Who we are

Connecting, Supporting, Advocating.

The Florida Housing Counselor Network (FHCN) is the collective voice and advocate for housing counselors and counseling agencies in Florida. We are a social impact (nonprofit) corporation and the first organization dedicated to supporting your needs.

Executive Director, Michele Hartson, brings solid expertise, strong leadership and in-depth experience with effective organizations to the Florida Housing Counselor Network. She is a dedicated champion and advocate for housing counseling agencies in Florida.

There is power in partnership.

FHCN is a singular voice for its member agencies in regard to working with policy-makers and investors, as well as the advocate for additional support at the state and national level. We convene housing counseling leaders from across the state to evaluate current needs and develop strategies and solutions that can be replicated and celebrated.

Even more than being the premier organization for housing counseling, We are a movement. Our board, advisers  and current members invite you to join us to add YOUR unique energies to this groundswell that is changing the face of housing counseling in our state. Through our membership we are able to support each other in success, and take those successes and replicate them so we can better serve our communities.

What We Provide

  • Statewide coordination of advocacy focused on funding for Florida housing counseling agencies
  • Posting success stories from network members to improve visibility 
  • Peer to peer exchanges so members can exchange information on what's working and challenges facing  the housing counseling industry
  • Online meetings with presentations by state and national leaders

What We Need

  • Members who are active, involved,  and contributing
  • Sponsors and investors

Current Focus

  • One Voice advocacy
  • Leveraging resources
  • Visibility for housing counseling services

Executive Director

Michele Hartson
Executive Director
Florida Housing Counselor Network
Tallahassee

Michele Hartson possesses unique experience as a teacher and trainer, supervisor, manager, and leader. Michele has served as Executive Director of two housing-related agencies in Florida, and was a Director within the Housing and Community Development Workgroup (HCDW) at Enterprise Community Partners in Columbia, MD, a national funder and investor in community development. Prior to being recruited by Enterprise to join their staff, Michele served on their Network Advisory Board.

During her 20 years in housing work, she directed the Florida Housing Coalition, a state-wide organization providing training and technical assistance to local governments and nonprofits. Prior to that, she headed the Tallahassee Housing Foundation, a nonprofit focused on improving substandard housing for seniors and other low-income people.  In these roles, she developed and secured funding for organizational capacity-building initiatives.

Member testimonials

The Florida Housing Counselor Network is a singular voice for its member agencies in regard to working with policymakers and investors as well as the advocate for additional support at the state and national levels. We convene leaders from across the state to evaluate current needs and develop strategies and solutions. Even more than being the premier organization for housing counseling, WE are a movement.

Here is what some of our members have to say:

“Housing counselors should join the Network for the support we give one another, peer to peer assistance, and additional resources. Joining the Network also helps Florida Housing Counselors speak as ONE voice to create change and impact.”

- Aidza Antonio-Thomas, Executive Director, Solita’s House, Inc.

“There is power in numbers — power in voice, time and talent assets. Most of our non-profit agencies are small and as a network we hear that the same challenges are happening state-wide, or that a particular funder could use our support. As a unified voice we are more credible and impactful. It's just plain uplifting to sit with other agency leaders and staff that you know do premium work, care as much, and that you can trust.” 

- Jill McReynolds, Executive Director, HANDS of Central Florida

“FHCN brings us together with others who are doing the same work—pulling together local agencies to create a regional support team.”

- Jean Louis, Director of Housing, Urban League of Palm Beach County

“Being part of this group helps each of us in a strategic manner to strengthen our housing counselors organizations and to facilitate and improve services to the communities we serve. We all want to deliver on commitment and exemplify excellence in what we do. Michele has done a great job in pulling together this group to streamline processes and support the financial health and make better use of available resources. As we grow as a collective we can share information on grant processes and grant writing as well as have a pool of job opportunities for counselors to the benefit of us all.”

– Carolyn Norris, Executive Director, Home Ownership Resource Center

“REACH is excited about how FHCN is assisting local organizations through education, programs, and quarterly meetings that allow members to learn from each other, encourage best practices and establish positive funding.”

- Patricia Tracy, Chief Executive Officer, R.E.A.C.H.

Meet our board

Aidza Antonio-Thomas
Solita’s House
Tampa

Aidza Antonio-Thomas is the Executive Director of Solita’s House, Inc., a nonprofit in Tampa that helps low and moderate income individuals buy or retain their homes by providing homebuyer education, credit counseling, financial literacy, foreclosure intervention, default counseling, and home retention programs. Solita’s House has a successful history of developing and administering comprehensive financial education and counseling programs that have brought positive changes and financial empowerment to its’ clients. In addition to developing a hands-on financial literacy summer camp for teens 13-17 years of age, Solita’s House recently launched a yearlong Financially Intelligent Teen scholarship program where participants can receive up to $2,000 in scholarship funding for post-secondary education. Solita’s House is the only nonprofit in the Tampa Bay area to become a certified Community Development Financial Institution which offers access to affordable lending products for low and moderate income individuals.


