Christina Manzano/ Director
Christina was born and raised in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. At a young age she began working with local community activists on various social issues such as the development and preservation of quality affordable housing for low-income and the homeless population in Uptown. Christina has a BA in Art & Architecture from the University of Illinois in Chicago. After completing the architectural program at UIC, Christina was recruited by Alderman Helen Shiller, where she assisted the Alderman in efforts to bring a large over-due affordable housing development project to the 46th ward. In 2005, Christina joined Rogers Park Community Development Corporation (now Northside Community Development Corporation “NCDC”), as a housing counselor, working to educate and assist low- to moderate-income families to make informed decision as first-time home buyers. As part of this process, Christina worked with the City of Chicago Department of Housing and Development to coordinate the Chicago Partnership for Affordable Neighborhoods (CPAN) program, designed to help low-income families obtain an affordable condominium in areas across the city. Currently Christina is the Director of the NCDC. In this position, Christina manages staff as well as the day-to-day operations of the agency.
Vyckie Kranz/ EAH Coordinator
Vyckie moved to Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood with her Mom and brother when she was 11 years old. She attended grammar school at St. Ignatius, attended one year at St. Scholastica graduated but from St. Gregory High School. Vyckie spent 6 years at Day Care Action Council (now Action for Children) before coming to RPCDC in April 2004. Vyckie is a NeighborWorks Certified Instructor and teaches homebuyer education classes, oversees the EAH programs for Loyola University Assisted Housing Program, Hamra Enterprises, LableMaster and any new EAH programs the agency takes on. Also, performs the role of general office administrator filing all intakes managing client databases and assisting with reports. Vyckie now commutes from Elmwood Park where she resides with her husband, one of her three daughters and twin boys.
Tanya Jackson/ Housing Counselor
Tanya began her employment with NCDC as a contract worker and transitioned to a full-time Housing Counselor in August of 2013. She provides housing counseling, education and outreach on the following topics: Resolving or Preventing Mortgage Delinquency or Default, Pre-Purchase /Home Buying, Non-Delinquency Post Purchase, including Improving Mortgage Terms and Home Improvement. Tanya is dedicated to assisting her clients obtain their goals.
Chris Zala/ Executive Director
Prior to joining NCDC, Chris served as the Director of the Council on Asian Affairs for the City of Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations. Chris helped serve the interests of the Asian American community in Chicago and raised the visibility of the needs of the community by identifying and addressing practices, which had a discriminatory and/or disparate impact on the community. Chris’ role was also that of community liaison between City government and the Asian American constituency, in order to enhance communication and improve the community’s access to city services and programs.
For a short time prior to his appointment at the City of Chicago, Chris served as the Associate Director of the Mikva Challenge, a non-profit youth leadership organization in Chicago that was started by the Hon. Abner Mikva, former White House Counsel to President Clinton. Before joining the Mikva Challenge, Chris was the Executive Director of the Indo-American Center (IAC) in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood. Under Chris’ leadership, the Indo-American Center grew from a five staff member organization to over thirty and went from serving seven thousand people per year to over twenty thousand per year.
Chris currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Indian American Medical Association’s Charitable Foundation (IAMACF) – a free, non-profit medical clinic serving Chicago’s West Ridge community. His former volunteer activities include serving as a board member on the Asian American Action Fund of Greater Chicago, committee member on the City of Chicago’s Community Development Block Grant Public Services Committee and past president of the Network of Indian Professionals, Chicago.
Miguel A. Garro/ Housing Counselor
Miguel grew up in Rogers Park and has lived in the Albany Park-Mayfair area since the end of high school. He has worked with the Mexican community for over 15 years by providing information and resources from the Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago. Before transitioning to a Housing Counselor position at NCDC, Miguel worked with vulnerable, older adults, educating them on understanding Medicare and other options available. Miguel loves having the opportunity to do something he loves, which is helping his community. Knowing that NCDC and NCR have kept its doors open through the pandemic and continue to assist and find resources for north side residents made him excited to join the team in November of 2020.
John Blommaert/ Housing Counselor
John moved to Rogers Park in 2008 and knew he was home. He’s been involved in the community in several areas including participating in several Participatory Budgeting Ward 49 cycles both as a Community Representative and on the Leadership Committee, is a member of Network49 and has served as a hotline operator for the Rogers Park Community Response Team. John is a graduate from Augustana College with a BA in History and English. John is a HUD Certified Housing Counselor, a NeighborWorks Certified Instructor and is passionate about helping people secure safe and stable housing.
Maricruz Pliego/ Housing Counselor
Maricruz attended Harold Washington Community College to “explore the world” right after high school. Seeking guidance on a career path, she took a diverse set of classes that could point her in the right direction and met incredible professors who engaged students in the subjects that could be applied it to everyday life. Stumbling across Sociology of Families and Intimate Relationships, changed the game for Maricruz, and she never looked back. Maricruz continued her post-secondary education at Northeastern Illinois University where she obtained a B.A in Sociology. Driven by this newly gained knowledge, she went on to work with Southwest organization’s whose purpose and mission revolves around closing gaps between access, resource affordability, representation, and care. Today she continues to push the same mission as a member of the NCDC team.