innovative neighborhood stabilization practices. Earlier, she managed external relations at the Chicago Community Loan Fund. Outside of MHP, she serves on the alumni board of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, is a founding member of the Emerging Leaders in Community Development, and prepares taxes for low- and moderate-income people as a volunteer through AccountAbility Minnesota. An alumna of the Fulbright program in Russia, she also presents Russian folklore song and dance with a local ensemble.

ThaoMee Xiong - Policy Director

ThaoMee (pronounced Tao-May) works on federal, state, and local housing policy issues.  She has professional legal advocacy and public policy experience on issues related to poverty, immigration, refugee resettlement, domestic violence, housing, and civic engagement. She is committed to developing meaningful and effective public policy through community engagement and grassroots organizing.  She believes that the communities most impacted by the policy proposal should have an opportunity to be involved in the decision-making process. ThaoMee's passion for public policy comes from her refugee parents' commitment to the democratic process and community building. ThaoMee is the mother of two young children, Kynnedi and Maxim. She is an aspiring gardener and is on a quest to visit every bakery in the Twin Cities.

Victoria (Tory) Clark - Communications & Office Associate

Tory wears a few hats at MHP, dividing her time between general office operations, technical support, and communications. She assists in the management of MHP’s website and online presence, writes and edits a variety of organizational material, organizes events and board meetings, and assists in the day-to-day functions of the office. Tory is a recent graduate from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN where she spent several semesters as Editor-in-Chief and Student Adviser of the college’s newspaper. When she’s not in the office, she can be found checking out new restaurants, meandering through a local museum, or enjoying The Cities’ live music scene. 



Kristin Beckmann
Vice President, Programs & Services
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

Skip Duchesneau
DW Jones Management Inc

Donna Fairbanks
Sole Proprietor
Indian Housing Consultant
White Earth Ojibwe Nation

Paul Fate
President and CEO
CommonBond Communities
St. Paul

Jay Jensen
The Waters Senior Living

Arlen Kangas
Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation
Detroit Lakes

Jeffrey Koerselman
Winthrop & Weinstine PA

Marv Kotek
Frerichs Construction Company
St. Paul

Kyle Makarios
Political Director
North Central State Regional Council of Carpenters
Saint Paul

Carol Schultz
Special Projects Administrator
Duluth Housing & Redevelopment Authority

Martin Shimko
Assistant Vice President
Community Affairs Manager
US Bank

Paul Sween
Dominium Development & Acquistion LLC

Jamie Thelen
Sand Companies Inc
Waite Park

Mark Ulfers
Executive Director
Dakota County Community Development Agency

Joe Weis
Chairman Emeritus
Weis Builders

Carilee Witta Warner
Development Manager
NeighborWorks America
Inver Grove Heights

Bill Ziegler
Little Earth of United Tribes Housing Corp


Currently Seeking

MHP is currently seeking a Community Development Program Officer.