Preston Denagall, Jr.
Community Enterprise Investments, Inc.
Pensacola

Preston Denagall, Jr. offers credit counseling to promote homeownership and foreclosure prevention , as well as conducting homebuyer education seminars. He's assisted low to moderate income homebuyers with loan applications, conducted homebuyer training classes for potential homebuyers (including "Financial Fitness: Budgeting and Money Management", "Credit For Maximum Results", "Home Maintenance", "Fire and Safety", "Predatory Lending", "Mortgage Preparation", "Home Inspections", and "Foreclosure Prevention". His classes include pre-purchase and post-purchase homebuyer preparation.


Jill McReynolds - FHCN Treasurer
Housing & Neighborhood Development Services of Central Florida
Orlando

Jill McReynolds has been working in the housing industry since 1985. She holds a B.S. in Housing Design from the University of Missouri – Columbia and has credentials to certify up to 3rd story residential construction design. She worked for six years in St. Louis, MO as a designer with private home homebuilders until she focused on affordable housing for lower income households and administration of federal and state funded construction grants to social service agencies during her 8-year employment with the City of St. Petersburg. She led Construction Management at Keystone Challenge Fund, the only Polk County Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) until 2001, when she was asked to take directorship of Housing and Neighborhood Development Services of Central Florida (HANDS) in Orlando. With the assistance of an active Board of Directors, staff, and partners, Jill has improved the economic viability of the HANDS organization and its’ 820 unit multi-family portfolio. HANDS is a HUD-Certified Housing Counseling agency, and a single- and multi-family housing developer.

Carolyn Norris - FHCN Secretary
Home Ownership Resource Center of Lee County, Inc.
Fort Myers

Carolyn Norris has served as the Executive Director of Home Ownership Resource Center of Lee County, Inc. (HORC) in Fort Myers, FL since 2013. Carolyn’s background includes tenure as Operations Manager with a national home builder. She honed her skills with the Wall Street firm Huntoon, Paige Associates Limited, as Vice President, managing several departments. Carolyn’s previous experience supported her employment as Operations Manager of MRS Equity Corp – Mortgage Acceleration Payoff Program, a subsidiary of the Whitney Education Group of Cape Coral, FL. Her responsibilities also included recruiter and generalist in Human Resources with the Whitney Education Group. Currently, she serves as a board member of the Lee County Continuum of Care, the Lee County Democratic Black Caucus, and is a national member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).


Patricia Tracey - FHCN Vice-Chair
Real Estate Education & Community Housing (REACH)
Palm Beach Gardens

Patricia Tracey has 40 years of experience in mortgage lending, new construction, and real estate. Originally from North Carolina, she has lived and worked in Florida since the early 70’s. In 2006, Pat and her husband, John “Jack”, funded and founded REACH (Real Estate Education and Community Housing Inc.) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. They believed that the gifts and knowledge they had received should be available to the greater community. With nonprofit status, REACH could apply for grants for their clients. During this 10-year period, REACH has aided over 1,500 families with grants and housing. They assisted more than 2,000 individuals with home retention through state and local programs. And, most recently, REACH has purchased, rehabilitated, and provided more than 200 homes to low and moderate income families. In 2015, REACH opened a second office in the Miami Kendall area to increase assistance to the tri-county area.

Pat is a member of The National Low-Income Housing Coalition, Board of Realtors in both Dade and Broward Counties, and the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals. Pat holds certifications from Neighborworks covering housing counseling, post purchase counseling, loan modifications, financial coaching, and nonprofit leadership. She has led REACH in the direction of success and growth using her knowledge and skills of lending and sales to make a difference in the South Florida community she serves.


Marissa Vetter - FHCN Chair

Jacksonville Legal Aid, Inc.
Jacksonville, FL

Marissa Vetter began her career by serving the most at risk clients at the Jacksonville Housing Authority for 15 years. She gained valuable experience in Section 8 and Public Housing programs. She has also worked as a real estate agent, adding another prospective to home ownership. Since returning to affordable housing and counseling 6 years ago, she has been the Program Manager for tenant, community and home ownership programs at Jacksonville Legal Aid, Inc. She has a real heart for foreclosure prevention, helping families retain home ownership during hardships and aiding them in recovering housing stability.

The Florida Housing Counselor Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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