Bruce Dorpalen

Executive Director
Bruce Dorpalen is the Executive Director of the nonprofit National Housing Resource Center (NHRC), which brings together the nonprofit housing counseling community on policy, program, and funding issues. NHRC has been active in increasing funding for housing counseling, bringing housing counseling agencies to the policy table, integrating housing counseling into the mortgage origination and servicing process, and improving communication with HUD and other federal agencies. More information on NHRC can be found at

Bruce has directed housing counseling programs since 1985, negotiated community reinvestment partnerships with over 40 banks, developed models for low income mortgage underwriting which were used extensively by the industry, and created community-based outreach and education programs for minority, lower income, single parent, immigrant and other underserved populations. These programs provided affordable mortgages to over 110,000 families in 30 cities across the country. In the foreclosure crisis, he designed counseling programs which assisted over 75,000 delinquent homeowners and increased the communication between housing counselors and mortgage servicers. He also developed programs for homeowners devastated after Hurricane Katrina, anti-predatory lending programs, refinance programs, and homeowners insurance programs.

Prior to 1985, Bruce worked as a community organizer in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Greensboro, NC, Raleigh, NC, Brockton, MA, and Providence, RI. Bruce also spent a year as a public interest lobbyist and advocate on housing and utility reform issues with Connecticut Citizen Action Group. Bruce graduated with honors from Brown University with a BA in Urban Studies in 1974.


Melody Imoh

Policy and Program Director
Melody Imoh brings several years of policy and legislative experience in the areas of poverty, economic mobility and social inclusion. Prior to her role at NHRC, Melody worked in for the South Carolina General Assembly in Columbia, SC. Prior to that, she supported national and local programs and advocacy initiatives in Washington, DC for disadvantaged Americans, including communities of color. She was previously appointed to serve as a voting member on the Montgomery County Committee on Hate/Violence in Montgomery County, MD, to develop and distribute information about hate/violence, promote educational activities that highlighted ethnic and social diversity, and provide recommendations to reduce the incidences of acts of hate/violence in the county. As a new resident of Philadelphia, when she is not working, she’s exploring Philadelphia’s music and art scene, working out, or trying out new restaurants around the city. Melody is a 2009 graduate of the University of South Carolina, with a BA in Political Science.

Ellie Pepper

Relationship and Innovations Director
Ellie Pepper has been working for 30 years on issues related to disenfranchised communities, with a focus on affordable housing for the past 10 plus years. In 2012, she was hired by Empire Justice Center as the Regional Coordinator for the Northeast and Hudson Valley region of New York State as part of the almost $1.5 million Homeownership Protection Program (HOPP), a $20 million grant program the Empire Justice Center oversees for the New York State Office of the Attorney General.

She coordinated training and technical assistance for HUD approved housing counseling agencies funded under HOPP and built bridges to key stakeholders in support of their work. Prior to joining the Empire Justice Center she was the Deputy Director of Better Neighborhoods, Inc., a nonprofit, HUD-approved homeownership center providing housing counseling services and developing affordable housing. She coordinated and provided direct services for first-time homebuyers, homeowners in danger of losing their homes, and residents hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis in three rural counties of upstate New York. She also worked closely with residents of low-income urban neighborhoods around revitalization efforts and, as a result, is intimately aware of the needs of people living in these neighborhoods.