Meet Our Staff
Michael Chavarria joined as HOPE’s Executive Director in January 2022. Chavarria, an Illinois native, has dedicated the last 8 years of his career to fighting for fair housing around the state. Michael joins HOPE role with not only a wealth of expertise in fair housing enforcement, but also a background in coalition building and a strong network of partnerships with local, state, and national community leaders and housing organizations.
Michael grew up in Matteson, IL as it was being transformed by some of the nation’s fastest documented white flight and has dedicated his career to working alongside those most impacted by housing discrimination and community disinvestment to advance fair housing.
Michael is thrilled to be leading HOPE. His extensive fair housing background and strong coalition building and advocacy experience is a true asset for the agency.
Josefina Navar was recently appointed as HOPE’s new Deputy Director in November 2022. In her new role, Josefina provides day-to-day leadership and management that aligns with HOPE’s mission, while also coordinating operational functions. Previously, Josefina served as HOPE’s Director of Enforcement from September 2019-November 2022, where she conducted and oversaw numerous testing and non-testing investigations, filed complaints and represented complainants, while also engaging in brief advocacy and mediation on behalf of clients with disabilities needing assistance with reasonable accommodation requests.
Before joining HOPE’s staff, Josefina was the Testing and Outreach Coordinator, and later, Senior Fair Housing Investigations Coordinator at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights from 2009 – 2019. Josefina is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois and worked in Mental Health services for 7 years as a case manager and therapist prior to becoming a Fair Housing advocate.
Associate Director of Enforcement
Blake Mitchell was appointed as HOPE’s new Associate Director of Enforcement in June 2023. He previously served as HOPE’s Intake Specialist and most recently as our Special Projects & Grants Manager. He graduated from North Central College in 2019 with degrees in French and Political Science and a minor in Middle Eastern/North African Studies. Prior to his time at HOPE, Blake completed a year of service through the AmeriCorps VISTA program at Hesed House Homeless Shelter in Aurora.
As Associate Director of Enforcement, Blake oversees and conducts various investigations and other fair housing enforcement work.
Ms. Bishop is an integral component of HOPE’s enforcement staff and is involved in systemic investigations and coordinates logistics for on-site assessments. Additionally, she also works with HOPE’s Intake & Grants Manager to compile organizational data needed for HUD grant reporting.
Director of Outreach, Events & Fundraising
Nafia Khan joined the HOPE staff in August 2021. Nafia comes to the fair housing world with a background in local and state government service and non-profit communications and advocacy. Prior to joining HOPE, Nafia worked in community organizing for a statewide Disability community coalition. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Bradley University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Nafia serves on the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and is active in advocacy, including serving as a member for the Board of Directors with AIM-Center for Independent Living and as a member of the DuPage County chapter of the NAACP.
As Director of Outreach, Events & Fundraising, Nafia develops relationships with community organizations, service organizations, realtors associations and other entities to provide education and outreach on the Fair Housing Act and housing discrimination. Additionally, Nafia seeks out sponsorships and other collaborative partnerships with business and community leaders interested in making an impact for folks experiencing housing discrimination.
As Outreach Coordinator, Jocelyn works with service providers, local government entities and other community partners to provide them with fair housing education and outreach in Spanish. Additionally, Jocelyn serves as the Program Coordinator for HOPE’s Security Deposit Assistance Program and Retrofit Program. Jocelyn is thrilled to be using her Spanish-speaking skills and connections to HOPE’s service area to ensure community members are informed of their fair housing rights.
Fair Housing Specialist
Sasha Mothershead joins us as our Fair Housing Specialist. Sasha graduated from Carleton College in 2021 with a degree in American Studies and a concentration in Educational Studies. Prior to HOPE, she worked as a Development Associate and Education Support at The Soulard School. Throughout her academic career and post-graduation, she’s enjoyed spending time working in schools, conducting research for restorative justice projects, and organizing political campaigns in her hometown of St. Louis.
As Fair Housing Specialist, Sasha provides support to our Enforcement and Outreach teams. In this role, Sasha works with HOPE clients, creates self-advocacy toolkits, continues to build HOPE’s community resource catalog, and occasionally represents HOPE at trainings. She is excited to bring her experience and knowledge to the fight for fair housing in Illinois!
Cameron Rapata joined HOPE in August 2023 with a background in nonprofit communications. He specializes in video production, writing, graphic design, and developing brand identity. Cameron graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Film and Creative Writing. During his studies, he enjoyed learning from industry professionals who helped him hone his craft.
As Communications Coordinator, Cameron produces digital and print communications in support of our Outreach team. This ranges from managing social media, to designing a brochure, or even producing a video. Cameron is excited to bring his skillset into the fair housing realm and hopes to further our mission of creating greater housing opportunities for all.
Florentina Rendón was born in Mexico and raised on the West Side of Chicago. She attended a Catholic elementary school as well as a Catholic high school. She received her Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies.
After working for a Chicago law firm for five years, Florentina worked for the next 17 years in civil rights. One of the organizations she worked for was the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF), the only national legal organization for the Latino community. While at MALDEF, Florentina worked on a four-month trial in federal court regarding redistricting the City of Chicago.
Florentina also worked for HOPE Fair Housing Center as a Test Coordinator and then as Director of Outreach. While at HOPE, Florentina assisted in housing discrimination cases against the City of Elgin, the City of West Chicago, and Arlington Park Racetrack.
Florentina lives in Lombard with her husband and her two children. Her daughter attends Glenbard East High School and her son attends Montini Catholic High School.
Pat Mathis is the retired Director of Development for Metropolitan Family Services. With more than 35 years working in the not for profit arena, she is an experienced fundraiser in a variety of areas including annual programs, grant writing, major gift work, and special events.
Prior to working with Metropolitan Family Services, she served as Director of Annual Programs with Advocate Charitable Foundation. Previous to her work in fundraising, Pat served as Manager of Housing Programs for DuPage County’s Department of Human Services.
She holds a Master’s Of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Administration from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Aside from being elected to President of HOPE’s Board of Directors in 2018, she also presently serves on two other boards: the DuPage A.M.E. Church Board of Stewards and the board of the Progressives Harambé, Inc. In the past she has served on numerous boards and committees aside from HOPE including:
- DuPage Housing Authority
- REACH Food Pantry
- DuPage Habitat for Humanity
- Central DuPage Hospital Foundation
- Family Shelter Service
Pat was named YWCA DuPage Woman of the Year in the area of Racial Justice in 1995. She is originally from Cleveland, OH, and presently lives in Woodridge, IL with her husband, Robert. She is the mother and grandmother of two. Her interests include theological studies, music, cooking reviewing movies, and reading.
Maria currently serves as a volunteer at Westmont Public Library teaching Spanish, as well as participating in other seasonal Social Services programs for the community. She was also elected as the Secretary of HOPE’s Board of directors in 2018, and she is a member of the COD Foundation Committee. She is Bilingual in English and Spanish and a service-focused social worker and educator with a strong commitment to serving the needs of disadvantaged families and children.
Over the past 13 years, she has worked as the Director of Community Services for Catholic Charities programs in DuPage County. Pam is an active member of the Illinois Department of Human Services Community Quality Council in DuPage; DuPage County and State Housing Action Coalitions; the African American Leadership Roundtable; DuPage County Continuum of Care for the homeless population and she serves as Co-chair of the Homeless Needs Assessment Committee.
Pam is also a sponsoring member of the DuPage Homeownership Center that provides support for those in need of permanent housing options. Her previous experience includes 11 years with Little Friends, Inc. of Naperville, IL where she held the following positions: Division Director of Homeless Services, Director of Community Residential Alternatives and Social Worker for adults with developmental disabilities.
Prior to that time, for 5 years Pam supervised a division of Social Workers and worked as the Coordinator of Agency Services at Caswell Center located in Kinston, N.C. Her Board involvement and experience includes 4 years on the Naperville CARES Board; 6 years on the St. Andrews School Board; 1 year with Hyde County’s Social Services Board and 2 years on the HOPE Fair Housing Center’s Board, after being a trained tester for 1 year.